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Joshua Tree National Park, California

Joshua Tree National Park was so awesome! The Joshua trees, or Yucca trees, look like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. In addition to the cool trees, the rocks take on a life of their own. The landscape here is absolutely amazing.

Hayden’s parents came for the weekend with their Great Dane, Gracie, so we took the dogs into the park. We drove up to the Keys View lookout which makes you feel like you are on top of the world! We then walked along the unpaved road near Barker Dam. Unfortunately, dogs aren’t allowed on the trails, but they enjoyed walking down the road which was remote enough that it felt like a trail.

We spent the night at Hayden’s parents Air Bnb to do some laundry, take a soak in the hot tub, and take a shower in the HUGE shower that is bigger than our bedroom back at the RV. It was really nice to have some space and get out of the RV for a night.

Back at Joshua Tree, we hiked the Lost Horse Mine Loop Trail, which ended up being about 6.7  miles. The first 2 miles were straight uphill until you come to the old mine, which was cool. The mine was established in 1894 and was used as a gold mine. Many people just turn around and go back down the mountain after reaching the mine, but you can continue on the loop, which we did. We continued uphill for about another half mile where we reached the top of the peak and were looking out on the vast expanse of the desert below. The next mile was straight downhill and was pretty steep. The following mile was both up and downhill, but nothing too crazy. Once you make it out of the mountains, the remainder of the hike is a flat sand trail. At 6.7 miles, it took us just under 3 hours to complete and we were pretty whooped by the end.

An easy hike, but absolutely worth it was the Skull Rock Loop. Skull rock is exactly what it sounds like, a huge rock that looks like a skull. It’s right off the road, so you can park and get out to take photos without having to venture too far. From there we did an easy 1.5-mile loop through the massive boulder landscape.

Barker Dam was a very easy hike, but was different than the other trails, since you come upon a little lake at the top of the dam. The water looks really out of place in the desert landscape. We spent some time watching ducks swimming around in the water before finishing the 1.5-mile hike. On the same hike, you can see some petroglyphs, which were cool. Unfortunately, they had been painted over at some point, which was disappointing.

Some easy trails we hiked that weren’t overly exciting, but worth a shout out included Wall Street Mill, Ryan Ranch, and Hidden Valley.

Our last and most difficult hike was Ryan Mountain. It was 1.5 miles, out and back, with a 1,050-foot elevation. It was a very difficult hike overall, but the views at the top were well worth the strenuous hike! You get a complete 360-degree panoramic view of Joshua Tree. It was quite an impressive view, so definitely add this one to your list. Don’t forget lots of water and sunscreen!

Here are a couple photos of the campsite, for reference

Campground information

Name: Joshua Tree Lake RV & Campground
Location: 2601 Sunfair Rd, Joshua Tree, CA 92252
Campsite: #301
Campground Notes:There is not much to this campground, mostly just a huge dirt lot. The RV hookup sites have some bushes that divide the campsites, which is nice. Our site was much wider than the others, but it looked out onto porta-potties… There are a lot of spaces for RVs with no hookups and a ton of tent camping spaces as well.
Dog-friendly:Yes. Each pet is $1 per pet per day. In the National Park, dogs are only allowed where cars can drive and up to 100 ft off the road.
Rates:$193 for 8 nights w/ Escapees discount
Discounts: 15% off with Escapees

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