If you’ve never visited Joshua Tree National Park (formerly Joshua Tree National Monument),
you’re in for a treat. To get to the park, from Rincon Road make a right turn onto Quail Springs
Road. You’ll find the western entrance to the park at the end of Quail Springs Road. Make sure
you get a map of the park when you pay your entry fee.
There’s plenty to see, but here are three of our favorites:
For those who are not really up for hiking but want a spectacular panoramic experience, drive to
Keys View. Once you park you’re only about ten minutes from the lookout. At the Keys View
lookout you can look west (to the right) and see Mt. San Jacinto and San Gorgonio. If you look
to your south (to the left) you can see the shimmering Salton Sea. Laid out before you, like a big
crack in the world, is the famous San Andreas Fault. Consult your Joshua Tree map for details.
Keys Ranch Tour
Against all odds, in 1919 Bill Keys established a ranch on Joshua Tree and began to raise his
family. The National Park Service preserves Keys Ranch as it was when the Keys family lived
there and you can experience it yourself. For more information or to make tour reservations, call
Barker Dam Hike
Considered by many to be the best hike in the park, the Barker Dam hike is a one-mile loop trail
that is easy enough that you can even bring small children. As you meander along you will see
the beautiful and distinctive Joshua Trees, rock formations, and in the spring, wildflowers
bursting with color. The trail is mostly flat with some minor rock maneuvering required along the
way. Some have complained that the trail is not well marked, so carry a map and keep your
bearings as you go. You may find water in the dam if there have been rains recently so be
prepared with a camera – the reflections in the water are stunning! As always, carry drinking
water and use sunscreen.