Joshua Tree National Park is about a 2 1/2 hour drive from us – a nice day trip for a hike. Of the 15 National Parks we’ve been to in 6 states, this one ranks smack dab in the middle of my favorite (#1&2 being Zion and Grand Teton). Judging by my list of favorite National Parks, I really should be living in Utah.
Another great thing about being retired is we can time all our trips to avoid the crowds. Instead of visiting destinations on a weekend or holidays, we try to travel from Mondays through Thursdays. Driving to a NP early Sunday afternoon to start our (short) hikes also works. As everyone is getting ready to leave, we swoop right in to take their coveted parking spots.
Since this was Joe’s first time to Joshua Tree, I arranged it so that we would check out the top 3 trails in the park.
Given the extreme heat during the summer time, a lot of under prepared visitors run into trouble in this park – mostly from dehydration and heat exhaustion resulting in several fatalities in recent years.
The next easy hike was the nearby 1.3-mile Barker Dam loop.
Finally, we headed off to our last hike of the afternoon – the 3-mile out and back Ryan Mountain Trail.
We made a quick stop at two more places before the sun went down.
I had wanted to take a photo of the Milky Way since Joshua Tree National Park is designated as a dark sky park, but it didn’t quite work out as I had forgotten to bring the tripod. By the time, we got back home, it was close to midnight.