Joshua Tree National Park Indian Cove to Boy Scout Trail to Rattlesnake Canyon

Twentynine Palms, California

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We think of deserts as desiccated landscapes of raw earth populated only by the heartiest of life forms. Joshua Tree National Park—with its piles of topsy-turvy boulders and scrubby washes studded with namesake trees reaching for the sky—certainly fits the bill. But it’s also a place to witness some of the loveliest wildflowers you’ll ever see. Some years, during the height of spring bloom season, the flowers are so thick that the colors roll all the way across the usually bleak landscape and vanish into the horizon. Other times, you have to seek the blooms out one at a time, like little treasures. At night, huge, ghostlike blossoms open to the moon and later wither with the sun. Then the ephemeral colors are gone, and you’ll wonder if the whole thing wasn’t just a mirage. Given the desert’s fickle patterns of rain and temperature, you can’t always predict when, where, or even if the flower show will occur. But plan a likely route anyway, then be prepared to change those plans and go where the flowers may be.
Backpacker The National Parks Coast to Coast

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Backpacker The National Parks Coast to Coast

by Ted Alvarez (Falcon Guides)

We think of deserts as desiccated landscapes of raw earth populated only by the heartiest of life forms. Joshua Tree National Park—with its piles of topsy-turvy boulders and scrubby washes studded with namesake trees reaching for the sky—certainly fits the bill. But it’s also a place to witness some of the loveliest wildflowers you’ll ever see.

Some years, during the height of spring bloom season, the flowers are so thick that the colors roll all the way across the usually bleak landscape and vanish into the horizon. Other times, you have to seek the blooms out one at a time, like little treasures. At night, huge, ghostlike blossoms open to the moon and later wither with the sun. Then the ephemeral colors are gone, and you’ll wonder if the whole thing wasn’t just a mirage.

Given the desert’s fickle patterns of rain and temperature, you can’t always predict when, where, or even if the flower show will occur. But plan a likely route anyway, then be prepared to change those plans and go where the flowers may be.

© 2016 Ted Alvarez/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Backpacking, Hiking
Nearby City: Twentynine Palms
Distance: 16
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 1-3 days
Local Contacts: Joshua Tree National Park, (760) 367-5500; nps.gov/jotr
Driving Directions: Directions to Joshua Tree National Park: Indian Cove to Boy Scout Trail to Rattlesnake Canyon

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Apr 2018