Search This Blog

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Skull Rock - Joshua Tree National Park, California

One thing I really wanted to do while in LA was, in fact, leave LA and drive nearly three hours to the nearest National Park, Joshua Tree.  As I mentioned in my last post I wanted to see California but I really had zero interest in LA or your typical city/touristy sights (no Hollywood Sign or Beverly Hills for me).  

Any chance I have to visit a National Park I jump on it.  One of the first things I did when I planned my California Trip was to see the closest National Park to LAX and Joshua Tree won the ticket.  Joshua Tree isn't the most glamorous of National Parks but for all the desert lovers out there (yep, that's a thing) it is a fantastic park.  From the famous Dr. Suess like Joshua Trees to spectacular hikes and rock formations, Joshua Tree National Park deserves at least a day in your Southern California Itinerary.  I am working on a "24 hours in Joshua Tree" post but for now, I wanted to post about my favorite stops, sights, and hikes within the park.  

First post is probably one of the easiest to access and see.  It isn't the most exciting aspect of the park but it's "right off the road" access makes it a popular stop for all different kinds of visitors.  Quick stop, photo op, scramble around the rocks or take a quick walk on the trail.  

If you have a bunch of non-hikers in your group, this is the perfect place to get out, see Joshua Tree and stretch your legs without having to travel too far.  Skull Rock is viewable right from the road.  You can park your car, walk 20 feet and you are right there at Skull Rock- this isn't something you even have to hike to see.  You can get up close to the rock (we determined it looked like a monkey skull and have re named) and spend some time exploring the rest of the area.  There are large boulders and rocks which are fun to walk around and explore.  This is also a popular area for kids to explore among the rocks.   The rocks are very grippy and traction is not an issue.  As cool as skull rock was, we really enjoyed hopping around the other boulders and rock formations in the area.  

"Rock in this area began as liquid molten deep below the earth's surface. Continuously heated by movements in the Earth's crust, this molten oozed upward and cooled while still below the surface. Subsequent surface layer erosion exposed the rock, a form of granite called Monzogranite". Source 

Skull Rock Loop Hike  (1.7 miles round trip)
If you want a little more from the area, you can follow the 1.7 (round trip) mile "Skull Rock Nature Trail".  It is an easy flat loop hike that is good for families.  You can park at the campground at or skull rock and follow the loop around to see the rock formations and various wildflowers.  The loop can be started from several points along Park Boulevard and within the Jumbo Rocks Campground.  The trail is reportedly a little confusing to follow and it does pass through Jumbo Rocks Campground.  Trail description can be found HERE.  Note: Dogs are not allowed on this trail (or any trail!) in Joshua Tree.  Pets may go no more than 100 feet (30.5 m) from any road, picnic area, or campground- they are not allowed on trails or in the backcountry. More about the JTNP dog policy HERE.

You won't spend the whole day here, but this is a great quick stop off the main road through the park.  Stop to stretch your legs, take a few photos and lets the kids run around before getting back in the car.  While I wouldn't go out of my way to visit skull rock, if you are driving through the park, it is a great stop to stretch your legs.  We drove the length of the park (south to north) and appreciated the stop along the way.  Check back in next week for my park favorites, Cholla Cactus Garden and my hike to the summit of Ryan Mountain, the highest point in the park. 

Happy Hiking,

No comments :

Post a Comment

Let's Chat!