A Day Trip to Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park, Palm SpringsWhile much of the country remains mired in cold weather, it’s hard not to long for a warm and sunny getaway to the desert paradise of Palm Springs. The radiant warmth of the desert sun is a welcome respite from those winter doldrums.  Choose to stay at the Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn, and you will enjoy the restorative power of nature, lounging poolside amidst the lush gardens. If you prefer a little adventure and activity, head out on a day-long adventure into Joshua Tree National Park.  No matter what brings you to Palm Springs, the privacy and tranquility of this luxurious hotel will delight even the most discerning traveler. Reward yourself this spring, and book a room at the luxurious Willows Palm Springs Inn today.

Joshua Tree National Park

Palm Springs itself is a fascinating destination, but there’s something enticing about the vast expanse of protected desert lands known as Joshua Tree National Park. These wild lands are home to an interesting variety of plants and animals, and have been sculpted by centuries of wind and rain. Joshua Tree is only about an hour outside of Palm Springs, and is more than worth the trip.  We recommend starting at the West entrance into the park, and continuing through the South entrance, before heading back to Palm Springs. Here are a few of the “must-see” sights in Joshua Tree National Park:

  • Start your day with a trip to Hidden Valley. This part of the park is home to over 8000 climbing routes, making Joshua Tree a world-famous destination for rock climbers.  If you’d rather not scale boulders, the Hidden Valley Trail is a moderate 1-mile loop through these incredible rocks.
  • Joshua Tree National Park, Palm SpringsAfter you’ve explored the valley, head to the Lost Horse Mine Trail, which will lead you to a well- preserved gold mine, sweeping views into Pleasant Valley, and burnt Joshua trees.  If you’re interested in additional hikes during your trip through the park, there are two other wonderful hikes worth considering, depending on your time and energy levels. One is Pine City, a 4 mile out-and-back that wanders through classic Mojave Desert.  The other is  Ryan Mountain, a 4 mile out-and-back hike that climbs to a highpoint in the park, and offers great views of Pleasant Valley, north towards the Wonderland of Rocks, and east into Pinto Basin.
  • Next, it’s time to take in the views at Keys View, which is the highest point in the park. From here, you’ll enjoy incredible views of the Coachella Valley and the Salton Sea.
  • From there, head to the Jumbo Rocks Area, which is home to one of the most popular and photographed rocks in the park, Skull Rock. It’s easily accessible for a quick photo just off the road.
  • As you drive further south into the park on Pinto Basin Road, enjoy as the landscapes change before your eyes.  This is where the Mojave Desert merges into the Colorado Desert, where Joshua trees are replaced by cholla cacti, and where the large boulders smooth out into the rolling hills of the Little San Bernardino Mountains.
  • Visit the Cholla Cactus Garden, and take a hike along the short nature trail.  It’s called one of the most dangerous hikes in the park, but certainly not because of it’s strenuous nature.  Just make sure you don’t touch any of the spines on the Teddy Bear Cholla.
  • Visit the Cottonwood Springs Oasis before leaving the park.  It is one of the most unique ecosystems in the park.

It’s best to head up to Joshua Tree early in the day, when you can still enjoy some silence and beat at least some of the desert heat. Take plenty of water and food, and plan to see either sunrise or sunset. The sun-drenched glow of these desert landscapes are simply extraordinary. Afterwards, return to the Inn for a relaxing night of luxury in Palm Springs. Book your room at The Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn today.

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