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Joshua Tree Micro Adventure

Story by Ben Horton

Two hours from Los Angeles is one of the countries most unique National Parks.  Joshua Tree has long been used as a place for inspiration by artists, adventurers, and musicians.  For sightseers it is a place to experience a contrast to the congested urban daily routine. The landscape is a canvas, just blank enough to allow open interpretation by those who experience it. Planning a micro adventure to Joshua Tree is a must if you haven’t already.

For me, Joshua Tree is my meditation, my muse, and my gym.  I come out here almost every week when in Southern California to rock climb, scramble through the scrub brush and boulders during the day, at night I test my skill as a photographer in my favorite environment, with my favorite subject, the stars.

The climbing in Joshua Tree is denser than anywhere else in the world.  Giant granite domes pepper the valleys, rising above endangered Joshua Tree raise their spiny arms to the sky.  I’ve been climbing here for ten years, and still the number of routes I haven’t done are greater than those that I have.  As I improve my skill, I only find a new level of humility as I realize how futile it is to try and conquer this place.

Top 5 Tips for Planning a Successful Joshua Tree Trip

1. Go During the Week to avoid the crowds

2. If coming from Los Angeles, leave by 6:30 AM to be a step ahead of the traffic

3. The best time to find a campsite is in the morning after people have packed up and left, but before the new arrivals have stopped for lunch.

4. Scramble to the summit of one of the Hidden Valley domes for sunset, it may be the best view of your life.

5. Buy the year pass, it’s only twice as much as a day pass.

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