Joshua Tree, like many of our great National Parks, is a massive open space that offers unlimited opportunities for exploration. This can be quite overwhelming to local daytrippers like myself. One of the reasons we have hesitated each and every time we’ve started to plan a visit, is the lack of answers to the most obvious question,
“So what do we do when we get to Joshua Tree?”
Sure we could get in the car and just drive for a couple of hours till we see some Joshua Trees springing up beside the highway, but not being able to answer that question, is enough to strike fear into the heart of a parent traveling with young kids. They just don’t always have the “roll with spirit” that we wish they would.
Fortunately it’s easy to stop by the Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center and get some excellent advice from a knowledgeable volunteer, as well as pick up the maps you might need (GPS on your phone can be spotty in the park).
After assessing our Visit San Bernadino press group’s wishlist (easy hike, sunset viewing) the park ranger suggested some specific stops for us, and they turned out to be a perfect fit for a return trip with kids as well. We chose to hike the easy Hidden Valley trail which is a one mile loop. This trail is wide and not too steep. A lot of it is even stroller accessible.
Along the way you will see seemingly impossible rock formations forming pictures of ships and families, giant eggs, sleeping whales and whatever else you and your children’s imagination can conjure up. I promise it will be magical.
Stopping at the Joshua Tree Visitor Center is also a good idea so that you can review basic safety, park use rules and regulations and pick up some nifty souvenirs like a night sky star map bandana. The staff will remind you to bring water and you should heed that advice!
You can also pick up literature at the visitor center including a circular of current events and a detailed trail map that you will want to have on hand when you come back for future hikes. And look for the birds nests in the cactus bushes outside.
Now that I’ve been to Joshua Tree and the Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center, I feel as though I’ve unlocked a new level in my life and have a whole new playground on which to play. We can’t wait to tackle more hikes here. What have we been waiting for!? We may even get brave enough to spend the night and try camping in Joshua Tree, sometime soon.
More Things to See and Do in San Bernadino County:
- Experiencing Fall at Oak Glen Village
- A Taste of Colonial Life at Riley’s Stone Soup Farm
- Spending The Night at an Oasis in Joshua Tree
- Where to Express Your Artistic Self in Joshua Tree
- Taking a Walk in the National Park at Joshua Tree NSP
- Where to Eat Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner in Joshua Tree
- Where to Watch the Sun Set & Moonrise in Joshua Tree
- Horseback Riding Along the Pacific Crest Trail
- The Alpine Zoo of San Bernadino
- Shopping at Lake Arrowhead Village
- A Visit to Santa’s Village at Skypark