Skip to Main Content
California

Hiking the High Desert: Joshua Tree National Park

Program No. 20819GS12
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.

Enroll with Confidence

We want your Road Scholar learning adventure to be something to look forward to—not worry about. Learn more

Protecting the Environment

We offset a portion of the emissions created by your travel. Learn more

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 6.8 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 -3 liter 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 13 to 24 participants.

What You'll Learn

  • 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.”
  • Hike the “Indian Canyons” in the Palm Springs area 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 trip experts
Profile Image
Stewart Lasseter
Stewart Lasseter completed studies in geo-science, natural history and Spanish at the University of Arizona. He then studied as the protégé 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
Stewart Lasseter completed studies in geo-science, natural history and Spanish at the University of Arizona. He then studied as the protégé 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 Mike Young
Mike Young View biography
Mike Young has lived in Arizona for 40 years, and taught math and geology at Yavapai College prior to his work with Road Scholar. To convey the Arizona landscape, Mike uses a broad range of topics including botany, natural history, and geomorphology. He has worked as a commercial boatman, designed and constructed his own home, and conducted field exercises throughout the intermountain West. He is an accomplished hike leader who inspires hikers of all skill levels.
Profile Image of Thomas Combrink
Thomas Combrink View biography
Thomas Combrink was born in South Africa and, as a child, lived in Zambia and Zimbabwe where his father was a British government land surveyor. In the bush with his parents, he gained an appreciation and love for the natural world. Thomas earned degrees from Texas A&M (Park & Recreation Resource Management) and Michigan State University (Agricultural Economics). He retired from Northern Arizona University with research in applied economics and tourism. Living in Flagstaff for 32 years, he has explored much of the Colorado Plateau.
Profile Image of Renee Brown
Renee Brown View biography
Renee Brown received her B.A. in social science with an emphasis on history, political science, and sociology from Chapman University in 2008. Formerly a journalist and educator, she is now the associate curator and archivist at the Palm Springs Historical Society. She is a lifelong resident of Palm Springs and loves to tell the stories of the people who built the city.
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.





Recommended For You