National Parks

Joshua Tree National Park

June 29, 2017 - by Steffanie
Joshua Tree National Park

After San Diego, we headed on to Twentynine Palms, California, just north of Joshua Tree National Park. We got to Twentynine Palms RV Park on Easter, April 2. After a couple days of settling in to our new spot, we drove the 20 minutes into the park on Tuesday around sunset.

It’s a bizarre landscape full of large boulders that seem to be randomly placed throughout the land, of course, thousands of Joshua Trees that seem like that would fit right into a Dr. Suess book. We enjoyed climbing up on some of the rocks and taking in the last of the sunset.

Xscapers Convergence

An RV club that we belong to called Xscapers happened to be having a Convergence, a gathering of RVers, at the BLM land south of the national park during the time that we were there. We weren’t set up for boondocking (dry camping) at the time, so we couldn’t join them in staying on the land, but we did drive down there to meet some fellow RVers.

RV Friends Joshua Tree National Park

Speaking of fellow RVers, our friends Rachel and Chris of It’s a Wanderful RV Life, ended up staying at the same RV Park for a few days! This was the third time we meet up on the road. We love hanging out with them. I’m so glad we keep running into each other!

Catcus Bloom Joshua Tree National Park

That Saturday, we spend our first full day in Joshua Tree National Park. The cactus were blooming everywhere! It’s amazing to see so much color in the dessert.

Joshua Tree National Park

After stopping to take photos of the pretty cacti, we headed to the south part of the park to the Lost Palms Oasis to hike the Mastodon Peak Loop. As the name suggests, there is an oasis at the start of the trail, huge palm trees in the middle of the desert.

Rattle Snake Joshua Tree National Park

After going through the oasis, we hiked on towards Mastodon Peak. There was a big group of teenagers hiking the trail as well, so we stopped to let their loud group get plenty ahead of us. I loved climbing the boulders, so I was climbing around when I spotted our first rattlesnake snake of the trip – right behind Mike who was below me taking photos. “Don’t move!,” I screamed. He slowly made his way safely up on some rocks, away from the snake, before snapping some photos of it.

Mastodon Peak Joshua Tree National Park

After that excitement, we continued on and got to Mastodon Peak. To get to the top, you have to scramble up the rocks. As I mentioned, I love bouldering so I was having a blast. Mike prefers flat ground, but the views from the top were worth the rocky climb.

Mastodon Peak Joshua Tree National Park

We sat up there for a while enjoying the 360 views, eating a snack, and taking photos.

Joshua Tree National Park

Just after Mastodon Peak, are the remains of an old gold mine. We took our time, and really enjoyed the hike.

Joshua Tree National Park

The next day, we met up with the Xscapers for a group hike. While waiting for the rest of the group, I had more fun climbing around like a little spider monkey.

Skull Rock Joshua Tree National Park

We all did the Skull Rock Trail. You can guess why it’s called “Skull Rock”! We had never done a group hike before, and probably prefer to hike by ourselves or with a smaller group, but it was fun to chat with other RVers and meet some new people.

Edchadas Twentynine Palms

After the hike, we got dinner and margaritas at Edchadas in Twentynine Palms with Chris and Rachel and some new friends, Jason and Brandy. They are the second younger RV couple from St. Louis we’ve met on the road!

After dinner, we stopped back at the RV park, then rode with Chris and Rachel back down to the BLM land to socialize some more at the Xscapers Convergence. We stayed until around midnight and saw a bunch of Jack Rabbits on our way back through the park at night.

Hair cut in Yucca Valley CA

One thing that can be difficult while traveling full-time is getting hair cuts. I hadn’t gotten a haircut since October when we were in St. Louis. Mike got a pretty bad haircut in San Marcos, TX, and as a result was reluctant to find a new place on the road to go. However, it was time. That before picture is a pretty embarrassing of both of us! I found a place called Blonde Ambition in Yucca Valley, CA that was able to get us both in. Sarah did a great job! We would both definitely go back to her if we lived in the area. I was pretty pleased with my first haircut on the road.

Joshua Tree National Park

Another first came later that week, when I did my first solo hike. Mike was working, and I was done for the day, so I decided to go out on my own. I hiked to the Fortynine Palms Oasis in Joshua Tree National Park. It was a 3-mile road-trip, moderately strenuous hike. On the way to the oasis, I walked for a while with two women about my age and chatted causally. I was hoping to see a desert tortoise since some other hikers the weekend before had said they saw one there. No such luck! I did see an assortment of lizards and some pretty flowering cacti.

Oasis Joshua Tree National Park

It was so peaceful in the oasis. For awhile, I was the only one there. It was nice, but I did wish that Mike were there to enjoy it with me.

Joshua Tree National Park

On the way back, I climbed up on some rocks (very carefully, as per Mike’s request) and sat high above the landscape. It was good to enjoy some quiet reflection time for myself.

Before moving on to our next destination, we did one more hike in the park together. On our way to Barker Dam Trail, we passed by the scene above. It was so picturesque with Joshua Trees and wild flower in the foreground and white peaked mountain in the background, that we just had to stop and capture some photos.

Barker Dam Joshua Tree National Park

The Barker Dam Trail was just a short 1.1-mile Nature Loop. Because it is such a short and easy trail, it was packed with people. It wasn’t our favorite hike by any means, but it was nice to see some water in the desert. I loved the reflection of the rocks in the water.

Petroglyphs Joshua Tree National Park

We also saw some petroglyphs near the dam. Someone illegally “enhanced” them with paint sometime between 1950 and 1970. Kind of sad that people can’t leave things alone. There was also a family, parents included, climbing up on the rocks all around them. We are thinking about doing a blog post entitled “What Not to Do in a National Park,” because we have a whole list of things like this.

Joshua Tree National Park

We really enjoyed Joshua Tree National Park. From the crazy trees to the large boulders that are scattered throughout, it’s just got such an “other-world” feeling. Places like this remind us how diverse and amazing this country really is.


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