Joshua Tree National Park | Spring 2018

Last time I visited Joshua Tree National Park it was overcast and raining and I was anxious to get to Phoenix. It was certainly a beautiful pass-through, but the rain dampened the typical desert-y vibes I’d expected from pictures and reports from other travelers. This time, the third major stop for Hannah and me on this Spring Break National Parks trip was in perfect early Spring conditions, and a pleasure to visit. Here’s a free tip though - the campgrounds in the Park fill up quickly when the weather is nice, so book ahead of time…

Or don’t - Hannah and I met my friend Mazie at the entrance, and we decided to drive through, hike a bit, and then camp on the BLM land south of the park. This was a great decision because (1) you can camp wherever you want, (2) it is free, (3) you can have a campfire, and (4) you can fly your drone! Either way, in the Park or out, you get the same wonderful, brilliant night sky. With no fear of precipitation Hannah and I left the rain fly off our tent to see the stars as we went to sleep.

This is another bizarre and wonderful place. The “trees” are not actually trees but Yucca plants that only grow in a very narrow set of conditions. They coexist with huge piles of boulders (how did they get here?!) in the northwest section of the Park, but disappear as you drive southwest out of the Mojave Desert, into the Colorado Desert. A video recap is posted above, and you can follow these links to see more from Death Valley and Yosemite, as a summary of the whole trip.

Joshua Tree National Park became the 54th National Park on October 31, 1994, and is located in southeast California.

All pictures by Karl Magnuson
Canon 6D Mark II
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L, Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L, Canon EF 28-70mm f/2.8L