CA – Joshua Tree National Park, California Riding and Hiking Trail

This would be my first visit to Joshua Tree. It’s been on my list for past few years but as it was perfectly aligned as I headed toward wildflower heaven further south, how could I resist?

I spent my first few hours driving the 50-mile loop to get a better idea of what the park had to offer. My first find was blooming Joshua trees. I was beyond excited!

I was really excited to find a few low hanging blooms so I could grab some cool photos.

The blooms are huge. Afterwards I wished I’d had something to compare size. Well later I found another low hanging bloom and used my size 10 shoes for comparison.

Camping can be challenging. There are four campsites available by reservation only and four more available on a first-come basis. Backcountry camping is a bit unusual. You are only allowed to overnight park at one of four areas.

One of the approved overnight parking areas is near the north entrance.

The early part of the trail is so tidy.

Given their requirement of camping after one mile on trail, I think it’s very helpful to have signage.

As I started hiking, I was pleased to find plenty of color.

The sun went behind the mountain shortly after 5pm.

I found a great place to set up my tent surround by flowers, by the way none harmed in the process.

It was a memorable sunset.

Is this a storm brewing? Do I dare forego the rain fly?

I rolled the dice and lost. Sure enough I feel the first drops at 7:30ish. Time to put on the fly and check radar. Yep I’m in the middle of a rain band.

The next morning brought first light colors.

As I returned to the trailhead, I enjoyed moody skies highlighted by a rainbow.

The light was great for photography.

As the skies continued to clear, I was gifted a second rainbow.

I found this water bottle on my way in and left it on the trail to carry out. As they say leave areas better than they were. I’m happy to do my part!

Adventure Date(s):

  • March 5-6, 2019


  • If you’re heading south and need a shower, I found the travel center truck stops at the junction of I-10 and Hwy 86 were a great option. It’s also a good place to grab grub if you’re heading to the desert where fewer options exist.



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