Joshua Tree National Park has always been breathtaking. It’s a stark desert landscape that looks like another world. Piles of boulders and mountains with large exposed rocks dot the impressive expanse. It also has rabbits, chipmunks, the occasional rattlesnake and in some places, it’s even got Joshua trees. I’ve gone once a year for the past decade and every time it’s been amazing. Here’s just a small taste of it.
Rock scrambling and climbing
The biggest draw, in my opinion, are the massive rocks. Their craggy surfaces are perfect for climbing or just scrambling up. My favorite thing was always the scrambling. There is something freeing about taking whatever path you want to walk up a boulder like you’re a mountain goat. Making a jump, knowing only your skill is between you and falling gets your blood pumping. It’s like mixing hiking with having to solve a puzzle every couple feet to keep moving, which makes the experience thrilling and fun.
There is also, of course, rock climbing you can do at Joshua Tree. There’s something different and special about climbing up a natural rock face. Fake ones often show their handholds with clearly defined molded pieces designed to give you a certain way up. On a natural rock face, not only are the handholds and footholds up for you to discover, but you can also chart your own path. Nothing beats the feeling of rock climbing outdoors.
The night sky
In Joshua Tree, the nights get truly dark. With the closest cities miles and miles away, there are no street lights to blot out the night sky. Joshua Tree may not have the darkest skies you can visit, but I’m always surprised by how much of the night sky I can see. You can see so many more stars in the sky when it gets that dark. If you haven’t gone someplace where it actually gets dark, then do so as soon as you can. You won’t believe how many stars there are in the sky.
Part of the reason I love Joshua Tree comes from nostalgia. I’ve been to Joshua Tree quite a bit throughout my entire life. It gets quite hot during the summer and rather cold during the winter. It’s very dry and chances are, your lips will chap. All the campsites have are pit toilets, which can be either a good or bad experience depending on how much you love the great outdoors. While it’s not what most people would consider a paradise, it’s still a wonderful experience. Whenever I look out over its mountains, my jaw still drops in awe at how gorgeous it is. I have lots of fond memories of adventures and experiences I’ve had out there, which I wouldn’t change for the world. Hopefully, someday you’ll get to visit and make memories of your own. You’ll be glad you did.