Hiking in Joshua Tree National Park

After Palm Springs, I spotted another sign on the road that interest me. I did a little bit of research, found a decent price hotel, and off I went to 29 Palms.

I got there at night, perfect timing actually. Palm Springs was so good, Joshua Tree was very promising, and Rommel was just pumped up ready to do something but was getting eaten by boredom.

I remedied that with a relaxing, feel-good undertaking …

Drive-In Theater

A blast from the past, very cool Drive-In Theater! I got me a popcorn, nachos and soda, and was just eating and sitting at the comfort of my car. It sounds low but it really was just awesome experience to me. I mean, you don’t have to worry about cellphone ringing, muttering voices, people standing up for nature calls and tugging feet at the back of your chair.

Ow, I also found this on the way to 29 Palms…

Sonic in California

America’s Drive-In. Weee!Two Drive-In,’s sweet! I miss this so much.
i used to go here all the time when I was in Mississippi. Basically, for those who are not acquainted, this is Southerners’ pride Fast Food where you can park your car, get your order, stay there because they bring your food to your car so you just sit back and relax, and eat! I got me a grilled cheese sandwich, a hotdog, their tots and a slush. Exactly the signature Sonic meal.

Do check out my post on the Jumbo Rocks in Joshua Tree National Park

Continuing on …

Being a mecca for all things outdoorsy including numerous hiking trails, Joshua Tree National Parks, to me, is an instant addition to my list of Absolute Musts.

Cholla Cactus Garden

First off was a quick stroll with these interesting kind of cactus …


It was cool because there’s a garden of these Cholla cacti. But then, one spool of spines clung to my jacket and poked me. It was so hard to detach it without any gloves. That’s all I’m gonna say :D..

Skull Rock Trail

I was confused with this trail. I didn’t think I followed the trail. I stayed around because the entrance area alone is already magnificent, and fun! There were people going up the rocks, jumping from one rock to another, ducking in between rocks, and just reeling in the fascination of these rocks…


Clever of them to call this Skull Rock Trail.

There’s a cool guy who posed for the camera…


Unto the Wall Street Mill Trail I went on…

At the edge of the Wonderland of Rocks sits the Wall Street Mill, a finest example of gold processing mill remaining in the park. This trail shows what’s left during the second gold rush which happened here – the mill, dilapidated buildings, windmill, and some awesome old cars.

Last Call..
At times I get frustrated when a pamphlet would tell you that you can see these species and flowers that a lot of times, in reality, are actually hard to come by. Well, after coming back from this 2-mile round hike, I spotted this bird. 🙂

I even sushed some people, not to startle the bird so I can capture it. 😀

I always envy those who hike farther and more regularly, esp. RV’ers. I guess with Joshua Tree National Park, i found myself extremely content having gone to a RV-type, kind of location. 🙂 And eventhough I resulted to shorter hikes, as I always do, it’s just not at all hard to love Joshua Tree National Park. Driving there alone, seeing the magnificent rock formations is already a bliss.


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73 replies »

  1. Wow. Thank you for the praise! Great shots of Joshua Tree! Skull rock is pretty cool, right? You picked the right time of year to go – before it gets too hot, but the weather warming up enough so the Cholla are blooming. Great stuff!

      • Grew up in Ridgecrest, CA. Between Mojave and the middle of nowhere. The billboard on the 395 that lets people know they are getting close to a pull off if the want a break says, “Visit Ridgecrest, The Gateway to Death Valley.” That pretty much says it all…

        • I see, I see. Been to one of the rest stops somewhere in Mojave area when we were driving to Vegas. I badly wanna go Death Valley soon. I’m really contemplating hard on it.

  2. I’ve been wanting to visit Joshua Tree for the longest time. Your images have convinced me I *must* make the trip! Enjoyed every one of them – simply gorgeous! P.S. Carry a comb, tape, tweezers, pliers, etc., to pull out those flippin’ cholla barbs. Oooh, they are nasty!

  3. Rommel – Drive-in (movie and eatery) and a trek in Joshua. Sounds and looks like you had a pretty exciting weekend. Great shots of the natural beauty one finds in the dessert. Nicely done. Where are you off to next?

    • You are like the fifth person who asked me that on the blog this week. I want to go to Death Valley, but it’s not very likely because of work. Then, I have duty this weekend too. 😦

  4. YOu know don’t you? and you’re doing it on purpose! the Joshua Tree is number one on my US bucket list but I’ll probably never get there. Oh well at least you’ve shown me a bit more 🙂

  5. Rommel…is that your first name? You had a pretty neat experience again. Can I say JELLY over here…again!!! I cannot wait to get back to SoCal and explore again. You have inspired me

  6. One of my favourite places. I couldn’t stop taking photos when I was there. Thanks for reminding me of its beauty.

  7. I love this post Rommel. Drive-in-food, Joshua trees, cholla cacti, amazing skull rocks, old mill and a lovely blue bird; a smorgasbord of subjects. It’s not just your photography, it’s your wonderful enthusiasm for life and exploration that grabs your readers, and makes us feel like we’re there with you!

