10 Killer Places to Camp in California: Day 2

February 10, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Day 2: Joshua Tree National Park and Yosemite

Jumbo Rocks, Joshua Tree National Park, CaliforniaJumbo Rocks, Joshua Tree National Park, CaliforniaCalifornia Christmas camping in the Mojave Desert. Jumbo Rocks Campground, Joshua Tree National Park.

 

Initially, we had planned to hit the road bright and early and head towards Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. We figured roughly 4 ½ hours of drive time north, but the group unanimously voted to spend the daylight hiking Joshua Tree National Park and to arrive at Sequoia later in the evening.  We couldn’t have been happier! Our first hike was the Split Rock Trail. By 11am the desert sun was on our side and it couldn’t have been better hiking weather- 44 degrees! The 2.1 mile loop hike led us up and over and around incredible rock formations that date back more than 3 million years! We passed beautiful, you guessed it, Joshua Trees, juniper and Mojave yucca! (History here from the park page)

It was relatively not crowded and we got fantastic views of courageous rock climbers! An hour and a half later, we wanted more and dropped by the Oasis Visitor Center in Twentynine Palms. The ranger recommended the hike to the desert oasis and we were immediately curious. The 49 Palms Oasis Trail is a moderate hike- the first part is an uphill switchback to the top of the pass, downhill to the oasis, then the same trail back. At 3 miles and 3 hours round trip, we made great time and were able to enjoy the aww and wonder of the enormous palm trees in the desert oasis. It was quite incredible to hike for 40 minutes over a barren dusty trail only to be greeted by the biggest, most lush palm tree community I have ever seen! Sitting there at the floor of the desert, was a massive sprawling oasis. It was mind boggling! After a quick snack break we were on the road in search of the grand Sequoia!

 

Hiking Advice: Looking for a not-so-touristy-but-badass-hike? Ask a ranger to recommend their favorite, off-the-beaten-path hike and you will be pleasantly surprised!  Be sure to mention, not-so-touristy!


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