Travel Notes | Sunrise at Joshua Tree

Following on from my last ‘travel notes’ post, the road trip continues in Joshua Tree National Park…elements i love, joshua tree, travel notes

It’s pre dawn, with sleep in our eyes and a chill in the air, we drive alone in the dark towards the Cholla Cactus garden…elements i love, joshua tree, travel notes the colours of the desert change before our eyes, from an inky darkness the sky turns to a pale pink blue tone before the sun peaks over the horizon…elements i love, joshua tree, travel notes

like a supernatural landscape, the sea of cactus looks other worldly in the dawn light.

Slowly the golden rays spread a blanket of warmth across the valley – an incredible glow sweeps across this place. We can hear each other from our chosen photographic vantage points audibly sighing ‘omg did you see that… amazing…’ elements i love, joshua tree, travel notes

The colours are on fire, the spikes glow from brilliant orange to the softest yellows and luminous whites…

And then the show is over, the sun seems too bright, we wander back to the car in the after glow. It is only now that we see the warning sign about staying on the path and the danger of the spikes ‘oops’ we missed that in the dark!!   Next stop is Arch Rock…about 20 minutes away.

It’s funny but Arch rock is not marked on any of the maps so it’s kind of easy to miss – look out for the signs to White Tank Campground, a small and idyllic camp spot…with limited parking. elements i love, travel notes, arch rock

elements i love, travel notes, arch rock

arch-rock-joshua-tree-elements-i-love-travel-notes-2.jpgClassic mojave desert landscape

elements i love, travel notes, arch rock

It’s an easy and short hike around this track and the rock makes a great back drop for photos 🙂 again the time of day really influences the colour and beauty of the rock formations and the natural landscape.
To keep the cold at bay we were wearing every warm piece of clothing we had packed, it would have been a different experience without the brilliant blue skies – we felt that luck had been with us weather wise.

And to complete our Joshua Tree National Park experience a family of  coyotes appear at the roadside to give us a farewell…

As we drive back to our Air Bnb for breakfast, it’s just gone 9 am ! We pack the car and turn out onto the sandy road that takes us back through the Yucca Valley and onto LA. Thanks Joshua Tree – we loved it… I’d like to think we will be back.
elements i love, travel notes, arch rock

  • Practical Info & Tips
    Wear covered leather shoes to Cholla Cactus garden!
    There are 3 entrances to the park:  Joshua Tree, Cottonwood & Twenty-Nine Palms all have visitors centres.
  • If you are coming from Palm Springs you can enter from the south – grab a map at the Cottonwood Visitors Centre.
  • You can do a day trip from Palm Springs – but you wouldn’t get the early morning and late afternoon sun experiences.
  • From LA its a solid 2 hour + drive



    1. Thank you – Oh yes, those spikes, you only realise after the fact what kind of damage they could depending on where they end up ?!*… the coyotes were a nice touch 🙂

  1. Hey, this is where I’m from! Joshua Tree local. 🙂 Moved to Sydney a couple years ago but recently visited. I probably never fully appreciated the beauty until after living in the city for a while… haha

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