Joshua Tree National Park On Highway 62, 1-hour east of Palm Springs, Headquarters and Visitors Center at 74485 National Park Dr. in Twentynine Palms, (760) 367-5500. Daily 8-5. $20/car. Note that it is usually 10 to 15 degrees cooler here than in Palm Springs. Stop in at the Visitors Center to get oriented. The namesake trees—which, by the way, are technically not trees, but instead a shrub--begin growing at 2,500 to 3,000 feet and continue up to 5,000 feet. Featuring a beautiful desert landscape, this park covers 794,000 acres and encompasses two diverse desert ecosystems: the Colorado and Mojave deserts. Be on the lookout for bighorn sheep, golden eagles, and snakes. The Hidden Valley trail is an easy 1-mile, self-guided loop (off Route 12), and the Wall Street Mill trail is an easy 1½-mile trail leading to an old mine and stamp mill (1¾-miles east of Hidden Valley Campground, off Barker Dam Rd.). Some of this park’s fame is directly related to its attraction to the world’s rock elite--U2, Keith Richards, Gram Parsons (who died of a drug overdose at the Joshua Tree Inn).
|travel writer Carole Terwilliger Meyers in front of world’s largest living Joshua tree, 45½-feet tall with an 8-foot circumference.|
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images c2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers; photographer of first image unknown