Exploring California: One day at Joshua Tree National Park!

Our road trip
We flew from SFO to LAX and started our Southern California road trip in Los Angeles. From LA, we went to Joshua Tree National Park to Death Valley National Park to Alabama Hills, then back to LA. We spent a full day at Joshua Tree National Park – we loved it!

What is Joshua Tree National Park? Where is it?
Joshua Tree National Park is an American national park located in Southeastern California near Palm Springs. It is east of Los Angeles and around a ~2.5 hr drive away. It is a park filled with Joshua Trees, which is native to the Mojave Desert. The park is a desert, filled with cacti and amazing rock formations. Once you’re on the highway and no longer in Los Angeles, the roads to and in Joshua Tree National Park are easy to drive on.

How do you get there?
As noted above, we flew from SFO to LAX and then drove to Joshua Tree National Park. We rented a car at Sixt at the airport (KIA Soul). For a day, the car rental was ~50 USD.

Where do you stay?
If you’d like to save some of your budget, you can camp/sleep in your car. However, if you prefer to stay in a hotel/rental, there are plenty of options as well. We stayed in Palm Springs, near the national park because there were more hotel and food options and it’s not too far away. We stayed at the DoubleTree Hilton Golf Resort at Palm Springs and it was XX USD for a night. It’s a nice family resort hotel with in hotel dining, pool and a golf resort. It’s also near a grocery story and other food stores. Dustin’s favorite part of the hotel was that they give chocolate chip cookies during check in.

What did we do at Joshua Tree National Park?
Cholla Cactus Garden:
Area filled with tons and tons of Cholla cacti. There’s a loop trail that takes you through the acres of cacti. 
Arch Rock: Large natural rock formation – one of the rocks is shaped like an arch. Visitors (non-campers) can park at the White Tank Campground; it’s almost a mile hike to Arch Rock and back. 
Jumbo Rock / Skull Rock:
Large natural rock formation – one of the rocks  is shaped like a skull. There were so many large, it was so fun to climb. It felt like a large natural playground.
Keys View:
Amazing view! This is Joshua Tree National Park’s highest viewpoint. There’s amazing views of mesas, mountains, and Coachella Valley. We watched the sunset here; it was super cold, but the colors were gorgeous.

Yes! We’ve been wanting to go here for a while. The desert, mountains, and Joshua Trees were awesome to see and was definitely different from all the mountainous national parks we’ve been to. It’s also decently close to LA, which is a huge plus!

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