This week we’re in Indian Wells, CA to enjoy the BNP Parbais Open tennis tournament. We’re staying at Emerald Desert RV Resort and booked the weekly rate from Monday – Monday. Since we’re only going to the final three days of the tennis tournament (Friday – Sunday), this leaves us with extra time to explore the area. I’ve never been to Indian Well, Palm Springs, or any of the National or State parks in the area. So, today we decided to take advantage of Joshua Tree National Park. I’ve always heard great things about this park and I was excited to finally get the opportunity to go.
Joshua Tree National Park Loop
Since we had the entire day to devote to Joshua Tree, we decided to take the entire loop road through the park. Our route covered about 150 miles and we went clockwise, entering the park on the north west corner and exiting on the far southern portion of the park. The entire trip, including time to grab lunch, take many pictures, do some hiking, and take a leisurely drive took about 6 hours.
National Parks Service Annual Pass
When we arrived at the park today, we decided to purchase a National Parks Annual Pass. The cost for the pass was $80 and it’s valid for 12 months from the month of purchase, expiring the last day of that month. So, we get 12.5 months of use out of our pass. The Forest Service, the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Reclamation honor the Annual Pass at sites where Entrance or Standard Amenity Fee(s) are charged. This will come in quite handy on our trip to Alaska this year as we will be passing though many of these parks.
Our Joshua Tree National Park Trip
When you enter the park from the northwest entrance, you are several 1000 feet higher than when you embark from the desert towns below. When we left Indian Wells the thermometer read 85, but upon entering the park we were down to 71 degrees. When you enter the park, you are immediately greeted with Joshua Trees for as far as the eye can see. There are also several amazing rock formations all over the park. It’s no wonder this park is famous world-wide for its rock climbing. There are also expansive views of mountainous terrain that no explanation or photos will do any justice to. From the Keys View Lookout, you are able to take in the entire Coachella Valley including Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, and Indio. As you start to head southeast out of the park, your elevation declines rapidly. As to be expected, there was a direct correlation with higher temperatures, which quickly shot above 90 degrees. It was also shocking how quickly the scenery changed. We went from vast Joshua Tree forests to desert shrubs and flatter ground. Overall, I really enjoyed the day in Joshua Tree National Park and I’m really glad we made the visit.
Joshua Tree National Park Pictures
Again, there is no way any picture could do some of the views in this park justice. That didn’t stop us from taking about 200 photographs though. Below you’ll find 10 of my favorites from the day: