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JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK, CALIFORNIA

Hiking the High Desert: Joshua Tree National Park

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Walking/Hiking

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Road Scholar
Program #20819RJ
6 Days | 5 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderately Challenging
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Elevation Note
4,500 to 6,000 feet

Itinerary for Mar 17 — Mar 22, 2013

Expand all
Type: Resort

Description: Eight pools are scattered around the property. The largest is kept at about 80 degrees. The smaller pools bubble and percolated at about 104 soothing degrees. All of the pools are fed directly from the mineral waters of Desert Hot Springs.

Contact info:
10625 Palm Dr
Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240 USA
phone: 760-251-6000
web: www.miraclesprings.com

Room amenities: Coffee/tea maker, hairdryer, iron and ironing board, microwave, refrigerator, telephone, and TV.

Facility amenities: A variety of massages, facials, body therapies and spa treatments in addition to the mineral water hot springs. Free WiFi.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day One: Sunday, March 17 - Orientation and Introductions
Afternoon: Check into the Miracle Springs Resort after 3:00PM. Program registration in hotel meeting room anytime between 4:30-5:15 PM.

Dinner: Dinner will be at the restaurant on site at Miracle Springs Resort. Dinners include fresh garden salad, sides of hot vegetable, rice or potatoes; and a nightly hot entrée including baked fish, mouthwatering roast beef or turkey. Vegetarian option will be available nightly.

Evening: Introductions and orientation in the hotel meeting room following dinner. Meet your fellow participants and get ready for the fun filled adventure that awaits.

Lodging: Miracle Springs Resort & Spa

Meals Included: Dinner
Type: Resort

Description: Eight pools are scattered around the property. The largest is kept at about 80 degrees. The smaller pools bubble and percolated at about 104 soothing degrees. All of the pools are fed directly from the mineral waters of Desert Hot Springs.

Contact info:
10625 Palm Dr
Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240 USA
phone: 760-251-6000
web: www.miraclesprings.com

Room amenities: Coffee/tea maker, hairdryer, iron and ironing board, microwave, refrigerator, telephone, and TV.

Facility amenities: A variety of massages, facials, body therapies and spa treatments in addition to the mineral water hot springs. Free WiFi.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Two: Monday, March 18 - Hike in Joshua Tree National Park.
Note: Mileage for today's hike will be approximately 7 miles in length with most sections of the trail well maintained and relatively flat. There will some sustained portions of the hike in sandy washes.

Breakfast: Enjoy a breakfast buffet at the resort which includes selections such as egg/croissant sandwich, waffles, oatmeal and a selection of cold cereal, fresh fruit and juices and coffee.

Morning: Please note: Hikes may vary from what is described based upon weather conditions or the hikes may be the same as described but in a different order. Today we head into Joshua Tree National Park for a hike into the parks "Wonderland of Rocks" maze of granitic outcrops. Spectacular is the only way to put it as we pass through all of the scenery that Joshua Tree National Park is known for, not only the famous yucca that the park is named after, but endless beautifully sculptured granite boulders and long desert vistas. Today's hike will be a great introduction to the park as we go off the beaten path to explore what makes Joshua Tree a jewel of our nations National Park System. Walk through a forest of the other-worldy Joshua Tree, marvel at the diversity of the parks cacti, hike around towering mountains of jumbled granite outcrops, and search for the perfect combination where it comes together in an oasis of bounty.

Lunch: Sack lunches along the trail.

Afternoon: Continue hike, return to Miracle Springs in late afternoon. Mileage for today's hike will be approximately 7 miles in length with most sections of the trail well maintained and relatively flat. There will some sustained portions of the hike in sandy washes.

Dinner: Dinner will be at the restaurant on site at Miracle Springs Resort.

Evening: Evening program on the Geology, Human History or Natural History of the area.

Lodging: Miracle Springs Resort & Spa

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Resort

Description: Eight pools are scattered around the property. The largest is kept at about 80 degrees. The smaller pools bubble and percolated at about 104 soothing degrees. All of the pools are fed directly from the mineral waters of Desert Hot Springs.

Contact info:
10625 Palm Dr
Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240 USA
phone: 760-251-6000
web: www.miraclesprings.com

Room amenities: Coffee/tea maker, hairdryer, iron and ironing board, microwave, refrigerator, telephone, and TV.

Facility amenities: A variety of massages, facials, body therapies and spa treatments in addition to the mineral water hot springs. Free WiFi.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Three: Tuesday, March 19 - Hiking in the "Indian Canyons" - Palm Canyon
Note: Today's hike will total approximately 7 miles with some unmaintained trails and mild rock scrambling. 1,500' in elevation change.

Breakfast: Enjoy a breakfast buffet at the resort which includes selections such as egg/croissant sandwich, waffles, oatmeal and a selection of cold cereal, fresh fruit and juices and coffee.

Morning: After breakfast, we depart for an all day hike into the "Indian Canyons" of the Coachella Valley, just a short drive from our hotel. The highlight of the Indian Canyons is "Palm Canyon", where the largest oasis in the world of the California Palm tree is found. Palm Canyon is quite magnificent. It is cool and mostly shady, filled with fan palms of all sizes next to a stream which still has pools and springs in mid summer. The trees rise up to 60 feet and have trunks 3 feet across. Other plants are found here, including reeds around the water, and willow & cottonwood trees on the slopes, though the palms dominate. Some small groups grow higher up the hillsides or along short side canyons, where underground water is available.

Lunch: Sack lunches along the trail.

Afternoon: Continue our hike. From Palm Canyon we will climb gradually for over 1500' to where we can link with Andreas Canyon and creek. As we climb we get views of Palm Springs and a noticeable change in vegetation. Today's hike will total approximately 7 miles with some unmaintained trails and mild rock scrambling.

