Joshua Tree National Park

If you follow me on social media you know that my obsession is Joshua Tree National Park. It is by far my favorite of all the National Parks I’ve been to. If you are planning to visit the park, I have put together a single day loop that allows visitors to catch all the highlights of this uniquely beautiful place. Here are the stops along my one-day route:

1. Visitor’s Center

  • Start here!
  • Stop in, grab a map, talk to the guides, hit the bathrooms and grab some Jtree swag.

2. Key’s View

  • Level of Difficulty – Easy
  • Getting to the Destination – Drive to this overlook.
  • What is here? Views of the San Andres Fault Line, Salton Sea, Palm Springs, Mountains and on a clear day you can even see Mexico!

IMG_42633. Ryan’s Mountain

  • Level of Difficulty – Beginner
  • Getting to the Destination – 2.8 mile round trip hike cover 1000 ft. in elevation. Most physically active individuals, including children, should be able to make this hike.
  • What is here? Beautiful views of the park that make you feel like you are on another planet.
  • No technical gear needed.

4. Jumbo Rocks/Skull Rock

  • Level of Difficulty – Easy-Difficult (Up to the person)
  • Getting to Destination – Skull Rock is accessible by car.
  • What is here? Jumbo Rocks is my favorite part of the park. Get lost in enormous ancient rocks. Climb, boulder, hike, whatever goes here!

    IMG_63535. Cholla Cactus Garden

  • Level of Difficulty – Easy
  • Getting to Destination – You can drive right up to this garden.
  • What is here? – This is where the Mojave meets the Colorado Desert. Beautiful, unique and naturally grown cacti.

    IMG_89436. Exit out the other end of the park

    Few other tips to remember while at Joshua Tree.

    1. Be sure to stop along the loop to take pictures of the beautiful trees. Joshua Trees are only found in the Mojave Desert, you will only have a chance to see these unique trees in few places in the world.
    2. Be cognizant of the time of year. Joshua Tree is located in the High Desert. This means that it does actually get cold and can even snow there on occassion. Be sure to bring layers of clothing incase you end up there on a cold day!
    3. This is a “Do it in a Day” loop that I have created. Joshua Tree is a huge park covering more area than the state of Rhode Island. If you have more time, feel tree to take hikes to the Barker Dam, Lost Horse Mine, Hidden Valley and etc.
    4. Camping at Joshua Tree is amazing. If you get the opportunity, try and secure a space inside of the park by booking in advanced.
    5. When stopping in the visitor center ask about star/space talks and activities. Sky’s the Limit Observatory will be to your right after you leave out the park on the loop I suggest. Sometimes they will open that up and you will be able to go there to view planets and stars through their telescopes.
    6. Take care of the park. Purchase something at the visitor’s center as the money goes towards taking care of the park. Clean up after yourself, this is one of the most beautiful places in the world, please be respectful.
    7. Lastly, if you have the chance, be sure to stay inside the park for sunset. Joshua Tree has some of the most beautiful sunsets!


    As a Joshua Tree enthusiast, please let me know if you have questions or if you would like more information! Enjoy the park!


Jessie Zahner is the owner of You can follow her on Instagram (Athletchic) or on Twitter at @Athletchic.