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.
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, Intros & Welcome Dinner
Desert Hot Springs, CA
D
Miracle Springs Resort & Spa

Afternoon: Hotel Check in by 4:00 p.m. 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 p.m. Thank you for your understanding. Northern Arizona University Road Scholar program registration at 5:00 - 5:30 p.m. 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. We will hike as one group throughout the week with a hike leader in the front and a sweep towards the rear. 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 a buffet in the Miracle Springs Resort meeting room. 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 Joshua Tree National Park
Desert Hot Springs, CA
B,L,D
Miracle Springs Resort & Spa

Activity note: Driving time to Joshua Tree NP - 1 hour. Mileage for today's hike will vary (4 - 7 miles) depending on the terrain and route taken. Time in the field approximately 6 hours. The Wonderland of Rocks has few established trails much of our hike will be off-trail. There will be some rock scrambling and dry wash walking. Note: Participants will be required to carry a minimum of 2 quarts of water in their day pack for each hike.

Breakfast: Enjoy a buffet breakfast in the resort meeting room 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. Lunch assembly: after breakfast the group will assemble their own lunches. Participants will pre-order their choice of sandwiches each day and then add fruit, chips, cookies and other snack as desired.

Morning: oday we travel into Joshua Tree National Park for a hike in the "Wonderland of Rocks". Along with the Group Leaders expert commentary, today's hike will be a great introduction to the park and the Mojave Desert ecosystem as we go off the beaten path and through a maze of granitic outcrops. Encounters with and discussions about the famous Joshua Tree and Mojave Yucca are a given but we will also discuss in depth the geology and geography of the park. The sheer magnitude of the geologic backdrop of the park which is a jumble of monzogranite boulder fields often surprised the first time visitor the most.

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 in the hotel meeting room, 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 Tram
Desert Hot Springs, CA
B,L,D
Miracle Springs Resort & Spa

Activity note: Hike #1 - Driving time to the Indian Canyons - 30 minutes. The Palm Canyons hike will be on established trails. Hike length will be 4 miles (approximately 2.5 hours) with an elevation gain of 400 feet. Hike #2 - Drive to PS Tram (20 minutes) At the top of the Palm Springs Tram we will be hiking at an elevation of over 8,000 feet. Long Valley hike mileage approximately 1.5 miles (1 hour). Note: there may be seasonal snow present at higher elevation which will influence total distance hiked.

Breakfast: Enjoy breakfast at the resort.

Morning: The group will be hiking at two locations today. We will hike at the Indian Canyons in the morning and at the Top of the Palm Springs Aerial Tram (San Jacinto State Park) in the afternoon. 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 on the Victor trail along the rim of Palm Canyon. Diverse Sonoran Desert vegetation and scenic overlooks make this a popular hike. After 2.5 miles, the Victor Trail descends to the head of Palm Canyon where the group will hike along the canyon floor back to the Visitor Center. Spectacular Palm Canyon is where the largest oasis in the world of the California Palm tree are found. The canyon is cool and mostly shady and follows a stream which often still has pools and springs well into late spring.

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 the Miracle Springs Resort.

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

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

Activity note: Mileage for today's hike will vary (4 - 6.5 miles) depending on the terrain and route taken, group ability and interest. Time in the field approximately 6 hours.

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. Hike destinations for the day may include The Maze/North View Trail, Fortynine Palms Canyon Trail, Pine City, Ryan Mountain and Morongo Preserve 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 on your own. Tonight we will take participants to the "Palm Springs VillageFest'. Transportation will be provided on this evening to and from downtown Palm Springs. This weekly street fair is consistently voted as Palm Springs number one community event featuring arts, crafts, food, and entertainment! The street fair offers a large variety of meal options.Your coordinator will provide dining suggestions to various eating venues in the area. 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
5
Instructor's Choice Hike
Desert Hot Springs, CA
B,L,D
Miracle Springs Resort & Spa

Activity note: Hike at Coachella Valley location. Average time to trail head is one hour. To insure that the group is prepared for today's hike - the Group Leader will brief the group as to the exact hike location, trail conditions, environmental concerns and gear requirements the evening before.

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: Dinner will be at a local Mexican restaurant. A wide variety of Mexican plated entrees available off of a group menu. Chips and salsa, water, ice tea, sodas and coffee included. Alcoholic beverages available for purchase from your server.

Evening: Program wrap up and reflections on the week.

DAY
6
Departures after breakfast
Departures
B

Breakfast: Enjoy a breakfast buffet at the resort.

Morning: Program concludes at 8:30 AM. The 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. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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