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3 nights, 2 days JTNP with 2 teenagers

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3 nights, 2 days JTNP with 2 teenagers
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We are ending a long week of college tours with 3 nights and 2 days in JTNP in Feb. We had initially planned to stay right outside the park near Yucca Valley, but have heard that there is little to do when we leave the park. Our concern is 2 teenagers already having been bored with college tours for 6 days and wanting a little more life outside the park. Is it worth considering staying down in Palm Springs or Palm Desert for 3 nights, which I think would allow us to enter the park from the west/north one day and South the other.

Thanks!

Boston...
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1. Re: 3 nights, 2 days JTNP with 2 teenagers
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Palm Springs/Desert both have fancy and funky hotels, lots of restaurants, and plenty of fun attractions.

Joshua Tree is a gorgeous national park with amazing scenery.

You know best what your teens would enjoy, but it isn't hard to do a day trip from either PD/PS to Joshua Tree, entering either from the north or south, and ending up back at PS/PD

You don't need to go twice to Joshua Tree unless you plan lots of hikes

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2. Re: 3 nights, 2 days JTNP with 2 teenagers
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Thanks - we hope to spend 2 days there (the kids probably less hoping for that). There's so much to see and do in the park...

Joshua Tree...
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3. Re: 3 nights, 2 days JTNP with 2 teenagers
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There's not much reason to enter from the south or even to split your time there - all of the gargantuan boulders and parks namesake Joshua Trees are at the northern end. And it takes about an hour to drive from the Cottonwood entrance to the northern end so I would focus your time on the northern side. (If it's wildflower season & you're dying to see wildflowers and there aren't any on the northern end, then because of the elevation difference there could be some on the southern end.)

Most people spend at least 2 full days at Joshua Tree National Park - it's very misleading when people say an afternoon or less than a day would be enough - they may have never discovered the magic of the park. Some people spend a week, even more. The park is over 1200 square miles so just driving around the northern end and then wandering normally takes much longer than people estimate. If you're going during spring break, which is also wildflower season, it may save you time to enter in 29 Palms on Utah Trail via the Oasis Visitor Center as there is never a wait to get in at that entrance.

Your teenagers can't go to bars so what would they do at night ANY where at night? There is a bowling alley in Yucca Valley. You could go one evening to the facade cowboy town of Pioneertown in Pioneertown and then watch a music performer at the adjacent Pappy & Harriets. P & H is restaurant although not known for their food but they are fairly "famous" as a music venue and Paul McCartney even famously performed there just a couple years back.

I would stick with your plans to stay in Yucca Valley or the city of Joshua Tree. You could also consider, after one of your days at the park, driving south to the Palm Springs Aerial tramway for sunset views. They have a film, little visitor center, small shop, food and San Jacinto State Park at the top. (30 degrees colder at the top - bring jackets.) Then maybe eat dinner in that area and drive back to your hotel/rental in Yucca Valley.

In Joshua Tree there are many pretty cool areas that would intrigue your teens & give them plenty to post on Facebook or Instagram. The Arch at White Tank campground is much more than a short hike to The Arch - it has really cool rock formations all around and the "secret" Heart Rock that they'd enjoy finding. There's the Hall of Horrors - you just need to find the "hall of horrors"... Ryan Ranch Trail takes you to a sort of Stonehenge in the desert. If they read about the late musician Graham Parsons then they might get a hoot out of finding the shrine memorial where he his body was burned (on the back side of the gargantuan Cap Rock.) The Dam at Barker Dam will probably have water and is pretty cool plus there are often big horn sheep around there. Intersection Rock almost always has rock climbers that are fun to watch plus cool rock formations good for photos and a picnic area. You can also book ahead of time the inexpensive Keys Ranch Tour (only 90 minutes but historical & interesting.) Then there's the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Museum just 5 minutes from the Joshua Tree visitor center. Big Morongo Canyon Preserve (Morongo Valley) is about 20 minutes from Yucca Valley. So.... yes, it's not really telling the whole picture of the park or the area to say one day is enough....

Here is a link with details on everything I mentioned (including Graham Parsons, local cool shops as well as Morongo Preserve and my favorite local restaurants and tips.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Trips/86527982/Joshua%20Tree%20National%20Park%20&%20surrounding%20area?m=19905

Remember there is no water, gasoline or cell service in the park. So any info on what you want to do, secrets on how to find the Hall or Horror or Heart Rock will need to be downloaded or printed out. It's too far to drive out of the park for lunch so bring snacks and drinks in with you to eat at one of the many picnic areas. Snacks too. And it's the desert, so bring more water than you think you'll need. It can get windy so hats that don't blow off and dress in layers. No flip flops or sandals - too much tiny gravel on all the paths.

And to find the heart rock? Here is the secret:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g143037-d6701329-r664087252-Arch_Rock-Joshua_Tree_National_Park_California.html

Edited: 1 year ago
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48 reviews
25 helpful votes
4. Re: 3 nights, 2 days JTNP with 2 teenagers
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LOVE it! Thank you for all the recommendations - I already had your prior post on what hikes to do tagged to come back to. :)

5. Re: 3 nights, 2 days JTNP with 2 teenagers

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