Joshua Tree Lake is not a lake but rather a small pond, nevertheless a nice amenity in the desert. The park is a way out of town, but quiet and peaceful. Some privacy is provided by hedges between sites.
We came here to visit Joshua Tree National Park. The “trees” are really yuccas, and their “bark” is the stems of old leaves that have died. They have often been cited as the inspiration for Dr. Seuss’ truffula tree.
There are 2 visitor centers on the north side of the park, and they are connected by a nice drive through boulders and stands of Joshua trees. We stopped at 3 locations for short hikes. Skull Rock didn’t look like much to me, but we took the trail to the campground and back, enjoying the views of immense boulder piles and desert.
Barker Dam is a walk to an old dam created by ranchers for their cattle. We expected to see lots of wildlife due to the water, but it was pretty quiet at midday.
Our favorite hike was Hidden Valley, rumored to be a location where outlaws hid stolen livestock. It is accurately named: climbing over a small hill reveals a small valley completely surrounded by mountains. The views were exceptional. We also saw several rock climbers enjoying the terrain.
Our last stop was at the Oasis of Mara, a small collection of abundant vegetation including palm trees. The oasis is over a fault which collects water. It is amazing and refreshing to come upon a cool shady spot with ample humidity in the middle of the desert. A family of quail were happy to be there with us.
We made a quick loop through the town of Joshua Tree. There wasn’t much doing, though we did spot one unusual museum.