My Joshua Tree: Cassi Ellis – Parks Project

TOP 10: JOSHUA TREE
BY CASSI ELLIS

Name: Cassie Ellis
Age: 26
Location: Newport Beach, CA
Occupation: Assistant to the Founder & CEO of Think Together.


PLACE TO STAY
TWIN TANKS CAMPGROUND

Get away from the crowds at Twin Tanks Campground. This campground is for all the adventurous types out there. It’s a walk-in site in the backcountry (no permit required) with no running water or amenities. But who needs those kinds of luxuries?! Only the weak! The best sites are always those that put you closest to nature and away from the real world. After all, isn’t that what camping is all about?

PLACE TO REFUEL
JOSHUA TREE COFFEE ROASTERS

This local favorite is served by most cafes in the desert. They also source Fair Trade or Rainforest Alliance certified organic coffee. Joshua Tree Coffee Roasters is my first stop before the park (nitro cold brew) & my last stop for a bag of beans for home.

MUST-SEE LANDMARK
ARCH ROCK

This local favorite is served by most cafes in the desert. They also source Fair Trade or Rainforest Alliance certified organic coffee. Joshua Tree Coffee Roasters is my first stop before the park (nitro cold brew) & my last stop for a bag of beans for home.

WATCH SUNRISE OR SUNSET
CHOLLA CACTUS GARDEN

The landscape at Cholla Cactus Garden is unlike most areas of the park. Unlike the usual Joshua trees and boulders, this is a highly concentrated area of cholla cacti, aka the teddy bear cactus. When the sun rises, the cacti glows from the light and it looks awesome. It’s one of the coolest backdrops for photos. Depending where you stay in the park, you need to plan a little time to get out there but it’s worth it.

SECRET NATURE/WILDLIFE SPOT
STARGAZING ANYWHERE IN THE PARK

Joshua Tree National Park is an official International Dark Sky Park (not an easy designation to get). That means that stargazing is top-notch. Find a place to park it, lay a blanket down on the ground and prepared to be amazed by the Milky Way.

PLACE TO HIKE
RYAN MOUNTAIN

Ryan Mountain Trail feels like this isolated mountain in the middle of the desert (which, technically, I guess it is). The hike is ~3 miles and is moderately strenuous. Once you gain 1,059ft in elevation, you arrive at 5,457ft to a rewarding, sweeping view of the park. Depending on the time of year, you may see wildflowers & big horn sheep. Don’t forget to bring a beer for the top- you deserve it!

SCENIC PLACE TO ENJOY A COLD ONE
ON TOP OF A BOULDER

Joshua Tree is known for their giant, unique rock formations which are just begging to be explored. Scramble your way to the top of boulder mountain and take in the desert beauty. There is really nothing better than a good beer and a great view.

SELFIE SPOT
SKULL ROCK

This local favorite is served by most cafes in the desert. They also source Fair Trade or Rainforest Alliance certified organic coffee. Joshua Tree Coffee Roasters is my first stop before the park (nitro cold brew) & my last stop for a bag of beans for home.

RADICAL ACTIVITY
ROCK CLIMBING INTERSECTION ROCK/HIDDEN VALLEY

Joshua Tree is home to world class rock climbing & Intersection Rock put it on the map. It greets you right as you enter Hidden Valley and is a site in itself. There are 3 main routes that you will find running diagonally from the top. The levels range from 5.3-5.11a. Hidden Valley is the hub for rock climbers. From top-roping to lead climbing to bouldering, it’s the best place to be for any climber.

QUINTESSENTIAL SCENIC DRIVE
DRIVE FROM WEST ENTRANCE TO SOUTH ENTRANCE

Every road in Joshua Tree is quintessential California desert. If you take the drive from the west entrance to the south entrance, you will pass by every major stop - Hidden Valley, Ryan Mountain, Jumbo Rocks, Skull Rock, Cholla Cactus Garden, etc.

BONUS: PARK "DON'T"

During the hot seasons, don't forget to bring enough water! Especially when hiking. Also, don't wonder too far off the trails. It can be very easy to lose your orientation and many people have died or gone missing for this reason. Just be smart!

Wanna see more Top 10s?

CLICK HERE

More Posts

Next Post

Search our store