Joshua Tree National Park sits in southern California, a piece of ground between I-10 and JohnsonValley. We drove in from Twenty-nine Palms and took the loop back to Joshua Tree, about 35 miles. Throw in the 18 mile loop on the Geology Tour Road, just east of Jumbo Rocks Campground, and we had a great day. I love National Parks, this one is one of the babies though, it only became a National Park in 1994, before, it was just a National Monument. Joshua Tree is known for the place where the Mohave desert and the Colorado desert come together. It ranges from zero elevation to over 6000 feet. There are wide sweeping sandstones, tons of granite, trails for hiking and four wheel drives. Rock climbing is rampant. Joshua trees are all over the Mohave side of the Park.
Joshua Trees impress me, especially this time of year, the bright green stands out among the desert January brown. Yucca plants and Ocotilla dot the skyline, but it’s the rocks that impress me. There are granite formations that rise high above the skyline, pushed up through the pinto gneiss by the granite. Closer to Joshua Tree, CA are rocks that look like they have been stacked for several stories.
Because I love National Parks and they serve a great purpose, I need to rant about something that we see often. If there are established roads, stay on the established roads. There is absolutely no reason to go off road in a National Park. I love offroading, it’s our lifestyle, but this isn’t the place. So what do we see when we take the Geology Tour Road, tire tracks out in the dirt. Just once, I want to come upon one of those dumbasses when they are doing it. It makes me crazy, folks if you want to drive offroad, come on out to Johnson Valley and drive offroad, the National Park is not the place for that, you give us all a bad name.