Saturday, January 7, 2017

National Parking: Joshua Tree National Park

Welcome 2017!

I got a National Parks pass for Christmas and decided to start the year as I mean to go on.   Going on with more National Park visits, that is.    Joshua Tree is one of the closer National Parks to San Diego and I had not been there since 2002.  It was time to pay another visit.

National Park Passport - stamped!

Joshua Tree was named a National Monument in 1936 to protect the beautiful and unique plants in the park (special shout out to Minerva Hoyt - an activist who helped make this happen).   Prior to that, people were taking the trees to put in their yards in LA.   Joshua Tree became a National Park in 1994.     There aren't lodges or services inside the park, like you see in Yosemite or Yellowstone.   It's popular for camping, and there are different lodging options outside the park.   Palm Springs, Indian Wells, Coachella and Indio are within a one hour drive to one of the park entrances.

An Easy Two Day Adventure

My trip was very last minute and an easy two day adventure from San Diego.   I booked my hotel the day before and off I went.    A friend in Indian Wells met me for dinner at Eureka! and Wild Lights at the Living Desert Zoo and Garden.   She also put in her recommendation for buying dates at Shields Date Garden and epic sandwiches at TKB Deli.   A great way to start my new year!

"Hoppy" Hour at Eureka

The beautiful Hyatt Regency Indian Wells

The Living Desert 
Dare to learn!
This pic does not accurately reflect the
awesomeness of this sandwich

Visiting Joshua Tree National Park?

  • Bring a LOT of water, sunscreen and layers.   This is the desert.   Even if it doesn't feel hot, it's very dry and there are not services within the park.  Dehydration will make you sad.   And sick. 
  • The Joshua Trees themselves are only in the northern part of the park (Mojave Desert).   You'll see them right away at the Joshua Tree or 29 Palms entrances to the park.    If you enter at the Cottonwoods Visitor Center on the south side, closer to Indio, you'll need to drive about 27 miles through the park before you see a Joshua Tree.  
  • The vehicle entry fee is $25.     Buy a National Parks pass for $80 and enjoy our parks all year.  If you are a senior, you can buy the Senior Pass for $10.  
  • I wasn't there for sunset, but I heard they are epic!  

Other National Parks to Love:

Klondike Gold Rush - Seattle
Mount Rushmore - South Dakota
Yellowstone National Park - Wyoming (home of my favorite summer job)

What National Park have you visited recently?

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