Hope everyone had a great Memorial Day and remembered to take a moment to give thanks for those who sacrificed their lives so we can live our dreams!
This is one of my favorite weekends of the year because as the weather starts to heat up and the daylight hours get longer, I start to get restless and it is the perfect opportunity to get out of LA for a little reboot. This year, after a friend’s backyard BBQ birthday, we headed to Joshua Tree. Here’s a quick break down:
Where to eat – Eric has a true knack for spotting unique spots that I never would have given a chance so you can thank him for these.
The Rib Co. The pitmaster himself greeted us from behind the BBQ as we approached the front door. Once inside, we sat ourselves at a seat by the window and were happy to be in the air conditioning. He ordered an NY Strip steak and I got the house favorite baby back ribs. Mine literally fell off the bone. So good!
Joshua Tree Saloon This place is all about the atmosphere. A bar and grill located at the corner of Park Blvd and Twentynine Palms Hgwy, you can’t miss it as you visit the west entrance to the national park. It is full of all kinds of wood carvings and rusty farm equipment and the walls are covered with vintage road signs, old photographs and such. The menu is huge and the food delicious, but make sure to bring your patience, because the service was not the fastest. I got the turkey bacon sandwich which stood out for the not too spicy jalapeno cheddar bread and ranch spread. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! Eric got the flamed grilled ahi and was happy as well.
Larry & Milt’s Western Cafe We found this gem on our way out of town Monday morning. They have a dog friendly outdoor patio area, delicious coffee, fluffy pancakes and tasty bacon with super friendly service. What more could you ask for?!
What to do:
Joshua Tree National Park official park hours are 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM however, the gates are always open. There is no park ranger at the entrance at night so if you are staying outside the park, you can enter and exit again at night for free. A daytime pass is $25 per car. Dog are allowed in the park, but must stay in campgrounds or on paved roads, they must stay on a leash at all times and cannot be left unattended. They are not allowed on the hiking trails.
inside the park:
Keys View, a spot for stargazing, was recommended to us by our super friendly Rib Co. server. We entered the park after dark and the lookout was quite a drive from where we were staying (only actually 20 minutes from the Park Blvd/Twentynine Palms Hgwy but we were really tired!) so we did not make it all the way to see it at night, however, we did go back in the morning and the view was magnificent. There is easy parking and a paved path.
Hike: a guide to all the trails can be found here.
Boy Scout Trail – a challenging level trail through the Wonderland of Rocks. Eric has been on this hike before and says it is absolutely amazing, unfortunately, you will have to take his word for it because we only made it about a mile in this time. A rattlesnake, which might as well have been an ax murderer as far as I’m concerned, was blocking the path. Sadly, this pretty much took hiking out of the equation for the rest of the day. 😦
Indian Cove Trail – turn on Indian Cove Rd off of Twentynine Palms Highway and drive approximately 1.5 miles down, you will pass the ranger station and end up at the trail head. There is parking there and you can continue on into the trail or walk along the paved road. We chose the paved road because we could bring the dog and avoid the rattlesnakes. It was about 4 miles round trip to the giant boulders in the distance. Bring water and wear sunscreen, there is not a lotta shade.
outside the park:
Whitewater Preserve – This was my favorite place of the whole trip. It is completely dog friendly and the scenery changes and gets more beautiful every direction you look. There are a few hikes to chose from, plus a picnic area and a creek with swimming. We chose a moderate 3.5 mile trail called Canyon View Loop Trail. Get there early because parking fills up fast and the mornings are cooler.
Noah Purifoy Outdoor Museum. It is a little off the beaten path, but the drive is a treat all on its own. If you’re like me, you often wonder what’s at the end of random roads off the main highway on long road trips and this kind of feels like you are getting to find out. We passed many houses and a school and made up stories about who lived there and why they didn’t landscape their yards better. The museum is… neat aaand unique! Dogs are welcome. Which we didn’t know ahead of time, unfortunately, so Charlie missed out.
Where to stay:
I don’t have the best recommendations for accommodations this time because ours were not the best. We stayed at a Motel 6 on Twentynine Palms Highway because they accept dogs. The building itself was clean and in good condition, but it was a little far away from all the other things we wanted to do. If we visit again, I want to either try camping the park or make sure to stay closer to one of the park entrances and/or out of park activities.