A trip to Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks - Part Four

- Part Three -

Day Five

We left Las Vegas at about 11:00 in the morning and headed for Palm Springs, California. See you next time, Vegas!

Dawn in Las Vegas before we left ARIA Resort & Casino
Dawn in Las Vegas before we left ARIA Resort & Casino

We stayed in Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa for the night.

Our room was next to a president suite in Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa
Our room was next to a president suite in Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa
Our two-bed room in Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa
Our two-bed room in Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa
Our bathroom was cozy in Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa
Our bathroom was cozy in Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa

Day Six

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is characterized by rugged rock formations and stark desert landscapes. It is named for the region’s twisted, bristled Joshua trees. We visited the National Park during US government shutdown, so no entrance fee was charged, $30 for a 7-day vehicle permit.

A Joshua tree in Joshua Tree National Park
A Joshua tree in Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is characterized by rugged rock formations
Joshua Tree National Park is characterized by rugged rock formations
A weird shaped rock in Joshua Tree National Park
A weird shaped rock in Joshua Tree National Park

There are three entrances: West Entrance, North Entrance and South Entrance. We took the North Entrance in Twentynine Palms, three miles south of the junction of Highway 62 and Utah Trail. The tip we learned was the lines are much shorter here on weekends and holidays.

Since this was a one day trip for us, we picked two interpretive trails for us to explore.

Skull Rock

We followed Park Blvd. all the way from the North Entrance, Skull Rock was on the left before we reached Jumbo Rock Campground.

Skull Rock is a popular attraction in Joshua Tree National Park at California
Skull Rock is a popular attraction in Joshua Tree National Park at California

If you wonder why it looks like this, this is why: rain drops have accumulated for a long time and eroded the granite in this area. As the erosion continues, two hollowed-out eye sockets formed and the rock began to resemble a skull.

A parking lot can be located across the road from the rock.

Parking is across the street from Skull Rock. It’s easy to be located.
Parking is across the street from Skull Rock. It’s easy to be located.

For those wanting to hike, a 1.8-mile trail is across from the entrance to Jumbo Rocks Campground. 

Teddy Bear cholla in Joshua Tree National Park
Teddy Bear cholla in Joshua Tree National Park
A spiky cholla in Joshua Tree National Park
A spiky cholla in Joshua Tree National Park

Arch Rock

We had to drive back via Park Blvd. till we reached Pinto Basin Road then used that road to get to White Tank Campground Road. To reach the trailhead, you need to enter White Tank Campground and take the left split in the road.

This is a 0.5-mile loop hike. The Arch Rock is not far from the trailhead. The trail begins alongside Campsite 9, and day use parking is available near Campsite 15  (at the end of the loop). There is not a lot of parking, so you might want to get there early on weekends and holidays.

Arch Rock at Joshua Tree National Park
Arch Rock at Joshua Tree National Park
About the Arch in Joshua Tree National Park
About the Arch in Joshua Tree National Park

This is a great place to hike, to have a picnic and look out at the rock formations. Don’t forget to bring plenty of water with you though.

A rock looks like a whale jumping out of the sea in Joshua Tree National Park
A rock looks like a whale jumping out of the sea in Joshua Tree National Park
We said goodbye to Joshua Tree National Park while picturing these joshua trees
We said goodbye to Joshua Tree National Park while picturing these joshua trees

After having these amazing hikes, we went to Cabazon dinosaurs, a roadside attraction not far from us. There are two enormous steel-and-concrete dinosaurs in the attraction, one is brontosaurus(Dinny), a souvenir store that can be accessed free of charge. The other one is a tyrannosaurus(Mr. Rex). You can climb to the mouth of the Mr. Rex to look at the scenery. You have to pay for the entrance though.

A tyrannosaurus(Mr. Rex) at Cabazon dinosaurs
A tyrannosaurus(Mr. Rex) at Cabazon dinosaurs
At the entrance of Cabazon dinosaurs, you can see a hidden dinosaur.
At the entrance of Cabazon dinosaurs, you can see a hidden dinosaur.
Two Brachiosaurus at Cabazon dinosaurs
Two Brachiosaurus at Cabazon dinosaurs
You can climb to the mouth of Mr. Rex to look at the scenery. The brontosaurus(Dinny) at the back is a souvenir store.
You can climb to the mouth of Mr. Rex to look at the scenery. The brontosaurus(Dinny) at the back is a souvenir store.
Inside the mouth of the Mr. Rex in Cabazon dinosaurs
Inside the mouth of the Mr. Rex in Cabazon dinosaurs
We said goodbye to Cabazon dinosaurs after picturing Mr.Rex’s feet
We said goodbye to Cabazon dinosaurs after picturing Mr.Rex’s feet

We then headed back and stayed in Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa for the night.

Day Seven

We left around 10:00 in the morning and headed back to San Francisco the Bay Area. It took us about seven and half hours to get home. That wrapped up our wonderful 7 day 6 night trip during the Christmas holidays.

- Part Three -

Route Map

Route map from ARIA Resort & Casino to Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa
Route map from Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa to Joshua Tree National Park
Route map from Skull Rock to Arch Rock at Joshua Tree National Park

Trip Duration

2018-12-23 - 2018-12-29