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20819
California

Hiking the High Desert: Joshua Tree National Park

Fulfill a dream and come to the Mojave Desert and Joshua Tree National Park, where you’ll hike amongst spectacular canyons, palm oases, towering boulders and a Joshua Tree forest.
Rating (4.82)
Program No. 20819RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,349
California

Hiking the High Desert: Joshua Tree National Park

Fulfill a dream and come to the Mojave Desert and Joshua Tree National Park, where you’ll hike amongst spectacular canyons, palm oases, towering boulders and a Joshua Tree forest.
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,349
Program No. 20819 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
Plan ahead.
What kind of weather can you expect? Take a look!
itinerary
Please Note:
The itinerary for this program is different on certain dates.
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Nov 2 - Nov 7, 2021
Starting at
1,349
Nov 7 - Nov 12, 2021
Starting at
1,599
Itinerary Note

This date stays at the Hyatt Palm Springs, an upgraded property, centrally located in the downtown area.

Nov 12 - Nov 17, 2021
Starting at
1,349
Itinerary Note

On this departure, independent exploration in Palm Springs will replace Palm Springs Street Fair event.

Feb 13 - Feb 18, 2022
Starting at
1,399
Feb 21 - Feb 26, 2022
Starting at
1,599
Itinerary Note

This date stays at the Hyatt Palm Springs, an upgraded property, centrally located in the downtown area.

Mar 1 - Mar 6, 2022
Starting at
1,399
Mar 6 - Mar 11, 2022
Starting at
1,399
Nov 1 - Nov 6, 2022
Starting at
1,599
Itinerary Note

This date stays at the Hyatt Palm Springs, an upgraded property, centrally located in the downtown area.

Nov 6 - Nov 11, 2022
Starting at
1,399
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Nov 2 - Nov 7, 2021
Starting at
1,629
Nov 7 - Nov 12, 2021
Starting at
2,079
Itinerary Note

This date stays at the Hyatt Palm Springs, an upgraded property, centrally located in the downtown area.

Nov 12 - Nov 17, 2021
Starting at
1,629
Itinerary Note

On this departure, independent exploration in Palm Springs will replace Palm Springs Street Fair event.

Feb 13 - Feb 18, 2022
Starting at
1,659
Feb 21 - Feb 26, 2022
Starting at
2,059
Itinerary Note

This date stays at the Hyatt Palm Springs, an upgraded property, centrally located in the downtown area.

Mar 1 - Mar 6, 2022
Starting at
1,659
Mar 6 - Mar 11, 2022
Starting at
1,659
Nov 1 - Nov 6, 2022
Starting at
2,059
Itinerary Note

This date stays at the Hyatt Palm Springs, an upgraded property, centrally located in the downtown area.

Nov 6 - Nov 11, 2022
Starting at
1,659

At a Glance

Hiking in Joshua Tree National Park and the desert surrounding Palm Springs is an opportunity not to be missed. Famous for the other-worldly Joshua Tree and geologic formations that attract elite rock climbers, the park is a desert lover’s paradise where the Sonoran and Mojave deserts meet. In the Palm Springs area hike to palm oases where water brings abundance and has created the largest density of California palm trees in the world. Ride the thrilling Palm Springs Aerial Tram for sweeping views of the Coachella Valley, the San Andreas fault zone and distant desert peaks.
Activity Level
Outdoor: Spirited
Hiking up to 6.5 miles daily on varied terrain including sandy washes and rocky, established trails with loose footing; Some spots with passage of one person at a time; Some rock scrambling and use of hands required to navigate terrain and ladders; Elevation changes of 500-1,000 ft. on hikes; Seasonal shallow stream crossings and snow. Elevations of 4,500-8,500 feet. Participants will be required to carry a minimum of 2 quarts of water on hikes.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Learn about the unique natural history and human cultures of this desert region from expert naturalists.
  • Explore Joshua Tree National Park including the granitic maze known as the “Wonderland of Rocks.”
  • In the Palm Springs area, hike the Agua Caliente Tribe’s “Indian Canyons” and explore San Jacinto State Park, accessed by the aerial tramway.

