I described my whole 3 day trip starting from Los Angeles here. I went from L.A. to Joshua Tree Nationalpark – Anza Borrego State Park – San Diego and back to L.A. – if you are interested in my route and plan check it out 🙂
I started driving early in the morning at around 6 am to not get stuck in the labor day traffic. My first stop of the day was the Joshua Tree Nationalpark! I really liked it – those Joshua Tree´s are really cool – but I liked the Cholla Cactus even more 🙂
I reached Joshua Tree Nationalpark at around 10 am and started with a little hike called “Hidden Valley”. It is an easy hike, that you could easily do in the summer months (it was really, really hot!).
The Hidden Valley trail is about 1 mile roundtrip and very easy. There are not many Joshua Tree´s on the way – but some cool spots to boulder and a lot of rocks – that makes the scenery quite different from the rest: I experienced Joshua Tree NP to be very wide and open.
I drove a bit further and stopped a few times on the way in one of the pullouts to take some pictures of the Joshua Tree´s 🙂
Afterwards I drove to Key´s View. You are able to walk around there a little bit and enjoy the wide view. By the time I went, there were a lot of bees – so be careful to walk slow and check your surroundings when getting out of the car.
My next stop was the Cholla Cactus Garden – and I fell completely in love with them: They look just so cute! I don´t even know, why I found them so cute, but somehow I just couldn´t stop taking pictures of them 🙂
Another warning: Be careful with them!!! They might look fluffy, but don´t try to tuch them! After my trip I did some research on this cactus, because I liked it so much and found out that there are several videos on Youtube showing how dangerous they are… It hurts only looking those videos!
The trail through the Cholla Cactus Garden is around 0.25 miles – it is a nice little walk through those Cholla Cacti. It was actually quite windy at that time of the day and in this area – wasn´t expecting that 😛
After spending some time at the Cholla Cactus Garden I made my way out of the Joshua Tree Nationalpark out of the south gate and made my way to Anza Borrego State Park. Just a heads up: There´s like absolutely nothing on the way! I finally found something to eat, shortly before Anza Borrego SP – so if you are a hungry person, that gets angry when having nothing to eat – take something with you for this trip!!! 😉
I came here and checked out the dirt roads – I wanted to decide in person wether I could handle this without a 4 wheel vehicle or not. I decided against driving to Font Point – but I still liked the surrounding. If you have time, check it out. There are also some commercial tour guides that could bring you onto the dirt roads. Check out the Badlands of Anza Borrego at google and see if it is worth to go on a commercial tour or rent out a 4 wheel vehicle. I will come back for that someday for sure! 😉
Anza Borrego State Park is absolutely far away from beeing touristy! There are no people at all. I saw 4 cars driving through, when I visited the State Park. If it wouldn´t have been that hot, I would have just walked the dirt roads.
This is what you get, when you are not able to drive or walk the dirt roads: Still liked the view, it is so quiet – you can only hear the wind – no cars, no people, no rush!
If you are coming further to the end of the park there will be some sand dunes on your right hand side – pull over! I found them to be quite cool and different from what I saw the rest of the day 🙂
The sand was glittering – and looked beautiful when the wind came through it and blew some of the sand.
My last stop of the day was San Diego – the drive from Anza Borrego was quite interesting! The scenery changed so quickly and everything went to green colours again – quite impressive how fast landscape and temperature can change…
I really enjoyed the combination of Joshua Tree Nationalpark and Anza Borrego Statepark. Next time I would take a 4 wheel vehicle for Anza Borrego State Park or take a commercial tour. Still it´s worth a visit, when you are in the area! When I told my colleagues in L.A. about Anza Borrego State Park, nobody seemed to know about this place, though it is so close to the city!