Desert Vacation – Joshua Tree – Part 3

We hit the ground running the moment we entered Joshua Tree.

Based on our unfortunate experience at Death Valley, we made sure to stop at the visitor center and check to see if the campgrounds were open. Luckily, the weather was in the 70’s at night, so we drove straight to our campsite and set up our tent. Mike chose the Hidden Valley campground based on its proximity to the trails and sight-seeing points. For $15/day,  we called this our temporary home.


The view from our porch (a.k.a. the back of our trunk).

After dinner, we took a quick hike along the Wall Street Mill trail. It was a nice introduction to the few days ahead and an even better leg workout, as the entire path was made of sand.

The day ended with a beautiful sunset.

Photo Jun 07, 11 08 39 PM

The next morning we headed over to the Cholla Cactus Garden.

Photo Jun 08, 3 38 08 PM

The garden had a great footpath and info pamphlet that allowed you to take a self guided tour. Certain spots were numbered so you could learn about the plants on your own time. While Mike scoped out the area for photos, I shared some cactus knowledge. Half way through the tour, we startled a desert hare out of hiding. It sat in terror long enough for me to get a photo.

In the afternoon, we hiked the Barker Dam trail. I enjoyed this trail a lot because it reminded me of the Flintstones. All that was missing was our foot propelled car.

Photo Jun 08, 5 46 20 PM
Hiking in under 45 minutes? Done.

We spent some downtime at the campsite before driving to Keys View to see the sunset. There was a decent crowd, but everyone quieted down as the sun disappeared over the mountains.

Photo Jun 08, 10 21 13 PMPhoto Jun 08, 10 39 14 PM

The following day was dedicated to rocks. We drove from Hidden Valley to Skull Rock, Skull Rock to Split Rock, and Split Rock to Arch Rock.

Photo Jun 09, 2 25 39 PM
Split Rock



Photo Jun 09, 2 03 31 PM
Skull Rock
Photo Jun 09, 4 20 55 PM
Arch Rock

The best part about Split and Arch Rock is that you also camp there. The grounds have plenty of campsites within walking distance of the formations. We had plans to camp near the arch, but the entire campground sat directly in front of the blazing hot sun, so we kept our spot at Hidden Valley. There’s nothing worse than being overheated AND burned to a crisp.

Our final night in Joshua Tree was spent at the cactus garden. Even though it looked like it was going to rain, the weather held out for one more day and gave us this amazing view. Not a bad way to end a trip to the desert.

Photo Jun 10, 10 44 47 PM

Click below to see some of Mike’s timelapse footage of the night sky. You won’t be disappointed!

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