Our adventure begins in Palm Springs where we meet our guides and fellow travelers at our host hotel before setting out on our journey to Joshua Tree National Park. Our warmup hike provides a beautiful setting for a safety brief about desert hiking and proper backpack fitting. We’ll load our packs with water and hike to our cache—essential for the second leg of our expedition. Our campground is our next stop where we'll set-up camp and if desire, weather, and daylight are favorable, enjoy another short but fun adventure close to camp. After distributing group gear and a pack demonstration our guides prepare a delicious front-country meal while you relax and enjoy our desert home for the night. Lunch and dinner included.
Hiking: 3 miles; Elevation gain/loss: Minimal; Transfer: 2 hours.
After a hot breakfast we break camp, pack our backpacks, and depart for our trailhead. As we go deeper along this trail stacked with boulder fins, we keep our eyes peeled for wildlife such as big horn sheep and famous rock formations like Window Rock. We have opportunity to see flowering cacti, an array of wildflowers, and of course the park’s namesake, the Joshua tree. We'll stop at Keys Mountain to get warmed up for tomorrow’s scrambling, providing a little extra adventure and a panoramic view of the park we’ll be exploring over the next two days. We journey on until we find the perfect campsite among the towering rocks. After a short hike to reclaim our cache, our guides prepare an excellent backcountry dinner and we recount our day’s adventure and enjoy a beautiful Joshua Tree sunset with new friends. All meals included.
Backpacking: 8 miles; Elevation gain/loss: +414’/-627’.
Our day starts with the essentials—hot coffee and breakfast! With just our daypacks, our first destination is Willow Hole, a beautiful riparian area with seasonal water pools; this is our best opportunity to see wildlife. We'll picnic among the giant granite boulders that make up the Wonderland of Rocks before an adventurous option to scramble to an amazing vantage point overlooking Rattlesnake Canyon that our guides have affectionately named Pride Rock. Those looking for even more adventure, may have the chance to discover a hidden hideout from the 1930's known as Oh-Bay-Yo-Yo. While this scramble is the most challenging part of the trip, it is sure to be a highlight of your adventure. Using our gloves to protect our hands from the coarse nature of the rocks, expect scrambling up, down, over, and around huge boulders, some exposure, short leaps from one rock to another, and balancing with your feet and hands in contact with the rock. Your guides will be there to provide coaching and lend a helping hand when needed. Our skilled guides prepare another meal this evening as we await another star-filled night. All meals included.
Hiking: 7.5 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +320’/-420’; Optional rock scramble: 2+ hours, 1.5 miles.
We take the morning to enjoy camp and breakfast as a group and then start packing up camp in preparation for our last hike and our reluctant return to “reality”. Today’s hike takes us north up the Boy Scout Trail across an alluvial plain to Indian Cove where our van will be waiting for us. After enjoying a satisfying last lunch together, we head back to Palm Springs and our host hotel where we say our final goodbyes. We anticipate being back at the Courtyard Palm Springs Marriott at 4pm; however, this cannot be guaranteed. If you are flying out of Palm Springs on this day, we recommend not booking a flight that departs before 6pm. Breakfast and lunch included.
Backpacking: 6.5 miles; Elevation gain/loss: +150’/-1,200’.