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Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

This particular drive, comprising Park Blvd and Pinto Basin Road, is around 2 hours and ten minutes if you don't plan to stop and check out the park. However, you definitely will want to take your time on this drive as it is one of the most beautiful arid landscapes in the South West. 

The Joshua Tree, or Yucca brevifolia, only exist in the SouthWest. It thrives in grassland areas in the Mohave Desert above 1300 feet in elevation. It is a dense tree and has often been thought of as being the inspiration for the fictional Truffula trees in the Lorax by Dr. Suess.

Many people call the park the 'Land of Suess'. 

Like the Truffula Tree in Dr. Suess, the Joshua Trees are having a difficult time dealing with the consequences of global warming and suffer from smog and air pollution blowing into the area. This tree is also challenged by increased temperatures. The state of California is taking action however and the Joshua Tree is the first tree protected due to climate change.


Cholla Cactus Garden Trail

This trail has a high concentration of Cholla Cacti, considered some of the cutest cacti in the world. This cactus has been nicknamed the teddy bear cactus- just make sure not to touch them! This is a very easy trail and is quite short making this a popular trail for families and children. 

Arch Rock Trail

Another short trail leads to an arch that spans nearly 30 feet. This trail is adjacent to a campground and is quite popular. There are other trail systems that branch off of the main trail if you want a longer hike.

Skull Rock

The skull rock trail is a 1.8 mile round trip loop with moderate elevation gain. Be sure to take sunscreen and some water with you as it can get quite hot and there is no shade. The rock itself is one of the more popular destinations and there is an abundant amount of wildflowers in bloom if you hike this in the right season. 

Hidden Valley

Hidden Valley, found right off of Park Blvd, is a one-mile self-guided trail and is one of the most popular trails in the park system. The beautiful rock formations provide opportunities for rock climbing and make this a very scenic trail. Due to the valley and it's location, the valley has a unique miro-habitat and has a wide variety of plants and animals not seen in the other areas of the park.  

Keys View

This is a fantastic view of the Coachella Valley and the Salton Sea and well worth the 20-minute drive down Keys View Road. This valley was created by the infamous San Andreas and San Jacinto Faults which created the mountains and deep valleys in the area. San Jacinto Peak, the mountain behind Palm Springs, has one of the abrupt and steepest inclines in North America and these faults are capable of producing major earthquakes.



This entry was posted on June 21, 2022 at 11:33 PM and has received 291 views.

One of the most beautiful highways in the US- Utah Highway 12

Pictures along the route


Drive Through Video

Utah 12 Scenic Byway is one of the most beautiful drives in the world.

Instead of driving in a boring high desert in central Utah on I15, journey through time on one of the most beautiful roads in the world! This road was considered the 2nd most beautiful road in the world by Fox News in 2013. This route will take you to 3 National Parks, a National Monument, with two other National Parks close by. It is an amazing route that you will never forget and I am sure that you will be compelled to come back and visit again.

If you are coming from the north, you will start your journey in Torrey Utah. Torrey is a small town that offers multiple choices for accommodations, however, it's a popular spot and if you stay in Torrey you may want to book your stay early.

You will first want to visit Capitol Reef National Park which is about 10 miles away from Torrey. In the Park, take a right at the visitor center and drive through the park for another ten miles. There are some beautiful sights to visit along the way, once you're done, drive back to Torrey and once you're back in town, take a left on Scenic Byway 12.

Highway 12 will quickly climb in elevation and you will start driving into the Dixie National Forest. Here you can pull over at the Larb Hollow overlook which is a fantastic place to take a few pictures. Further south you will climb Boulder Mountain which is the highest forested mountain in the US. Here, you will drop elevation and enter the hogback where the road is on a high ridge that precipitously drops on either side.

The next destination is Lower Calf Creek Falls. This is a relatively flat three-mile hike in a deep canyon that leads to a stunning waterfall. If you have the time it is well worth your time- be sure to bring sunscreen though as there is little shade in places and it can get hot.

There are several attractions in the Escalante area. One of the most scenic options is taking the hole in the rock road that leads to several arches and will eventually end up overlooking Lake Powell. Other attractions are the Escalante River trail and Escalante Petrified Forest State Park.

On your way to Bryce National Park, there is a lovely hike along the Mossy Cave trail. This trail goes through a very scenic canyon and ends with a little waterfall. From here continue driving several miles to Bryce National Park.

This whole trip is around 125 miles and it can be done in as little as 3-4 hours. However, this is a remarkable drive, and if possible, you will want to take your time.

Happy travels!

Note: the map, galleries, and YouTube video on this page were generated using the WYSIWYG Galaxie Blog post editor. The media on this page are not mine.

This entry was posted on April 16, 2022 at 12:30 AM and has received 243 views.