The name "Joshuatree" for the Palm tree originated from the Mormons who named it after Joshua, the successor of Moses. The arms of the tree have pointed the way to the promised land (Utah). Officially the plant is named "Yucca brevivolia" and belongs to the genus of asparagus plants. The main entrance of the "Joshuatree National Park" is located at "Twentynine Palms", approximately 230 km/144 miles east of Los Angeles. In the park there are two different desert regions, the "Mojave Desert" with the "Joshuatrees" and the "Colorado Desert" with the Cholla cactus.
The Palm Springs Cable Car takes you up Mount San Jacinto. The 3,302 m high peak is west of Palm Springs. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway rotates slowly on its own axis during the ascent. There are several restaurants and viewpoints on the summit plateau. Hiking trails into the wooded highlands start from the mountain station. If you don't want to walk through Mt. San Jacinto State Park alone, you can also do a guided nature walk. Due to the difference in altitude of around 3,000 m, the temperature on the mountain top is significantly cooler than in the hot desert city of Palm Springs. On the Palm Springs Tramway website (see link) you can check the weather on the summit beforehand.
Palm Springs is located about 160 km east of Los Angeles, in the Colorado Desert. This leads to the Joshuatree National Park and the San Jacinto Mountains. The city is a paradise for golfers, retirees and lovers of California architecture. Palm Springs became famous when many Hollywood stars moved to the Coachella Valley. The always sunny weather and the proximity to Los Angeles made Palm Springs a hotspot for millionaires. Stars like Greta Garbo, Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable, Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, Dean Martin and even Albert Einstein lived in Palm Springs. The Movie Colony is Palm Springs' main attraction today. Frank Sinatra's house is the most famous building in the city today. Sinatra had a modern bungalow designed by architect Emerson Stewart Williams. The Twin Palms house at 1148 East Alejo Road became legendary because Sinatra celebrated big parties here and gathered all the Hollywood celebrities. Frank Sinatra's house became a symbol of desert modernism. The "Twin Palms" is marketed as Sinatra House, rich guests can rent the house with the famous piano swimming pool.
If you are going to Palm Springs, you should make a detour to the art museum. The Palm Springs Art Museum has high-quality temporary exhibitions. The building in the style of modern desert architecture is also worth seeing. The San Jacinto Mountains begin just behind the museum.
The "San Gorgonio Peak" is with 3.505 m/10.515 feet the highest peak of the San Bernardino National Forest. The snow-capped mountains border directly to the hot desert below, the "Big Bear Lake" freezes in winter. The mountains are a destination for hiking.
The "Death Valley National Park" offers a magnificent desert backdrop with different rock colors. The viewpoint "Zabriskie Point" and the "Moving Rocks" at the Grandstand viewpoint in the north of the desert are famous. The Valley of Death is closer to Las Vegas than Los Angeles, for more information see National Parks near Las Vegas.
The Mojave Desert basin is located between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The mountain range on the coast does not allow clouds to pass, so it is extremely dry here. Mojave National Park is a large, empty area measuring about 80 kilometers from north to south and more than 100 km from east to west. The Mojave tribe people used to live here. Later a railway was built and the natural resources were exploited. The Mojave National Park Visitor Center and Cafe is also located on the railway line. The Visitor Center in the Kelso Depot is at the point where Kelbaker Road crosses the railway line. The Mojave Desert is dominated by bushland. The bushes are home to many animals. There are coyotes, foxes, badgers, jerboa, many species of birds and reptiles. Most of the animals are nocturnal because of the heat.
There are countless small coves along the pacific coastal line, between Los Angeles and San Francisco. This is wherer you can spot sea lions and seals. Most of the time they lay around lazy on the beach, but somtimes you can watch them playing in the water. Just north of San Simeon, there is a good spot to watch Elephant Seals.
The Spaniards called the coastal strip south of Monterrey "El pais grande del sur", the great country of the South. The Americans just called it "Big Sur", one of the most beautiful coastal roads in the world.
National Parks in southern California
The south of California offers very different landscapes. From sandy beaches along the Pacific coast to snow-capped mountains and glowing hot deserts. The lyrics of Albert Hammond: "Seems it never rains in southern California" is not quite true. Who travels in spring time, can get wet even in southern California. But in spring there is a wonderful smell of flowers in the air and it is not as dry and hot as in the summer.
National Parks in the South-West
National Parks in Californa
National Parks in Arizona
National Parks in Utah
National Parks in Colorado
Mesa Verde National Park