Last weekend my parents and I spent the day in Joshua Tree and here’s what we did.
We met at Joshua Tree Coffee Company at 10 a.m. because every trip to Joshua Tree National Park must begin with a cold brew from JTree Coffee Co. It was packed there that morning (maybe due to Coachella Fest) and my cold brew took quite a while to make. I didn’t have much of a breakfast that morning and noticed a pop-up shop next to the coffee shop serving fresh quiches and wow, best decision. I wish I knew the name of the little place next door but I will say, if they’re always there, go. Run!
My cold brew was fantastic too, of course.
We then drove into the park via the West Entrance, which is about 10 miles east from the city of Yucca Valley. We were there on a Saturday and thought it was going to take a while to get in but the wait was quick. I also bought a new National Park Pass, which I renew every year. If you’re a frequent hiker/traveler, I would highly recommend getting the pass! It’s $80 and most day passes into parks are $30-$40. We live close to Joshua Tree National Park and usually plan a trip to at least one other park each year, making the pass so worth it. It also gets you access to a lot of other state parks and landmarks!
Once inside the Park we headed toward Ryan Mountain, which is located in the central part of the park. We actually had never hiked this trail before and it was tougher and steeper than we thought it was going to be. Ryan Mountain is definitely one of the most rewarding hikes within Joshua Tree National Park though, offering stunning views of the desert landscape from its summit. The trail, which is 3 miles round trip, is clearly marked and easy to follow. It has a total elevation gain of 1,050 feet and the elevation at the top is 5,457 feet. Although the ascent is steep in parts, hikers of all levels can complete the journey. Once at the top, you can take in the awe-inspiring panoramic views of the surrounding desert. We were shocked at how green the landscape looked due to the amount of rain we had this spring. We could also clearly see three snowcapped mountains in the distance: San Jacinto, Big Bear and what we think was San Gorgonio.
After hiking Ryan Mountain, we planned to stop and see two more landmarks within the park (Arch Rock & Heart Rock), which I thought I remembered being in locations where you just park your car, get out and see them…but, I was a bit off unfortunately. We were quite tired from our hike and it was a very sunny day and Arch Rock/Heart Rock ended up being another 1.4 miles out & back. It was an easy route that took another 30 minutes to complete. It sure was pretty though! My parents had never been to Arch Rock and we all hadn’t seen the Heart Rock before.
We ended the afternoon with a celebratory, post hike beer on the patio at Joshua Tree Saloon. We were surprised with beautiful weather and fun live music and delicious iced cold beer.
What a great day! Thanks for reading along.
As always, travel on my friends.