Joshua Tree National Park: My First Visit!


During COVID19, I have stayed close to home. In Fall of 2021, I went on a road trip to Death Valley. Although I have traveled to over 100 countries and 6 continents, it was my first visit to this epic National Park. I went with a friend from my cruise ship days and her two teens. They were shocked that even though we both grew up in California, neither of us had ever been. After that awesome experience, we decided to travel to Joshua Tree in February 2022 again all of our first experience of this incredible area.

Lisa Niver at 49 Palms Oasis, Joshua Tree, Feb 18, 2022

Joshua Tree was established as a National Monument in 1936 when President Franklin Roosevelt signed a proclamation protecting this part of the desert. In 1994, under the California Desert Protection Act, the monument became a National Park. Joshua Tree National Park contains about 800,000 acres of unspoiled desert including the Mojave or high desert and the Colorado or low desert. Humans have lived in this area for about 10,000 years. In order to plan our trip, I read several guide books, talked to friends who had been and most importantly we stopped at the Visitor’s Center to learn from the Rangers.

DAY ONE in Joshua Tree:

Our first adventure was to 49 Palms Oasis.

Fortynine Palms Oasis is one of Joshua Tree National Park’s desert oases. Located in the northern portion of the park, this oasis provides a refuge among the desert mountains. By providing a reliable source of water, this little oasis allows life to thrive in this seemingly harsh environment. The oasis is reachable by the Fortynine Palms Oasis Trail, a three mile out and back hike with 300 feet elevation gain in each direction. The trail is on compact dirt with an average grade of 8% and max grade of 27%.” We loved this trail and did not find it too challenging. Bring plenty of water and look for the lizards! I took so many videos, our hike is in three parts!

Split Rock to Skull Rock

Driving in Joshua Tree

Watching the climbers at Quail Springs

Sunset at Joshua Tree Day 1

We traveled in a 2022 Genesis GV70 which we LOVED!

We ate at The Rib Co

DAY TWO: Joshua Tree Hiking

Arch Rock:

Arch Rock is a short 1.4 mile hike to 100 feet elevation gain to an arch!

Heart Rock

One of the Park Rangers told us NOT to miss Heart Rock. They have newly added signs to point you in the right direction from the Arch Rock Trail. We loved it! Teenager approved!

Cholla Cactus Garden

“Approximately 12 miles (20 km) south of the park’s north entrance is the 0.25 mile (0.4 km) Cholla Cactus Garden Nature Trail; this flat loop leads hikers through nearly 10 acres (4 hectares) of landscape dominated by the teddybear cholla. This unusual stand of cacti is located in the Pinto Basin, a large expanse of alluvial fans covered with creosote bush (Larrea tridentata) and burrobush (Ambrosia dumosa) for as far as the eye can see. There are very few teddybear cholla stands in the park.”

We were surprised by how many cactus were here. I would love to go back when they have more flowers.

Keys View

Many people go to Keys View for sunset but we were told to go to Quail Springs for sunset and Keys view earlier in the day to see the San Andreas Fault! You can also see the crest of the Little San Bernardino Mountains, panoramic views of the Coachella Valley and on a clear day Signal Mountain in Mexico.

Barker Dam Trail

“Barker Dam Trail is an easy 1.1 mile loop. Wander through Joshua Tree’s iconic monzogranite boulders, namesake Joshua trees, and past the historic Barker Dam. Visit a rock art site and experience human history from a respectful distance.

REMEMBER: It is HOT In the DESERT especially during summer months. Temperatures in the desert can reach over 100°F (38°C). This trail has minimal shade. Park staff recommend wearing sun protection and drinking at least one liter of water. Wear footwear for rock scrambling and climbing.

The Joshua Trees made me think of something out of a Dr. Seuss book. They are actually tree-sized Yuccas plants. I absolutely LOVED my first visit to this spectacular National Park and will definitely visit again.

Enjoy all THIRTY VIDEOS from our road trip in February 2022:

Thank you to Julia, Eva and Alessio for the AMAZING road trip adventure! Thank you so much to Genesis 2022 GV70! We loved our road trip! Want to see our trip to Death Valley? CLICK HERE For that trip we had a 2021 Genesis G80! Coming soon–Pioneertown, Outdoor Art Museum and Palm Springs Art and Escape Room!

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. She is the founder of the website WeSaidGoTravel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. Niver is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, Inc. With more than 150,000 followers across social media, she has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on Twitter and listed on IMDb, and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. You can find Lisa Niver talking travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, Satellite Media Tours, The Jet Set TV and Orbitz travel webisodes as well as her YouTube channel, where her WeSaidGoTravel videos have over 1.6 million views. After three months on TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels and YouTube Shorts, she had over 500,000 (1/2 million) views. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors and been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She has been a judge for the Gracie Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media, and has run 15 travel competitions on her website, publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty times.   Niver has published more than 2000 articles, in more than three dozen magazines and journals including National Geographic, Wired, Teen Vogue, HuffPost Personal, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, AAA Explorer Magazine, American Airways, Delta Sky, enRoute (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, BuzzFeed, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, USA Today, TODAY, Wharton Magazine, and Yahoo. Awards National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards 2021 Winner: Book Critic: Ms. Magazine “Untamed: Brave Means Living From the Inside Out” 2019 Winner: Soft News Feature for Film/TV: KTLA TV “Oscars Countdown to Gold with Lisa Niver” 2019 Finalist for: Soft News, Business/Music/Tech/Art Southern California Journalism Awards 2022 Finalist: Book Criticism 2021 Winner: Technology Reporting 2021 Finalist: Book Criticism 2020 Winner: Print Magazine Feature: Hemispheres Magazine, “Painter by the Numbers, Rembrandt” 2020 Finalist: Online Journalist of the Year, Activism Journalism, Educational Reporting, Broadcast Lifestyle Feature 2019 Finalist: Broadcast Television Lifestyle Segment for “Ogden Ski Getaway” 2018 Finalist: Science/Technology Reporting, Travel Reporting, Personality Profile 2017 Winner: Print Column “A Journey to Freedom over Three Passovers” Social Media Presence YouTube Channel: We Said Go Travel (1.6 million views) Short form video:TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels, YouTube Shorts Twitter: lisaniver (90,000 followers) Instagram: lisaniver (24,000 followers) Pinterest: We Said Go Travel (20,000 followers and over 70,000 monthly views) Facebook: lisa.niver (5,000 followers); We Said Go Travel (3,000 followers) LinkedIn: lisaellenniver (9000 contacts)

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