Need to get away? Is it Spring or Fall? Is it the weekend of Coachella? If you answered Yes, Yes, No, then consider a daytrip to Joshua Tree National Monument. Known for its namesake trees and mounds of boulders, this park boasts a landscape unlike anywhere else in the world. And, it’s so vast, you won’t encounter any crowds.
Under a bright blue sky, the visuals are stunning. In the spring, desert bloom can be found everywhere, sprouting from the Joshua Trees themselves or popping from the cracks in the rocks. Rocks upon rocks upon rocks will incite questions from kids – how did these get here?
Well-maintained trails are flat and require no rock climbing. Barker Dam trail is short and leads you to a picturesque water source (if it rained during the winter). But no doubt you’ll be tempted to go off the path for some bouldering that ranges from beginner to advanced.
And what about the kids? With so many boulders to climb on, there is no better playground. Easy climbs will teach them a different kind of problem solving.
The environment can be harsh – extreme cold, extreme heat, prickly cactuses. Check the weather before you go and be prepared with layers of clothing, hats, sunglasses and sunscreen. Dress kids in jeans, a long-sleeved light shirt, a hat, hiking shoes or shoes with a good tread, a bandana to keep the sun off of their necks. And, if you’re the overprotective type, a helmet of some sort is recommended if you plan to let kids climb on the rocks.
Eat before or after at Crossroads Cafe, a local fave with an extensive menu.
Hey look, a hidden Mickey…
Best time to go: Spring or Fall
Good for: Kids 5+
Watch out for: Cactus spines, agave spikes, rattlesnakes, coyotes
Get there: Interstate 10 to Highway 62
Wear: hiking boots, sunscreen, hat, jeans
Bring: lots of water, snacks, first aid kit
Nearby eats: Crossroads Cafe
74485 National Park Drive
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277-3597