Hot! Destination: Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is one of my favorite climbing areas. Located about 45 miles north of Palm Springs, it is only a four hour drive from Phoenix and is known around the climbing world for its sharp, challenging granite rocks. But there’s a lot this one-of-a-kind landscape has to offer for non-climbers as well. The park is nearly 800,000 acres and has dozens of hiking trails and is home to more than 250 types of birds. In late March and April, the park blooms with spectacular, colorful wildflowers.

Of course, the most amazing thing is the Joshua Trees. They aren’t really trees, but Yucca plants. They only grow in the Mojave Desert at elevations above 3,000 feet and the park is the only place in the world to see dense forests of these Dr. Seuss plants. They can grow to 40 feet and have furry-looking trunks that explode into branches topped with spiky leaves. Looking out across a Joshua Tree meadow – especially at sunrise or sunset when the sky turns orange and red – is like looking out at a different planet.

Look for more posts this month on things to do in J Tree, places to stay, and my own climbing misadventures.

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