20819
Joshua Tree National Park
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.
Program No. 20819RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,045
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 4 L 4 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Program Registration, Orientation, Introductions and Welcome Dinner
Desert Hot Springs, CA
D
Miracle Springs Resort & Spa

Afternoon: Hotel Check in by 4:00 PM. Rooms may be available earlier based upon demand. Note: Miracle Springs Resort strives to get guest into their rooms in a timely manner but busy weekends with multiple late check outs can challenge the staff to get all rooms ready before 4:00 pm. Thank you for your understanding. Northern Arizona University Road Scholar program registration at 4:30 - 5:15 pm. in the hotel meeting room. Meet your program coordinator and receive your program folder, name tag, the up to date schedule and other important information we will review during Orientation. Following the program registration your coordinator will conduct an in-depth program orientation, review the schedule and lead group introductions. Come prepare for an adventurous week of learning and new friends! Travel throughout the week travel will be in 10 passenger vans. Throughout the program, your naturalist Group Leader will describe and explain aspects such as geology, geography, human, and natural history as we pass though spectacular scenery. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances and weather. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: Dinner will be 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. Water, ice tea, lemonade, hot tea and coffee included. Alcoholic beverages available for purchase from the resort lounge.

Evening: Get settled in after dinner. This may be a perfect time to check out the resort pools!

DAY
2
Hike in Joshua Tree National Park
Desert Hot Springs, CA
B,L,D
Miracle Springs Resort & Spa

Activity note: Note: Participants will be required to carry a minimum of 2 quarts of water in their day pack for each hike. Mileage for today's hike will vary (4 - 7 miles) depending on the terrain encountered and route taken during the day. The Wonderland of Rocks has few established trails, so much of our hike will be off-trail. There will be some rock scrambling and dry wash walking. With explicit instructions and with assistance and advice your hike leaders will guide the group through any rocky areas.

Breakfast: Enjoy breakfast at the resort which includes a daily egg dish selections (for protein), potatoes and breakfast meat, oatmeal, toast and a selection of fresh fruit and juices and coffee.

Morning: Today we travel one hour into Joshua Tree National Park for a hike in the "Wonderland of Rocks". Today's hike will be a great introduction to the park as we go off the beaten path and through a 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 but for its granite boulders and long desert vistas.

Lunch: Sack lunches along the trail. A rotating selection of sandwiches, chips, fruit, cookie and drink throughout the week.

Afternoon: Continue hike, return to Miracle Springs in late afternoon. There will some sustained portions of the hike in sandy washes.

Dinner: Dinner will be at the Miracle Springs Resort.

Evening: Evening presentation on the human and natural history of the Cahuilla and Agua Caliente native people presented by exuberant naturalist Jona Kalayjian. Jona brings a treasure trove of desert materials and pictures to share with the group to bring her cultural and natural history stories to life.

DAY
3
Hiking Indian Palm Canyons, Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Desert Hot Springs, CA
B,L,D
Miracle Springs Resort & Spa

Activity note: The Palm Canyons hike will be on established trails and will be approximately 4 miles in length with an elevation change of 400 feet. At the top of the Palm Springs Tram we will be hiking at an elevation of over 8,000 feet. Note: mileage for today's hike will depend on the weather conditions at higher elevations.

Breakfast: Enjoy breakfast at the resort.

Morning: After breakfast, we depart for a hike in the Agua Caliente "Indian Canyons" just a couple of miles south of downtown Palm Springs. We will hike one of the rim trails as well as along the canyon floor. The highlight of the Indian Canyons is "Palm Canyon", where the largest oasis in the world of the California Palm tree is found. The Canyons are cool and mostly shady, filled with fan palms of all sizes next to a stream which still has pools and springs in mid summer.

Lunch: Sack lunches along the trail.

Afternoon: After lunch we will travel to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Once aboard, the "World’s Largest Rotating Tramcar", you will experience a breathtaking journey up the sheer cliffs of Chino Canyon. Begin the 10 minute ride at the Valley Station – elevation 2,643 ft. and end at the Mountain Station – elevation 8,516 ft. Once we depart the tram we will explore the pine clad environs of Mt. San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness area. We will hike the 1.5 miles Desert View trail among spectacular Jeffery Pine and White Fir trees. Enjoy sweeping vistas of the desert floor from lookout points.

Dinner: Dinner will be at South of the Border Mexican Restaurant. A favorite with locals and visitors alike. A wide variety of Mexican plated entrees available off of a group menu. Water, ice tea, sodas and coffee included. Alcoholic beverages available for purchase from your server.

Evening: Free Evening.

DAY
4
Hike Joshua Tree National Park
Desert Hot Springs, CA
B,L,D
Miracle Springs Resort & Spa

Activity note: Mileage for today's hike will vary (4 - 6.5 miles) depending on the terrain encountered and route taken during the day. The National Park has few established trails, so much of our hike will be off-trail. There will be some rock scrambling and dry wash walking. With explicit instructions and with assistance and advice your hike leaders will guide the group through any rocky areas.

Breakfast: Enjoy a breakfast buffet at the resort.

Morning: Today we head back to Joshua Tree National Park. The park encompasses 880,000 acres so there are plenty of areas to hike and explore. Destinations may include The Maze, Skull Rock , Pine City, Ryan Mountain or Lost Palms Oasis to name a few. The terrain encountered includes outcrops of granitic boulders rising from an undulating landscape of ridges, plateaus, small canyons and rocky washes. In spring, the dry washes are especially pretty as flowers grow in the smooth white sandy stream beds and intermingled with flowering red chuparosa and brittlebush.

Lunch: Sack lunches along the way.

Afternoon: Continue our hike.

Dinner: Dinner will be at the Miracle Springs Resort.

Evening: Enjoy and evening program. Subject will be dependent on the availability of local experts.

DAY
5
Instructor's Choice Hike
Desert Hot Springs, CA
B,L
Miracle Springs Resort & Spa

Breakfast: Enjoy a breakfast buffet at the resort.

Morning: NOTE: Unseasonable hot weather or extreme Santa Ana wind events are real possibility at any time of year. If present, these conditions will dictate the safer and more enjoyable hike locations for the group. Your group leaders will make the hike location determination based on the current weather forecast. There are many great destination hikes in the Coachella Valley that we may hike at including the Whitewater and Mission Creek Wildland Conservancy Preserves, the Coachella Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve, and surrounding San Bernardino National Forest locations to name a few. Weather permitting, we will highly consider traveling to the Mecca Hills for the Ladder and Painted Canyon Hike in the eastern Coachella Valley. Ladder Canyon is a true slot canyon that follows a narrow sinuous before gradually opening up to ridge top views. The trail continues down into Painted Canyon and loops back to the trail head. Fantastic geologic formations and wild multi-colored rocks make this hike a local favorite.

Lunch: Sack lunches along the trail.

Afternoon: Continue hike.

Dinner: Tonight dinner will be on your own. We will transport participants to the downtown Palm Springs area where participants will have the opportunity to walk around, look at shops if they desire, and choose a restaurant to their liking. A list of restaurant options will be provided at the beginning of the week should participants desire to book ahead.NOTE: the "Capri Restaurant" on site at the Miracle Springs Resort has a full dinner menu for those that do not wish to "go into town".

Evening: Enjoy the desert evening with a bit of browsing time before shuttle back to the hotel at a designated group departure time.

DAY
6
Departures after breakfast
Departures
B

Breakfast: Enjoy a breakfast buffet at the resort.

Morning: Departures after breakfast. The NAU Road Scholar van will depart at approximately 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.