Joshua Tree is a rock climber’s paradise, with over 8,000 climbing routes, climbers from all over the world visit this park. However, don’t overlook Joshua Tree if you aren’t into climbing, there are several other things to do at this unique park.
Most of the National Parks aren’t very conducive to mountain biking, as bike are restricted to roads and the park roads are usually congested with oversized vehicles and distracted motorists. However, Joshua Tree has around 100 miles of dirt roads that don’t see much traffic. A word of caution, this is the desert and a lot of the roads are filled with deep sand, a fat bike would be ideal for exploring Joshua Tree. Ryan and I did some shorter rides around Queen Valley and the Geology Tour Road, but Joshua Tree is even featured on bikepacking.com.
Naturally we hiked Ryan Mountain because of the name! This is a short 3 mile out and back hike that quickly gains elevation (1,075 feet) providing some great views of the park. There is a lot of loose rock on the trail with steep edges, if you aren’t very sure footed you may want to take the descent slowly.
Star Gazing/Night Photography:
Joshua Tree has some of the darkest skies in Southern California. The dry desert air makes star gazing spectacular. This is where Ryan first learned how to shoot photography at night. I hope we can make it back some day to get some even better shots of the starry skies.
Most of the trails in Joshua Tree are through the expansive desert, making them relatively smooth and flat. The California Riding and Hiking Trail is a common trail for backpackers, but also provides a great route for trail runners. Along the way there are clusters of Joshua Trees in all shapes and sizes with views of the surrounding hills and mountains.
If you aren’t ready for rock climbing, Joshua Tree is a great place for bouldering. It’s like free climbing on smaller rocks, there are plenty of boulders to choose from so you could spend hours hopping from rock to rock.