  8. Fantastic post again, Rommel. Skull Rock is really scary! 😯 Ouch…..those cacti prickles look really lethal! What a beautiful bird to end off with. Joshua Tree sounds like a wonderful place to visit. Thanks so much for sharing.

  9. We didn’t get to spend as much time at Joshua Tree as we would have liked so I really enjoyed the hikes you took me on and the fabulous photos, particularly the one of the little bird. I don’t think it matters how long the hike, just that you get out and experience nature at her finest. 🙂

  10. Thanks for the tour of the Joshua Tree Park! Looks pretty rocky, probably not an easy hiking trail. Glad the cool guy let you post the photo 😀 Love the blue bird shot. Happy Friday, Rommel!

  11. In my neck of the woods, pretty much all of the drive in theatres are gone. Eroded away by the gargantuan, impressively high tech but discustingly overpriced Famous Players IMAX Multiplex Cinemas.

    I feel priviledged to be of a generation that remembers what it was like to go to a drive-in in my childhood.

    • I know. I don’t understand why drive in theater became a dead business. Well, I’m glad I get to relive a part of your childhood past. 😉

  12. wicked photos! and so cool that you found a drive in, they’re all shut down bar one in QLD, Australia and it SUCKS! Drive in movies are one of my all time favourite things to do and memories I have of my childhood. Great post 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment and visit, Sally.
      How I wish we have a Drive-In theater close to where I live. They have a Movies Under the Stars event here but it only happens annually.

  13. Just today we made plans to visit Joshua Tree again. It’s been a couple of years, and my son is getting married there this fall, so we’re spending time finding the best photo spots! Your wonderful photos are so well-timed! 🙂 I need to get there soon while the weather is mild–pretty soon it will be too hot for my comfort! LOL! Like the beautiful blue bird, too! 🙂

  14. I was always amazed at drive in movies…found it so cool. Did you knw we once had that here in the harrison plaza area in manila? Was a tiny kid then though. => what a wonderful adventure! I love how you just “go” in life!

    • With Philippines, I understand why it’s a dead business. It’s a country of commuting people. And … there’d be trust issue with the locals ruining the place.

  15. More nice rocks! Loved the bird, too. And the drive-in…I wish I could try that with the Beloved…

  16. Oh my this post is a visual feast Rommel!
    That skull rock is so eerie! The cool dude certainly knows how to click great pictures 🙂

  17. First, how did you know he’s a cool guy? 😀 hahahah…. Second, you must find a travel mate and ahem mate, hahahah (again). Third, Great of you for sharing these photos, just when I am contemplating where to go between Joshua Tree & San Diego for when the spring break comes. So, what do you say?

    • He’s a cool guy, alright! You can just look at him and approve. 😀 I always “try” to find travel mate. I know people in LA and San Diego. In San Diego, I know a lot, so I don’t have to worry about getting a hotel. 😀
      Go to both locations! 😀

  18. totally love your Rommel kind of day…from the i-don’t-know-why-it-would-be-low 🙂 sitting in the Drive In Theater, the signature Sonic meal and the exercise to burn off all the calories. whew! oh, and love the cool dude between the rocks and your featured blogger, DJM. ♥

      • *smiling* he was over here and i mentioned to him how i see similar upbeat attitudes between you and him. 🙂
        thanks, Rommel. you inspire great things to happen. ♥

  19. Some very nice images there Rommel – I love the Cholla against the pinky-blue sky especially 🙂 The old goldmine looks like a treasure store in itself!

  20. That’s another place I’d like to visit! Oh, so many places on my wish list.
    I love that Western Scrub Jay! We have regulars that visit us almost daily, and this is the third season for one of them. I can tell because he has a deformed leg and easy to recognize.

  21. Wonderful photos of Joshua Tree National Park. They make me want to visit there! I love the photo of Sonic. When I was doing hurricane relief work in Mississippi, there was a Sonic around the corner from where I was staying, and my group went all the time because we thought it was so cool! Drive-in’s did not really exist at the time in northern-Ohio.

  22. That was neat, how you shot the jay looking back so his beak and the cactus spikes are going opposite directions. And love the large joshua tree at sunset!

  23. Love your photos, especially the Scrub Jay. My book shows that it is a Western Scrub Jay. Would love to add that to my list. Thanks for sharing your trip to Joshua Tree.

  24. Sigh! Just think how restless I could be there, Rommel! 🙂
    Such an incredible place and your photos are magnificent! I even quite liked that guy you got to pose 🙂 🙂

  25. My husband and the men from church love going there. They’re due back next month. Really great shots. Those old cars wouldn’t look so interesting and artsy if I tried shooting them ha ha ha. That is such a beautiful bird you captured. Wish I had your magic eye.

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