Dinner: Dinner will be at the restaurant on site at Miracle Springs Resort.

Evening: Free evening..

Lodging: Miracle Springs Resort & Spa

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Resort

Description: Eight pools are scattered around the property. The largest is kept at about 80 degrees. The smaller pools bubble and percolated at about 104 soothing degrees. All of the pools are fed directly from the mineral waters of Desert Hot Springs.

Contact info:
10625 Palm Dr
Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240 USA
phone: 760-251-6000
web: www.miraclesprings.com

Room amenities: Coffee/tea maker, hairdryer, iron and ironing board, microwave, refrigerator, telephone, and TV.

Facility amenities: A variety of massages, facials, body therapies and spa treatments in addition to the mineral water hot springs. Free WiFi.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Four: Wednesday, March 20 - Hike in Joshua Tree National Park
Note: Mileage for today's hike will be approximately 7.5 miles in length with portions of the trail taking us through sandy washes, over rolling hills, and a few sections of short but steep hike ascents.

Breakfast: Enjoy a breakfast buffet at the resort which includes selections such as egg/croissant sandwich, waffles, oatmeal and a selection of cold cereal, fresh fruit and juices and coffee.

Morning: Today we head into Joshua Tree National Park for a hike to "Lost Palms Oasis". Discover a sheltered steep-sided ravine that conceals a flourishing group of over 100 California fan palm trees, one of only six such groves in the park. The surroundings are impressive from start to finish - many outcrops of the granitic boulders rise from an undulating landscape of ridges, plateaus, small canyons and rocky washes; between the rocks the ground is covered by coarse whitish sand through which cacti, bushes and wildflowers grow profusely - clean, pristine scenery. In spring, the dry washes are especially pretty as flowers grow in the smooth white sandy streambeds while many more line the edges, intermingled with flowering bushes; most visible of these are red chuparosa, yellow brittlebush and the blue-purple indigo bush. The main species of cacti are echinocereus, ferocactus (California barrel cactus), mammillaria, cholla and other types of opuntia.

Lunch: Sack lunches along the way.

Afternoon: After lunch, continue our hike. Mileage for today's hike will be approximately 7.5 miles in length with portions of the trail taking us through sandy washes, over rolling hills, and a few sections of short but steep hikes out of the canyon to enjoy magnificent views.

Dinner: Dinner will be at the restaurant on site at Miracle Springs Resort.

Evening: Evening program on the Geology, Human History or Natural History of the surrounding area.

Lodging: Miracle Springs Resort & Spa

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Resort

Description: Eight pools are scattered around the property. The largest is kept at about 80 degrees. The smaller pools bubble and percolated at about 104 soothing degrees. All of the pools are fed directly from the mineral waters of Desert Hot Springs.

Contact info:
10625 Palm Dr
Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240 USA
phone: 760-251-6000
web: www.miraclesprings.com

Room amenities: Coffee/tea maker, hairdryer, iron and ironing board, microwave, refrigerator, telephone, and TV.

Facility amenities: A variety of massages, facials, body therapies and spa treatments in addition to the mineral water hot springs. Free WiFi.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Check in time: 4:00 PM


Day Five: Thursday, March 21 - Hiking in the Mission Creek and Whitewater Preser...
Note: Total mileage today will be approximately seven miles with 600' of elevation gain.

Breakfast: Enjoy a breakfast buffet at the resort which includes selections such as egg/croissant sandwich, waffles, oatmeal and a selection of cold cereal, fresh fruit and juices and coffee.

Morning: Today we explore the "Mission Creek Preserve" and the "Whitewater Preserve", environments uniquely different from our other days explorations and offering grand views of towering Mt. Jacinto(elevation 10,800') and Mt. San Gorgonio (elevation 11,500') Located in a transition zone between the Sonoran and Mojave deserts, the 4760 acre Mission Creek Preserve has a rich species composition, with flora and fauna representing both deserts. Visitors are surprised to discover the center of the preserve is a lush wetlands juxtaposed with extensively eroded painted hills and Mount San Gorgonio looming in the background. The wetlands and perennial stream are important habitat the endangered least Bell's vireo and southwestern willow flycatcher. The preserve hosts deer, bear, big horn sheep and mountain lions and has spectacular displays of spring wildflowers in wet years. The preserve trail system leads onto the Pacific Crest Trail.

Lunch: Sack lunches along the trail.

Afternoon: Continue hike, returning to hotel in the afternoon. Total mileage today will be approximately seven miles with 600' of elevation gain during a steep one mile ascent to capture a beautiful view at the top of the ridge.

Dinner: Tonight we will take participants to the "Palm Springs VillageFest'. This weekly street fair is consistently voted as Palm Springs number one community event featuring arts, crafts, food, and entertainment! Tonight's dinner is not included in the program price as the street fair offers numerous opportunities for participants to try a large variety of meal options.

Evening: Enjoy the VillageFest and return to hotel by 8:00 PM.

Lodging: Miracle Springs Resort & Spa

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Day Six: Friday, March 22 - Departures after breakfast
Breakfast: Enjoy a breakfast buffet at the resort which includes selections such as egg/croissant sandwich, waffles, oatmeal and a selection of cold cereal, fresh fruit and juices and coffee.

Morning: Departures after breakfast. The NAU Road Scholar van will depart at 8:30 AM for any participants that want a free shuttle to the airport. For those that want to get to the airport prior to that or later, taxi service is available.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
5 nights of accommodations
13 meals: 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners
2 Expert-led lectures
4 Field trips

Ratings

4.8
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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