This winter, while we were in Palm Desert, CA, we took a day trip to Joshua Tree National Park. The park is almost 800,000 acres. Most of it lies in a transition zone between the Colorado and Mojave deserts. We entered at the Joshua Tree visitors center, in the northwest corner of the park, and drove a big loop to exit at the Oasis Visitor Center, on the north side. This route took us through the western half of the park, which is Mojave Desert, where the Joshua Trees are located.
I didn’t get many pictures of the trees because we were more impressed with the rock formations.
According to the brochure, the rock piles began underground with volcanic activity. As the super-heated magma rose, it intruded the overlying rock. As the magma cooled and crystalized, cracks formed. It continued to uplift as it encountered groundwater. Eventually the surface soil eroded, leaving heaps of granite boulders scattered across the land.
About mid-way on our drive, we stopped for a short hike through Hidden Valley.
Rock climbing is popular here. You can barely see the two climbers on top of the rocks in the picture above.
It was a cool day in town which meant it was cold out in the desert.
If you go in winter, bundle up and enjoy this unique scenery!