General Notes

Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Stewart Lasseter
After completing studies in geo-science, natural history and Spanish at the University of Arizona, Stewart Lasseter studied as the protege of a Native American healer, learning from her practices of wholeness, kinesiology, mind-body medicine and dyslexia correction. He has years of experience bringing groups in touch with the natural world, and has completed post-graduate studies in health sciences at Prescott College.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Stewart Lasseter
Stewart Lasseter View biography
After completing studies in geo-science, natural history and Spanish at the University of Arizona, Stewart Lasseter studied as the protege of a Native American healer, learning from her practices of wholeness, kinesiology, mind-body medicine and dyslexia correction. He has years of experience bringing groups in touch with the natural world, and has completed post-graduate studies in health sciences at Prescott College.
Profile Image of Shane Farnor
Shane Farnor View biography
Shane grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of East Tennessee on forested trails and alongside rushing trout streams. After obtaining a degree in forestry (with an emphasis in wildland recreation) from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Shane began a career in naturalism that took him to Tennessee state parks, Nashville and Seattle. He then spent 15 years with the National Parks Conservation Association. When not out exploring national parks and other destinations, Shane can be found back at home in sunny Joshua Tree, California.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Joshua Tree: The Complete Guide: Joshua Tree National Park
by Kaiser, James
Stunning photographs showcase the wondrous landscape of Joshua Tree National Park in this unique guidebook. Joshua Tree National Park is a desert getaway that boasts some of the most dramatic and unexpected scenery in the Southwest. This edition features updated information, as well as a newly expanded section on the geology of the park. Fascinating chapters discuss the park's history, geology, and wildlife along with a guide to desert wildflowers and maps of more than 20 of the best hikes in the park. An indispensable guide for outdoor enthusiasts, rock climbers, and vacationing families on a budget, this beautiful guidebook will enhance any traveler's collection.
Unquenchable: America's Water Crisis
by Glennon, Robert
In the middle of the Mojave Desert, Las Vegas casinos use billions of gallons of water for fountains, pirate lagoons, wave machines, and indoor canals. Meanwhile, the town of Orme, Tennessee, must truck in water from Alabama because it has literally run out. Robert Glennon captures the irony—and tragedy—of America’s water crisis in a book that is both frightening and wickedly comical. Unquenchable reveals the heady extravagances and everyday inefficiencies that are sucking the nation dry.
Palm Springs: The Landscape, the History, the Lore
by Churchwell, Mary Jo
Mary Jo Churchwell depicts the desert community of Palm Springs over the last 150 years, reveling in eccentric anecdotes and inspiring landscapes. With equal doses of history, nature and personal reflection.
Joshua Tree: Desolation Tango
by Deanne Stillman
This book captures, remarkably, the mystery and beauty of this special park. Deanne Stillman's text is beautiful, understated and precise. Galen Hunt's photographs are truly artful. This is great introduction to one the most special places on Earth. It's a poetic document along with excellent photographs. This tribute reveals the landscape of a startling country whose visa requirements are resolute inquisitiveness, an active imagination, and simple curiosity.
Desert Solitaire
by Edward Abbey
Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire, the noted author's most enduring nonfiction work, is an account of Abbey's seasons as a ranger at Arches National Park outside Moab, Utah. Abbey reflects on the nature of the Colorado Plateau desert, on the condition of our remaining wilderness, and on the future of a civilization that cannot reconcile itself to living in the natural world.
A Natural History of the Sonoran Desert
by Patricia Wentworth Comus (Editor)
"Once in a generation, a guide to understanding a major North American landscape comes along. This book is such a touchstone, sure to become a classic. The emphasis here is on biodiversity, mutualism, co-evolution, and, especially, ethno-relationships—the long history of connection between desert peoples and their homeland, on both sides of the border.
Desert Lore of Southern California
by Pepper, Choral
Renowned western writer and former Publisher of Desert Magazine, author Choral Pepper evokes the mystery and magic of southern California's desert, spinning tales of lost mines, Indian myths, legendary characters and strange natural features. She enable the explorer to experience the stories beyond the vistas along byways and trails from the Palm Springs area to the Salton Sea, down the Colorado River, and through the desert parks from Joshua Tree to Anza-Borrego.
The Desert Smells Like Rain
by Nabhan, Gary Paul
Longtime residents of the Sonoran Desert, the Tohono O’odham people have spent centuries living off the land – a land that most modern citizens of southern Arizona consider totally inhospitable. Ethnobotanist Gary Nabhan has lived with the Tohono O’odham, long known as the Papagos, observing the delicate balance between these people and their environment. Bringing O’odham voices to the page at every turn, he writes elegantly of how they husband scant water supplies, grow crops, and utilize edible foods. Woven through his account are coyote tales, O’odham children’s impressions of the desert, and observations on the political problems that come with living on both sides of an international border. 148 pp.
11 Reviews
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4.82 Average
(5)

Enjoyed this trip very much. Joshua Tree is a beautiful location and I learned a lot about the geology, plants, and nature of this park.

(5)

A fascinating area. The desert provides a lot of surprises and secrets. Well worth a visit.

(5)

This excellent program included four days of hiking in varied and beautiful scenery. We hiked in high deserts, among towering rocks, through slot canyon and a palm oasis, and even through several inches of snow high above Palm Springs. Our two guides, Shane and Stewart, eagerly shared their knowledge of the history, geology, and plant life of these amazing landscapes. Please remember that it is very important to carefully read the descriptions of the hikes, including elevation gain, distance, and terrain. – and then train accordingly. These hikes are not walks in the local park! A couple of them were definitely on the high end of the “Spirited” category. If you are prepared for sand, rocks, ladders, cacti, and even ladders, you will have a great time. The hotel was comfortable, and the food was good. The ice cold drinks at the end of each hike were a very welcomed extra treat. Although the program is only for 5 nights, there many other excellent hikes and sightseeing opportunities available in the Palm Springs area if you can stay for a few extra days. I have posted some pictures of our week at www.ellieknesper.smugmug.com.

(4)

Be sure to train well before hiking this program.

(5)

just a fantastic experience in a great area, major scenic views. perfectly organized and monitored by a very knowledgeable leader , Steward !

(5)

This is my second time participating in this program. I do recommend it. Unlike my first experience some years ago, this present one had optional hikes that were physically less challenging. Since my physical abilities changed after I sighed on, I very much appreciated these options. However, even these less demanding options greatly challenged a very few participants. Everyone needs to read the program description and call in if they have questions.

(4)

Beautiful Joshua trees!! Amazing rocks!! Lots of different cacti. The tram to the mountaintop was beautiful and exciting, as was the 6 inches of new snow at the top. The palm oasis was amazing. Great, but strenuous trip.

(5)

I enjoyed the diversity of the hiking in this program - palm trees, slot canyon, icy terrain, rocks. With the rock scrambling, icy conditions, etc. this is not just a walk in the park so come prepared to hike. Also, read the material that is sent ahead of time so that packs and water capacity are sufficient.

(5)

wonderful hikes in glorious desert scenery with two terrific guides.. loved it!

(5)

This trip in Joshua Tree National Park offered some great hikes with varied terrain and views. It was beautiful. Come prepared to do some vigorous hiking and enjoy the scenery. Palm Springs is a wonderful, upgraded location for this trip.

(5)

Loved the variety of the hikes and soaking in the heated pools at the end of the day. My perception of the Palm Springs area and southern California has changed.






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