Steph Lloyd

Wondering + Wandering

Moments, Travel

Joshua Tree National Park

Matt and I took a short trip to Palm Springs last weekend. We wanted to get out of town and relax before he started his last semester of his undergrad (yay!) and my work schedule picked up. We had a nice time in town but my favorite part was the day we drove over to Joshua Tree National Park. Both of us were expecting blistering heat and flat desert with a few Joshua trees here and there but we were completely wrong. Joshua Tree is awesome and is one of our favorite National Parks.

Steph and Matt

There are, of course, Joshua trees throughout the park but the terrain varies and there are all kinds of plants and animals. The weather was mild, it was in the mid-60’s all day, so I’d recommend visiting in the winter if you don’t enjoy hot weather. We stopped soon after entering the park when I saw a giant pile of boulders we could climb around on. It turns out that Joshua Tree is a popular place for rock climbers. We saw a dude climbing a crack (hehe!) at least a couple hundred feet up. There were also tons of people bouldering. I asked one girl what she had on her back after seeing so many people carrying them: a crash pad. Ah, that made sense.


We took a short hike through a small canyon and climbed around on more rocks. We saw some Native American petroglyphs which made me imagine trying to survive out in the desert years ago. Diff.i.cult. As we drove through the park the terrain became more flat which made the Joshua trees more visible on the horizon. It was very cool.

solo tree

A park ranger recommended we drive to Key’s View before we left. We didn’t plan it this way but we arrived during the golden hour. It was a glorious view! The lookout point is over 5,000 feet in elevation and was super windy and cold. Thankfully it was a clear day so we could see everything: mountain ranges, Palm Springs down in the Coachella Valley, the Salton Sea, and in the distance a mountain that is in Mexico. The infamous San Andreas fault runs through the valley too. Yikes!


The four Instagram photos above: sunset at Key’s View, a manzanita (really cool red-brown branches!), a butt rock (hahaha!), and the sun setting in the park. I used my digital camera all day. It’s been almost a year since I used it (what the what?!) so it was slow going with settings. I pulled out my iPhone several times to get shots that I saw in my mind but couldn’t get with my camera. I was mildly frustrated with myself but kept working at it. I was also frustrated that I didn’t bring our wide angle lens. The 50mm is my favorite but the wide would have kicked ass at the park. Oh well. Next time I’ll bring it. Grrrrr.

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  1. mary

    January 27, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Very nice! Sounds so fun. Have not been there. Those trees are really unique.

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