Joshua Tree National Park was recently added to my National Park bucket list after I noticed how close it was to Palm Springs. I didn’t even realize it was in California until a few friends told me about it and I started researching things to do in the area! Since I was heading down to Palm Springs for a girls weekend with my roommate anyway I decided to at least head over for a day.
I was pleasantly surprised!
We ended up loving every second of our day there! Especially because it was unlike anything we’d ever experienced before. If you ever make the trip, and I hope you do, check out my list of 8 Fun Things to do in Joshua Tree National Park.
1. Cholla Cactus Gardens
A lot of people go to Joshua Tree and totally miss these gardens. My advice to you is DO NOT miss them! The gardens are a bunch of cacti in a concentrated area with a walking path going through. The cacti are actually quite beautiful and make you want to reach out and touch them because they look so soft. Notice my hands are in my pocket in this pic. That’s because the park ranger showed us a photo of a drunk guy who ran through the “jumping teddy bear” cactus and they all jumped out at him and dug into his skin. Seeing that pic was enough to freak us out. I was SO tempted to touch, but had to keep my mits to myself. 🙂
2. Skull Rock
Skull Rock is pretty cool! We thought to get to it we’d have to go on a huge hike that leads up to it, but we soon realized that the skull rock was right off of the road. If you want to hike around the Skull they have paths all around that take about an hour.
3. Arch Rock
Arch Rock was my favorite rock formation that we hiked to. It actually wasn’t really a hike and took about 10 minutes to walk to it. The view on the other side of the arch is amazing and worth seeing!
4. Wall Street Mill or Lost Horse Mine
These are two different hikes both leading to a mill or mine. The actual destination to both of these hikes is a little lackluster, but the scenery on the way there is pretty! Wall Street Mill is more of an easy trail walk while Lost Horse Mine is more of a hike.
5. Keys View
Definitely, make the drive up to Keys View so you can see the San Andreas fault. When we were up there it was extremely windy so be careful and hold on to your hat!
6. Hall of Horrors
This was a fun area to walk through. I’m still not sure why the name is so scary. I think it might have rock formations that look like a hall, but I definitely missed that. There’s also a lot of cool Joshua trees in this area and If you’re a rock climber this is a great place for it. We saw a ton of climbers with their bouldering pads hiking around and climbing.
7. Ryan Mountain Hike
This is one of the most popular hikes in Joshua Tree, but we didn’t have the time to check it out. Next time I go I’d like to go on a hike here. Since I didn’t do it and don’t have pics I thought I’d put this one from the climb down from Arch Rock. I felt like I was in 127 hours for a second.
8. Town of Joshua Tree
You can’t miss the actual town of Joshua Tree when you go to the National Park. The town itself is a scene. After hiking all day in the park we hit up Joshua Tree Saloon for a brew and some food. I really loved the mix of dolled up LA hipsters with the old desert biker crew. It was fun, eclectic and grungy. I wished I wasn’t wearing my workout clothes and had on my fringe and booties!
I hope these tips help you if you’re looking for things to do in Joshua Tree National Park!
Welcome to the Traveling Spud! I’m Katie, a 29-year-old from Idaho who quit her marketing job in San Francisco, California to travel the world for a year. After a trip around the world, my heart chose Idaho. I'm addicted to outdoor adventures, photography and inspiring others to get out of their comfort zones and cross experiences off of their bucket lists. Let's explore together! Read more here.