A typical granite formation and Tree image from central Joshua Tree
National Park, California.
Tree NP, in California, is 140 miles (230kms) east of Los Angeles and a favourite retreat for Angelinos, though the fast road there
(I-10) is unpleasantly busy with brutal, unforgiving traffic. The
park's north Joshua Tree town entrance - in other words the LA route
- takes you immediately into the attractive Joshua Tree zone in the Mojave Desert, whereas the south Cottonwood entrance is in the
lower Colorado Desert and very dull for at least an hour of drive time.
Bigelow (jumping) cholla cactus in the south Colorado Desert section
of Joshua Tree.
sections of the park sport abundant cacti, large, small and very small,
so this is a good spot to dump the sandals and wear serious shoes
or trainers with long pants (trousers). Backing into small, hairy cacti when
looking for the perfect tree shot is a Joshua hazard. Rattlesnakes
are also not uncommon and another good reason to protect the legs.
Joshua Park has a lovely atmosphere combining tranquility with weird
tree and rock scenery, and is well worth a few days hiking, biking
or rock climbing (on granite).
The Cap Rock behind which lurks, officially unrecognised, Gram Parsons'
shrine and the site of his dramatic and illegal cremation by his wacked-out
mates. Yes, he was dead already!
who knows the bizarre story of country-rock legend Gram Parsons' illegal
cremation can find the unofficial (and pointedly ignored by Rangers)
shrine under Cap Rock, on the turning to Keys View road. Stop in the
first turnoff (layby) just after starting on Keys View and look at
the rock outcrop to the left. There is a red cross and varied Gram
graffiti under it.
The short story is that Gram's two buddies got completely wasted,
stole his body/coffin from the airport, drove out to this spot, got
even more wrecked, poured gas over the box and burned Gram to cinders
- as the singer had expressly wished, this being his favourite place
of peace, meditation and excessive drug use.
Keys View road to the Coachella Valley overlook.
The Keys View, overlooking Coachella Valley and Palm Springs.
Hidden Valley campground, early morning, Joshua Tree NP.
There are a number of gorgeous, low-price campsites
- for RVs or tents - with individual picnic tables and barbeque facilities
and communal restrooms, though no water or food supplies at all.
Bugcrew's favourite campsites were Jumbo Rocks and Hidden Valley.
Arches | Moab | Routes 12 & 24 | Bryce Canyon | Grand Canyon | Zion Canyon
Pictures | Las Vegas | USA Guide | SW USA Map | USA Tours