Whenever I head to the desert I am amazed. I am amazed at the fight for life, the beauty to behold, the tranquility, and certainly the heat. As we headed out to Southern California we decided to make a couple of stops that we have never made before. We’ve certainly been to the Mojave Desert many times as we visit Vegas or drive along I-15 to LA. However, we’ve never dropped down towards I-40 and I-10 to take in the unique offerings contained in the Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park.

Joshua Tree is known for its iconic namesake, the rock climbing, and the endless amount of bouldering. They also have some epic backcountry as well.

Running The Park

While here I took off on a backcountry trail run along the Boy Scout Trail. The first couple of miles of my run were a downhill warmup from our campsite in Indian Cove down to the trailhead. 

From there I headed up another couple miles along the low desert and into a wash. 

I then reached a canyon and proceeded to wind up this canyon. 

The scenery continued to change through this canyon as sandstone, basalt, and granite have all come together with sand and a number of desert plants to provide an ever changing landscape.

 Upon creating the top of the canyon I started to move into the higher desert with groves of Joshua Trees. The vastness of these groves was a sight to behold.

Running through here was awesome. Coming up on the final mile there we climbing areas and piles of boulders cropping up everywhere. I know why this is considered a rock climbing Mecca. The entire route from our campsite in Indian Cove to Keys West parking lot was just over 10 miles. 

Family Exploring 

Joshua Tree is an excellent family vacation. 

There are so many little books and crannies to explore all over the boulder area. 

Running around the trails and climbing on the rocks was the highlight for my girls. They had a blast at this unlimited rock playground. 

We did our fair share of climbing all over the rocks. Even in our campsite. 

We look forward to returning to this iconic desert destination. Next time will be a longer stay and more trail exploring. 

A Couple Tips

Be aware that there is no water anywhere on this hike. Also, the only places to get water in the National Park is at the visitor centers that are on the park edges. You will want to be sure that you are properly prepared while visiting Joshua Tree.

Camping is to be done in designated campgrounds only, unless, you are in the wilderness area of the park. While in wilderness you can camp anywhere that is at least 1 mile in from the trailhead. You must observe leave no trace practices while in any backcountry (frankly, anytime in the outdoors). Also, be sure to reserve a spot. There are only a few walk up spots and during the season (fall-spring) this place fills up on the weekends.