Friday, December 12, 2008

Fortynine Palms Oasis Hike ~ Joshua Tree National Park, California

According to desert oasis legend, you can see an oasis from a distance but once you get close, it always vanishes. At the end of our three plus mile hike today, the Fortynine Palm Oasis at Joshua Tree National Park was quite real and spectacular against this mountainous barren landscape. The trail is a one-way moderate hike over rocky and loose gravel that takes you up several ridges and then down into a deep valley where the oasis lies in a collection point of several adjoining canyons. Here you will find several large and tall native California fan palms scattered amongst several small pools of water. This is one of 158 desert palm oases in North America and Joshua Tree National Park has five of these oases. You can also find cattails and cottonwood trees in this isolate garden. The trail itself offers several great views of the valley to the north, as well as desert flora including many red barrel cactus. This oasis is such a unique and stark contrast to the desert landscape that you don’t want to miss. You can find this hike on the north side of Joshua Tree National Park just four miles off Hwy 62 at the end of Canyon Road. We did the hike in two hours including the twenty minutes exploring the oasis itself.

To round out our day in Joshua Tree NP, we hiked the Indian Cove Nature trail that was nearby. This is a .6 mile interpretive trail providing information about the unique plants and animals that make this desert wash (a major drainage channel) their homes. This easy loop trail is surrounded on three sides by large rock hills where rock climbers are often seen. If you are looking for a 30 minute, easy and informative desert hike with nice views, then definitely check this out. You can find this hike on the far west end of the Indian Cove campground.

Joshua Tree National Park costs $15/vehicle per week, $30 for an annual pass, or free if you have an America the Beautiful pass.

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paulsharol said...

our neice in Slat Lake City utah sent us a photo of a Joshua Tree that is there

Suzanne and Brad said...

Thanks for writing!

Hopefully you'll get a chance to visit as well ~ quite beautiful!!

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