Joshua Tree National Park
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Joshua Tree National Park
We're thinking of going camping with our 6 and 8 yr olds in
Joshua Tree after visiting folks in San Diego over Easter
Break. Any thoughts on kid-friendly hikes and campsites? Also,
we had contemplated Death Valley, but it seems like distances
are pretty daunting. Does anyone have experience with both
areas and have strong feelings re one vs. the other? By the
way, we are experienced campers, just havn't been to these two
areas. Thanks for any advice!
As a child, my family went camping a lot and spent time at both
Death Valley and Joshua Tree. However, I have a special love of
Joshua Tree, and I really encourage you to go to that magical
place with your family. We most often camped at Jumbo Rocks and
Hidden Valley. If I remember correctly, we also enjoyed hiking,
if not camping, at Rattlesnake Canyon. Easter is a wonderful time
to go, as you are more likely to see flowers blooming, but it can
get cold in the high desert then: we sometimes had snow. I
remember hours and hours of rapturous rock scrambling. However,
you do have to watch kids carefully: at one Girl Scout campout, a
girl wandered off a ledge and broke her ankle and had to be taken
out by a rescue team. Joshua Tree is one of my favorite places in
the world. The stars are bright, the wildlife surprising, and
after several days of grubby camping, you can go (at least that
what we did) to Palm Springs to clean up with a swim in the public
pool and eat a good meal. Enjoy yourselves!
Your camping trip is going to magnificant no matter what
you do. I camped for close to a week years ago (pre-child) at
Joshua Tree and absolutely loved it. We were there during
Easter time as well which was a bit busy but fine. We stayed
at the Jumbo Rocks site which was very easy to get to and
there were gorgeous walks in any direction. I loved all those
rabbits that were all of the place when you walked around.
You are right about Death Valley though. Not only is it a good
distance from JT but it entailed a lot of driving to see the
sites. I remember it was about an average of 45 minutes
between places and our campground (near Mosaic canyon,
a must ! if you go) was a big parking lot. I might opt instead
to go to the Anza Borega State Park which is really close to
San Diego. My friend from there was completely enthralled
by the place and how easy it was to access from San Diego.
Have fun and I wanna go too!
Like the previous respondents, I would choose Joshua Tree over
Death Valley, both because of the drive to get there, and
because of the distances once you are in the park. If you do go
to Joshua Tree, be sure to get the extremely helpful book, ''On
Foot in Joshua Tree'' by Patty Furbush. Be forewarned: my husband
and I are fit and experienced hikers, and usually beat the time
estimates in guidebooks by quite a bit. Using this wonderful
book, however, we never did a hike faster than she estimated!
You are wise to think about how much time you want to spend in
the car in planning your post-San Diego camping trip!
Distances ''down there'' are indeed vast -- especially with kids
in the car. It's a great time of year to visit the desert, but
if you don't want to chew up your vacation time with a LOT of
driving, you should consider Anza-Borrego State Park.
(Click here for the rest of this review).
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