Today I’m sharing some photos from a day trip my friend Gabby and I took to Joshua Tree National Park in February! We went right after the Government shutdown, and I was happy to see that most of the park was back in good condition, albeit a few damaged Joshua Trees 😦 But other than that, trash was all picked up and all of the bathrooms seemed to be in good, working condition. A huge shoutout and thank you to all of the volunteers (and those who continued working) across the country who stepped up to keep our NP’s clean and protected. Joshua Tree is a park that I hold near and dear to my heart, I think because it’s close to home and has become such an easy day trip for me. I love getting to share it with visitors from the east coast!
Gabby mentioned that visiting JT was on her Bucket List, so it seemed like the right time to go! Although the weather was cold, the park was still pretty busy with daytime visitors. We saw a few campsites set up, but nothing like the summertime. Initially I wanted to bring Gabs here to camp, but after experiencing the crazy wind just during the daytime, I think we were happy to be heading back into our warm beds in LA! 😉
Joshua Tree is a great National Park to experience if you only have a day or two to explore. It’s not gigantic, so you can see most of the park in one day and opt for a handful of the shorter hikes. It’s also a great spot for rock climbing! I asked Gabs ahead of time what she wanted to see in the park, and she found a great hike that I had never done before: Ryan Mountain! This hike is about 3.5 miles out and back with a 1,069 ft elevation gain! So while the distance isn’t terribly long, it’s a steep climb up! You’re rewarded though, with crazy beautiful views atop the 5,457 ft peak. I had never seen Joshua Tree from this high before…it was pretty cool. We definitely worked up a sweat, and combined with the wind up there, it was chilly! We hung out for a bit before descending back down.
One bit of advice I always give to anyone thinking about spending the day in JT: always bring a ton of water and snacks with you in your car, and make sure you fill your gas tank up before entering the park! There are no refuel stations or places to get food inside the park, which differs from the other National Parks in California! Remember, you’re in the desert! Plus, it’s always nice to break out a sandwich or a bag of fruit after a tough hike 😉