Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Return to Joshua Tree National Park


We left the Mojave Preserve on Easter Sunday and headed south to Joshua Tree. Not wanting to to try and find a site in one of the crowded campgrounds (with no internet) we opted for the BLM area north of the park that is used for overflow camping. It’s just a dry, dusty lake bed near Copper Mountain but there were not many other RVs and they were spread far apart. And it’s only 10 miles to the west entrance of the national park.


Well, we did have one close neighbor, Suzanne, but that was okay since it was intentional.


Having been away from civilization for a week and a half we needed to do some laundry and pick up a few groceries, so on Sunday evening Jim and I headed to the big town of Joshua Tree. I must say this place has some of the most interesting people we’ve seen in a long time. It has an old hippie, artsy vibe, and Pie for the People even had a vegan pizza on the menu. We picked one up to take home and it was really good.

Since this is our fourth time visiting the park and we were looking for a trail we haven’t hiked, I Googled “Best hike in Joshua Tree National Park” and came up with this, the North View/Maze/Window loop. Thinking this sounded familiar I looked at a few blogs and realized this is a hike that Hans and Lisa (Metamorphosis Road) and John and Pam (Oh, The Places They Go) have done and recommended. So the following day, despite being under another wind advisory with gusts over 40 mph, we drove to the trailhead which is 1.7 miles past the west entrance booth just before marker 24. It’s not marked but there is a small pull-off for about 4 or 5 cars.

We started out on the level North View trail, which quickly turned into a series of ups and downs through Joshua trees and rocks.




And views and more rocks.






Does anyone else see what looks like the dog Pluto?


There were a few flowers here and there.


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And more views and more rocks.




We then took the Maze trail through more rocks.





Then we turned onto the Window loop.


We could barely see the window in the rocks, but figured the loop would take us around to a better view. Funny, but we never could find it again.



At one point I thought I could see the dry lake bed near where we were camped. Jim used his super zoom and found that I was right.


There we are. Doesn’t look very appealing from this angle, does it?


And then more rocks. Good thing we never get tired of them.




Looping around all three trails made for a 7.5 mile moderately strenuous hike through some really amazing scenery. Unfortunately the wind beat us up pretty badly, especially over the last couple of miles. On the way home we drove through a brown-out of dust, and were concerned about how it might be back at our campsite. Luckily there was enough low vegetation that kept the dirt from blowing around, but we rocked and rolled the rest of the day and night. All part of spring in the desert.


  1. Great hike! The 'balanced' rocks you captured are worth the hike even if the window was closed after your first sighting. The wind can sure come up fast at dusk, keep your awnings in :)

  2. Yes, one does have to love rocks to truly enjoy Joshua Tree NP:) We really enjoyed all the rocks on this hike. We discovered the hike from Hans and Lisa, but it is also on the map I mentioned in the last post. We didn't see a person the entire time:) Boy, if you don't catch the window early and from a distance, you don't see it! Glad you didn't blow away:)

  3. Lots of lovely rocks. Joshua Tree is full of wonderful faces. I love the town, so earthy.

  4. Ok yeah, I see Pluto up on top of the rocks! Glad you enjoyed the trail. Fighting wind is not much fun, I sure all that wind has fully passed over you guys by now.

  5. I am amazed that you hike sooooo much. Why? Exercise or the pure love of being outdoors?

    1. A little of both. Hiking is an addiction for me, both physical and mental, and I love being out in nature. Jim will say I'm trying to kill him with these death marches, but you have to know Jim to appreciate that ;-) As time marches on our hiking days may come to an end, so until then I intend to keep moving!

  6. It's best to keep moving while you can. :) I enjoyed seeing all of your rocks.

  7. I used to live off Sunfair Road - have seen a lot of RVs over the years on that little dry lake. Used to be a cute little RV park with hook-ups just up Sunfair past the lake, might still be there. You found a really great hike. I never tire of the amazing rocks, great pics! Love the delicate flowers in such a harsh environment.

    1. Must have been an interesting place to live...

  8. About that "addiction," A 10 step program... instead of 7 miles :)
    Box Canyon

  9. We love those rock formations. Joshua Tree NP is a beautiful place to do any hike. That was a long hike. Too bad there is a brewery somewhere close for a nice cold one.

  10. Boy those winds in the desert sound not so great. You guys are intrepid to go out to hike in them. The colors in your pictures are so strong. The skies so blue. I would never know it was windy. Your campsite looks like exactly my kind of place. No one else around. I'm having human over kill here in Florida. Sadly, my eyes don't see Pluto.

  11. The minute I read "Pluto", and glanced up to the photo, he jumped right out at me. Power of suggestion!

    Virtual hugs,


  12. Just another great day in the desert in springtime.