Many Southern Californians don't realize it, but Joshua Tree National Park is the closest national park to where they live. For those who love the desert, wildflowers and unforgettable vistas, this wonderful place is waiting to share its beauty with you. And with careful planning, you can see a lot of it in one day. This is just what Hoffy Tours did this April with fifty members of Chicago Club from Laguna Woods.
|From the North Entrance Station in Twenty Nine Palms, we took the 18-mile loop road - Park Boulevard - and saw the|
most beautiful parts of the national park before existing at the West Entrance Station in Joshua Tree.
The most beautiful parts of the park are accessible along Park Boulevard which winds through the park from west to east. As we climbed in elevation from 29 Palms, we began to see the incredible rock piles for which Joshua Tree is famous. We stopped at Skull Rock and marveled at the mojave yucca and cactus blooms. April and March are great times to go with cool temperatures and lots of flowers awaiting. We pushed on to Keys View with its fabulous vistas of the Coachella Valley, the San Andreas Fault and Palm Springs. The viewpoint is almost a mile high and its was fascinating to see scrub oak, juniper in lush mixtures at the upper elevations. The bleak vegetation on the hotter, south-facing slopes was a lesson in water and plant ecology.
|The Apricot Mallow is a gorgeous bloomer at upper elevators and rocky slopes in Joshua Tree.|
Our choice of a picnic spot was Hidden Valley - most popular stop in the park. The name - Hidden Valley - comes from this legendary cattle rustlers' hideout which is now a stunning one-mile loop trail riding around the natural amphitheater of rocks. Make sure to visit Hidden Valley. Our next stop was the Cap Rock Trail - a perfect (and short) loop trail arrow around a huge rock pile. Cactus, wildflowers and lizards abound, and the photography was great.
|The Beavertail Cactus blooms were firing!|
|On the Boy Scout Trail with an impressive Joshua Tree.|
Our tour of Joshua Tree National Park ended as we exited at the West Entrance Station in Joshua Tree. We were amazed how much we saw in one day and, after a tasty date shake at Hadley's Fruit Orchard in Cabezon, we were home by 5:30! Hoffy Tours will plan this trip every spring (check out my website at: hoffytours.com in January for the exact date. I'd also love to take your group out to the desert and lead a one-day tour. I would need at least 15 people to make it a go, and I promise you an unforgettable tour. In the meantime, enjoy these images of Joshua Tree National Park.
|The Claret Cup cactus has a deep red-orange flower.|