Forum Index > Trip Reports > Joshua Tree National Park (Jan/14/2023)
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GaliWalker
Have camera will use



Joined: 10 Dec 2007
Posts: 4732 | TRs | Pics
Location: Pittsburgh
GaliWalker
Have camera will use
PostTue Jan 17, 2023 6:34 am 
I was in Los Angeles over the weekend. Since this was a first time visit for me, I decided to take the time to make a quick trip to Joshua Tree National Park. Not only was this the closest National Park to LA, with unprecedented rains lashing California I was hopeful that I could get some respite from the wet weather in the drier climes of the Mohave Desert. I arrived at my hotel in LA around midnight, 2.5hr later than anticipated due to plane de-icing delays in Pittsburgh, followed by problems with getting a rental car. I managed to get one solitary hour of sleep, before it was time to depart for Joshua Tree. The time was 3:20am. Arch Rock and Heart Rock 2mi, 100ft gain I reached the Twin Tanks trailhead for Arch Rock around 6:15am. Even though I was resigned to missing out on a sunrise due to overcast conditions, I was delighted to see an intense splash of red painted onto the horizon. I quickly took one solitary photo before it was gone. The rest of my time in the park would feature a colorless sky.
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I reached Arch Rock just before daybreak and was extremely pleased to see that I had the place to myself. The setting was stunning, as was the arch.
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After taking the time to bask in Arch Rock's favor, I explored its surroundings: I began with making a clockwise circuit around the arch, which included a bit of light but fun scrambling on the gorgeous rock. On the way in I'd noticed a cool rocky rib, shaped like a dragon's back; obviously, I had to ride the dragon.
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On my way back to the car I swung by Heart Rock, which was cool, but a bit underwhelming after Arch Rock.
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Skull Rock This was just a quick stop because the feature is located right next to the road. I'd originally planned to do a loop hike there, but with only 6hrs in Joshua Tree at my disposal, I decided to skip the hike.
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Hall of Horrors 1.8mi Until now I'd seen some really spectacular rock formations, but the not the best display of Joshua trees. Hall of Horrors was reputedly a spot to get to see a great crop of them, as well as four or more cool rock outcrops. There are various slot canyons and scrambling opportunities amidst the outcrops, but time management concerns meant that I skipped all of these, and just walked around the place amidst the Joshua trees.
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Cap Rock 0.4mi This was another great place to see Joshua trees. I hiked the short nature trail, enjoying the desert vegetation.
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Hidden Valley 1.2mi, 350ft gain My final destination was Hidden Valley. This is a bowl-shaped area rimmed by gorgeous rock cliffs. After entering the valley, I did a clockwise circuit of the bowl. At the far end I climbed up to a perch in the sky, where I was treated to a lovely view of Hidden Valley.
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By the time I was done with Hidden Valley and was back at my car, it was a quarter past noon and time for me to head back to LA. The drive was atrocious. Just 30min after leaving Joshua Tree National Park, as I headed down the jarringly lush green Morongo Valley pass, I ran into monsoonal rain. It took me around 4hrs - one more than my drive out - to get back to my hotel in Long Beach. What an amazing experience, even if I only got to spend 6hrs in Joshua Tree National Park.

'Gali'Walker => 'Mountain-pass' walker bobbi: "...don't you ever forget your camera!" Photography: flickr.com/photos/shahiddurrani

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zephyr
aka friendly hiker



Joined: 21 Jun 2009
Posts: 3191 | TRs | Pics
Location: West Seattle
zephyr
aka friendly hiker
PostTue Jan 17, 2023 9:50 am 
GaliWalker wrote:
What an amazing experience, even if I only got to spend 6hrs in Joshua Tree National Park.
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Awesome sight. Great capture of those fleeting colors. Your time management that enabled you to see so many aspects of Joshua Tree was superb. Hidden Valley is one of my favorite places there. Such a magical feeling in that place. ~z

GaliWalker
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GaliWalker
Have camera will use



Joined: 10 Dec 2007
Posts: 4732 | TRs | Pics
Location: Pittsburgh
GaliWalker
Have camera will use
PostTue Jan 17, 2023 10:23 am 
zephyr wrote:
Your time management that enabled you to see so many aspects of Joshua Tree was superb.
Thanks! I was a bit disappointed that I couldn't visit a few spots high on my list, or go on a longer hike, but I've realized over the years that one is always left wanting more. Generally, I left quite satisfied and so happy to see such beauty in the time I had at my disposal. And this way, there's plenty to look forward to on any future trip.

'Gali'Walker => 'Mountain-pass' walker bobbi: "...don't you ever forget your camera!" Photography: flickr.com/photos/shahiddurrani
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Hiker Mama
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Joined: 25 Jun 2006
Posts: 3426 | TRs | Pics
Location: Lynnwood
Hiker Mama
Member
PostThu Jan 19, 2023 8:49 pm 
Very cool! I'm just amazed that you got a full day of exploring on only one hour of sleep! zzz.gif That one is on my list of places I'm dreaming of going. Those rock formations are super neat!

My hiking w/ kids site: www.thehikermama.com

GaliWalker
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GaliWalker
Have camera will use



Joined: 10 Dec 2007
Posts: 4732 | TRs | Pics
Location: Pittsburgh
GaliWalker
Have camera will use
PostFri Jan 20, 2023 6:30 pm 
Hiker Mama wrote:
That one is on my list of places I'm dreaming of going.
Funnily enough, I didn't have Joshua Tree National Park particularly high on my list. Just a bunch of weird looking trees that aren't even trees...or so I thought. How wrong was I? I loved those weird 'trees' (aka succulents) and as you say...
Quote:
Those rock formations are super neat!
Indeed! agree.gif I did not expect them to be so spectacular, especially since almost all of the National Park photos I'd seen online and in various guidebooks highlighted the Joshua Trees.

'Gali'Walker => 'Mountain-pass' walker bobbi: "...don't you ever forget your camera!" Photography: flickr.com/photos/shahiddurrani
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Schroder
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Joined: 26 Oct 2007
Posts: 6355 | TRs | Pics
Location: on the beach
Schroder
Member
PostSun Jan 22, 2023 10:34 am 
Really good photos, as usual. We were there in December and managed to land a pretty nice campsite and decent weather
Another place worth a visit is south of there near Borrego Springs. The badlands

GaliWalker
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