Travel to Joshua Tree National Park – Episode 594

categories: USA Travel

Travel to Joshua Tree National Park - A One Week Itinerary in the California Desert

Hear about travel to Joshua Tree National Park in southern California as the Amateur Traveler talks to retired chief ranger from the park, Jeff Ohlfs.

Jeff was at the park for 26 years and has hiked over a thousand miles inside Joshua Tree National Park. Jeff says of Joshua Tree, “it’s a park that encompasses the Mojave and the Colorado desert. It’s about 2.5 hours east of Los Angeles or an hour east of Palm Springs or 3 hours south of Las Vegas. The primary reason to go to Joshua Tree is just for its natural beauty. It’s a stunning desert with the rocks, the Joshua tree, the icon name for the park itself, which they say, Dr. Seuss, the book the Lorax was patterned after. Joshua tree is a yucca. It’s technically not a tree. The name Joshua tree comes from the Mormon pioneers coming across on the Mormon trail and thought it was Joshua pointing the way to the promised land.”

“The first thing for people to know is that it’s the 15th largest national park by acreage, about the size of Rhode Island. It would take you about 4-6 hours to drive around it. There is no food. There is no gas. Outside of the campgrounds, there is no lodging inside the park. You want to have an appropriate amount of water, sunscreen, hat. A lot of people come out here in the desert and they want to hike in shorts. I do not hike in shorts and I hike every week. Long sleeves, long pants, because everything out here is going to bite you, prick you, stick you, or sting you.”

Besides talking about Joshua Tree hikes, Jeff takes us on a tour inside the park to see some of its vistas, its hidden canyons, and its history. 

Then Jeff takes us north of the park to Twenty Nine palms (including the Marine base there which you can tour). He recommends a stop at the General Patton Museum south of the park which remembers the troops that trained in this harsh terrain for the invasion of North Africa. We talk about a visit to the nearby Sand to Snow National Monument and to the Salton Sea which is California’s own Dead Sea. We talk about a visit to Pioneertown which was built as a movie set for westerns that included stars such as Roy Rogers and Gene Autry.

In this area, you can play golf in Palm Springs, go rock climbing, or get out on a trail to a hidden valley where cattle rustlers once hid. This is a park and an area that looks quite barren but will surprise you with its richness if you look closer.

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Show Notes

Joshua Tree National Park
Twentynine Palms
Hidden Valley
Lost Horse Valley
Barker Dam
Queen Valley
Keys Ranch
Keys View
Wall Street Mill
Lost Horse Mine
Arch Rock
Ryan Mountain
Cholla Cactus Garden
Ocotillo Patch
The Pinto Basin
Cottonwood Spring
Chiriaco Summit
General Patton Museum
Oasis of Mara
Fortynine Palms
Twentynine Palms MCAGCC
Theatre 29
Twentynine Palms Historical Society
29 Palms Inn
Campbell House
Salton Sea
Giant Rock
Gubler Orchids
Sand to Snow National Monument
Eagle Mountain


Ardis on Travel to Albania – Episode 575

THANKS for all your podcasts that have let me explore more of the World.

Albania is an interesting and scenic country, but, given my experience traveling there two years ago, I have to challenge her “everybody speaks English” major cities many do, but out in the country and small towns, not so much…
her bilingual ability lets her flip back and forth seamlessly for keywords/concepts so it may seem to her that everybody speaks English, but it is not so…and that is part of the reason it is a great place to visit.

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Travel to Joshua Tree National Park - A One Week Itinerary in the California Desert

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

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