How We Survived Joshua Tree During a Summer Heat Wave

While temperatures were nearing 110 degrees we decided to brave a California heat wave and venture into Joshua Tree National Park. With its fuzzy trees, skull shaped rocks and melting globular boulders, a trip through Joshua Tree NP is like a journey inside the brain of Dr. Seuss or Dali. We had to see this mind warping place for ourselves and a “little” heat wasn’t going to stop us. Even while exclaiming “let’s never leave this air-conditioned car again because if we do we might just burst into flames!” we made our way outside and found many fascinating stops along the way.

Welcome to Joshua Tree

Welcome to Joshua Tree

Keys View

Our first stop was at this overlook with a scenic panorama of Coachella Valley. From here you could see San Jacinto Peak, the Salton Sea, San Andreas fault, Palm Springs and even Signal Mountain in Mexico on a clear day

Helpful Tip

Watch out for thirsty bees in summer! If heading South through the West park entrance shut off your A/C in Hidden Valley before turning into Keys View. This will reduce the condensation and prevent bees found in this area from swarming underneath your car.

Views from the overlook in Joshua Tree

Views from the overlook

Coachella Valley

Coachella Valley

Panorama of Coachella Valley

Panorama of the valley

Hidden Valley

We then took a walk around this short 1-mile loop observing all of the unique rocks and peculiar Joshua trees surrounding the vicinity. This scenic picnic area is the perfect place to stop for a meal after finding shade under the massive boulders.

Seeking some shade under a Joshua Tree

Seeking some shade under a Joshua Tree

Fallen Joshua tree

Fallen Joshua tree

Triplet tree!

Triplet tree!

Walking around Hidden Valley- Manu

Walking around Hidden Valley

Middle of this otherworldly desert

Middle of this otherworldly desert

Lovely little cactus up close

Lovely little cactus up close

The Tallest Joshua Tree

Thanks to a great tip from a lovely volunteer at the visitor center, we were able to find the tallest Joshua Tree in the park. Located 1.5 miles after the Sheep Pass stop, this giant stands proud above the rest at forty feet tall. At a growth rate of about 1-3 inches per year for an average Joshua Tree, this one certainly had something to brag about. I contemplated the age of this magnificent tree while stretching my neck up as far as possible to gawk at its beauty. I wondered about all of the changes it had observed and endured throughout its lifetime while thriving in the harsh desert environment.

The tallest Joshua Tree in the park

The tallest Joshua Tree in the park

 

Skull Rock

Our next stop was a visit to Skull Rock aptly named after the part of the human anatomy it resembles. This interesting formation reminiscent of one of those ‘90s 3-D posters can be visualized better from a distance and from different angles. Once up close however, one can appreciate its deceptively massive size.

Right next to the cranium we found giant boulders that looked like they were melting underneath the sun’s rays. These impressive rocks molded slowly by water and time were truly a creative masterpiece that only mother nature herself could have crafted.

Skull Rock

Skull Rock

Romping around on the globular rocks

Romping around on the globular rocks

Quick Tips

  • Be sure to bring at least 1 gallon of water per person/day (Double that if hiking in summer)
  • Entrance fee $20, save with the NPS Annual Pass (details here)
  • Ready to cool off (sort of)? Although Palm Springs was monstrously hot as well, we thankfully found a place with a cold pool to chill in.
  • This retro area has many groovy hotels, funky Airbnb spots and delectable restaurants. We will definitely make a trip back when temperatures drop.
Cooling off in the pool

Cooling off in the pool

Robo Lights Sculptures in Palm Springs - A treat when lit up during the holidays... We're coming back for you Palm Springs!

Robo Lights Sculptures in Palm Springs – A treat when lit up during the holidays… We’re coming back for you Palm Springs!

airbnb logo 2 blue