Our Day Trip to Joshua Tree National Park

November 1, 2019

Earlier this year our French family was in town so we took a day trip to Joshua Tree National Park to show them some of the best of California.

Our first stop was the south entrance where we stopped to snap some photos of the ocotillo plants. This is a beautiful and bizarre desert plant is all over this part of the desert. Ocotillo means “little torch” and refers to the bright red flowers that bloom in March through June.

After that, we made a quick stop at the Visitor Center to get a paper map and some tips from the rangers. They suggested we go to the Cholla Cactus Garden first where there’s a quarter-mile trail through a large grouping of teddy bear cholla plants.

The teddy bear cholla may have a cute name but its spikes are vicious. If you get too close, a spiny clump will seemingly jump off the plant and attach to you (file under why it’s called the jumping cactus). Be sure to stay on the designated path!

It doesn’t actually jump though. You’ll be safe from its backward pointing barbs as long as you keep your distance.

Once we left the the cute chollas, we drove for a bit through the park and stopped to scope out some boulders and cool rock formations.

Arnaud put some of his rock climbing skills to use!

Then, it was time for lunch and we found an area to picnic near Skull Rock. Whenever we travel, we get stuff from Trader Joe’s to make jambon-beurre sandwiches. All you need is ham, butter, and a baguette. We usually eat them with grape tomatoes, cornichon pickles, some fruit, and…

…wine, of course! We’re such good Frenchies.

After lunch, we drove to Hidden Valley. It an easy one-mile trail that winds through humongous boulders. You almost feel like you are on the set of The Flintstones.

Just like that the day was coming to a close so our quick trip to Joshua Tree was over. We left the park with the beauty and quiet of the desert in our hearts.

P.S. Explore another desert with this guide to Anza-Borrego State Park and a good red wine to drink in the desert.