Distance: 8 miles (12.9 km) there and back
Time: about 3.5 hours including lunch
Elevation gain: 400 feet (122 metres)
Difficulty: terrain-wise, easy; navigation-wise, easy to moderate; fitness-wise, easy
Drive: about 2.5 hours (135 miles) from old town Pasadena, east on the 210, the 10, and the 62, and then a right turn at Joshua Tree onto Park Blvd for the final 12 miles to Boy Scout trailhead
Modern Hiker’s description is here
This was our second trip to Joshua Tree, and we came slightly better prepared than for the Lost Palms Oasis. We also came with two walking companions, Simon and Nik, and this route was a lovely way to take in the Joshua Tree scenery on a trail that was well marked but not too much frequented and offered some spectacular picnic spots and photo ops. The main attraction is the Wonderland of Rock, and of course the Joshua trees (not real trees, but yuccas) themselves.
Follow the Boy Scout trail north along flat ground from the car park for about 2.5 miles (4 km), at which point it devolves from a proper path into a wash, but is still marked with sticks and stones to help you keep on track, amidst increasingly impressive monzogranite formations. Around 3.3 miles (5.3 km) the wash widens and curves to the right on the approach to a grove of willows, which you pass through to come out at the deeply unimpressive Willow Hole: a big smelly muddy puddle.
We stopped for lunch in a splendid elevated setting just before the willows, perched high in the midst of Wonderland.
Park views whetting our appetites.
The rocks getting cooler and cooler.
The wash widening to the willow grove.
The willow grove.
The willow hole: thank god it’s all about the journey not the destination.
The homeward half.
Joshua Tree photoshoot. (As seen on Bumble.)
The desert shadows start to lengthen.
Vanilla pearl on sand.