(Courtesy of Weekend Sherpa)

Two Dreamy Days in Joshua National Park

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Located in the high desert of southeast California, Joshua Tree National Park is stunning in both winter and spring.

Here are our top recommendations on exploring this dreamy desertscape in just two days.


Ryan Mountain at Joshua Tree National Park

(Courtesy of Weekend Sherpa)

At 5,456 feet, the summit of Ryan Mountain has the best view in the park, a panorama spanning desert to mountains.

The trail to the top is just 1.5 miles (one-way), but it's a rather rapid ascent of more than 1,000 feet so expect to huff and puff a bit. Several stone steps and a few steep grades make up parts of the adventure, but the desert views stay with you most of the way.

The summit is marked by a huge pile of boulders and rocks, and there's plenty of room to jump for joy or sit quietly on a slab of the mountain and scan the scenery, including three valleys, the Pinto Basin, Mount San Jacinto, and the Little San Bernardino Mountains.

Find out where to eat and stay on Weekend Sherpa.

Split Rock Trail at Joshua Tree National Park

(Courtesy of Weekend Sherpa)

Joshua Tree is famous for its namesake trees, but there are plenty of other cool natural features on display at this national park. For example, gigantic boulders.

See these big guys on a leisurely off-the-beaten-path hike along Split Rock Trail. It's a mellow two-miler showing off the best of Joshua Trees' behemoth boulders. This trail less traveled is a classic Mojave Desert habitat with pinyon pines, yuccas, and the occasional black-tailed jackrabbit.

Get more info, including where to eat and stay, at Weekend Sherpa.

Hidden Valley Trail is Joshua Tree for Beginners

(Courtesy of Weekend Sherpa)

For a nice beginner's intro to Joshua Tree National Park, drive to the Hidden Valley trailhead from the west entrance. This one-mile loop is an amphitheater and playground of boulders.

The trail winds through a bounty of cactus, pinyon, juniper and, of course, Joshua trees with their spiny tops and branches artfully molded by nature in whimsical contortions. Hike the loop, scamper up boulders for bird's-eye views, and watch as rock climbers scramble to the tip-tops of narrow rocks.

Get deets on where to stay and eat at Weekend Sherpa.

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