A Joshua Tree Retreat
The digs: Eagle Om Ranch, Joshua Tree, California
http://www.vrbo.com/939499ha - a five star experience.
Get ready to see millions of stars - the owner of the property encourages guests to pull the beds outside on the deck and sleep outside. AND this place is PET FRIENDLY.
Disclaimer - Eagle Om Ranch is very much off the beaten path - to get to the ranch you must take a poorly maintained dirt road for about several miles- however the property was wonderfully decorated/equipped with a hot tub, fireplace, outdoor shower, etc. and only a 20 minute drive to the Joshua Tree National Park entrance. Go fast down the dirt road and arrive to the ranch during the day and you'll be in good shape.
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree was my first adventure after moving to the West Coast. Located only 2 hours from Los Angeles, Joshua Tree provides a secluded escape for city folks who crave wide open spaces and star abundant skies.
JTNP is named for its incomparable trees which frequent the park and surrounding areas. Interestingly, the park contains two separate desert lands, the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert, which are distinguished by their varied elevations. The rock formations which define the park almost as much as the trees do, were created from years of flash flooding which left an aftermath of high-piled boulders. These boulders provide a natural jungle gym for the adventure seekers of today.
The following are my top three favorite areas within Joshua Tree National Park:
Wonderland of Rocks: The Wonderland of Rocks to Willow Hole hike is a 7 miles round trip and best accessed by the Boy Scout trailhead. Bring at least 2 liters of water for this trail even if the weather is considerably cool. 75 degrees in the desert can quickly feel like 90 degrees and many visitors in Joshua Tree have suffered and needed hospitalization from heat exhaustion. When you're water is half way finished, turn back around. Also note, there are no fill stations within the park - the only areas with water are at the ranger stations located at the two entrances of the park.
Jumbo Rocks: One of the best area's to camp, if you like to keep things authentic. Climb here, take a picture with skull rock, and visit at night for some epic star gazing.
Hidden Valley: Another great area to camp and home to my favorite rock to boulder within Joshua Tree. From the Hidden Valley parking lot go to the right and across the road to Cyclops Rock. Go around to the back side of the rock and safely climb up - no gear is needed - only grippy shoes and some courage. At the top are beautiful arial views of the wonderland of rocks and a fun little cave to climb inside.