Palm Desert Paradise: Joshua Tree, White Water Preserve & Botanical Gardens.
Joshua Tree national park is one of our favorite parks for many reasons. It’s sunny, dry and has a spiritual aura about it that leaves you in a blissed out state of being. We also found a hidden gem called the White Water Preserve. I’ll share more on that piece of paradise soon.
Our first experience with Joshua Tree was back in 2019 during the super bloom. I highly recommend traveling through the park when the dead desert floor is beaming with life and color. This time around, no super bloom, but nonetheless had a wonderful day exploring the park north to south side. Keep an eye out for the super bloom experiences! They usually happen in March or April, but not every year. If and when there is a rainy winter, the likelihood of a super bloom happening are high!
The best way to tour the park is with a vehicle. There is camping inside the park, and free BLM camping at the south end right outside the park. If you are more of a hotel motel kinda traveler you can stay in the towns of Yucca Valley, Twentynine palms or as far out as Palm Springs (about an hour away).
Our first trip we stayed in Palm Springs, this trip we traveled through in our camper van and camped in the Palm Desert. You can easily spend a week or more hiking and exploring through the park. We only had one day to tour and we brought our doggo Gypsy.
Dogs aren’t allowed to walk within 100 yards from the road, which means you can’t take them on many of the hiking trails. We had a doggy backpack and were able to walk a bit with her on off roads that allowed dogs. If you don’t have a dog, the park is free to roam. They also have a dog boarding place right at the north end of the park. More information about dogs in the park on their website https://www.nps.gov/jotr/planyourvisit/pets.htm
Since we have been here before, and did most of the hikes we wanted to in 2019. This time around we enjoyed simple .5- 1 mile nature walks exploring the trippy, out of this world landscape. The north end of the park has most of the Joshua Trees and funky boulder and rock formations. The south end of the park you get to see Cholla cacti, Ocotillo’s, mountains and some smaller canyons.
Definitely pack a lunch, snacks and drinks and enjoy your day or longer stay! Soak up the incredible landscape, it feeds your soul with much healing, awe and wonder.
The next weekend we discovered an absolute gem in the Palm desert called the White Water preserve. Here, you can hike with your beloved furry family member on some of the trails.
We hiked a 3.7 mile trail called the Canyon View loop trailhttps://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/whitewater-canyon-view-loop-trail This was just a perfect hike! What I mean by that it had a fantastic balance of mountains, desert, rivers, flora and fauna. It’s just challenging enough to feel like you got worked, but no so over the top where you feel dead by the time you reach the mountain top. Did I mention you can bring your doggo?
Our little 20 lb. Frenchie crushed the hike! She loved it. I was super impressed she bulldogged through all 3.7 miles, we were half prepared to carry her 1/2 the way. We definitely wore her out for the rest of the afternoon though.
The Pacific Crest Trail also intersects the whitewater preserve; and there are many other options for hiking and exploring in that area as well. If you are traveling during the weekends, make sure to get there before 9:00a as parking is limited. It’s also the desert! So it can get hot! Best time to visit is early spring, late fall and winter.
As an added nature bonus, If you are cruising through the city of Palm Springs check out the botanical gardens! I have never seen such a wide variety of cacti and desert plants from different regions. If you are into unique plants and colorful hummingbirds this is a must stop in the desert.
Ps: You can bring your pup too! http://www.moortenbotanicalgarden.com/
Enjoy the journey, and never stop exploring!