Joshua Tree National Park is located in Southern California’s Mojave Desert, just a few hours from big cities like Los Angeles and San Diego. The park is well-known for its perfectly shaped rock outcroppings and abundance of boulders, which make it a paradise for rock climbers. But Joshua Tree also has another reputation. Maybe it’s the Dr. Seuss looking plant the park gets its name from or maybe it’s the extremely hot temperatures in the summer months. Whatever the reason, Joshua Tree provides a much needed escape from the city life. Here’s a list of the essential funky spots check out on your visit to J-Tree.
The Petroglyphs- Along the Barker Dam trail there is a display of petroglyphs etched on the walls of a granite overhang. What makes these petroglyphs particularly unique is that in the 1950′s a movie crew shooting a Western film painted over the original ones to make them more visible to the camera. Legend has it the original artists weren’t too happy about it and their spirits continue to haunt this area.
Skull Rock- Rain drops accumulated in tiny depressions and started to erode the granite. As more rock eroded, more water accumulated, leading to more erosion, until two hollowed-out eye sockets formed and the rock began to resemble a skull. The 1.7-mile nature trail to Skull is located at the entrance to Jumbo Rocks Campground.
Hicksville Trailer Palace and Artist Retreat- Musicians, artists, and writers escape nearby Los Angeles to harness their creativity here. The trailer park is host to several themed trailers such as The Pioneer (western themed), The Integratrailor (alien themed), The Lux (The Cramps themed), The Sweet (70′s themed), The Pony (a horse’s stable) and The New World (for editing films).
The Lost Palms Oasis- The 4-mile path to Lost Palms Oasis is a sheltered, steep-sided ravine that conceals a flourishing grove of California palm trees. The journey to this unusual spot amid the dry desert is lined with cacti and passes over rocky ridges.
Jumbo Rocks- This first come, first serve campground is a must stay spot in Joshua Tree. Pitch a tent and set-up camp next to one of the several towering boulders. The reflections cast onto the rocks by a bonfire create a beautiful setting for a campsite.
Stargazing Tours- The Park offers a wide range of stargazing tours filled with stories of extraterrestrial activity. Get one of the best views of the Milky Way from the Indian Cove Campground.