National Park Week – Three Things to Do Every Day (Part 3)


There is something new at a national park every day. Nature is always moving.

John Muir said it best in Our National Parks:

Nature is ever at work building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing, allowing no rest but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form into another.

The last weekend of National Park Week is here, and there is a lot happening in Joshua Tree National Park. We hope you enjoy our last installment of three things to do every day in the park, and if you have ideas of your own, we invite you to join the conversation on Facebook or in the comments section below.

3 Things to Do P 3

 3 Things to Do – Friday, April 25

  1. Go on the Silvia’s Wash Walk with a ranger. Meet the ranger at mile marker 33 (2.7 miles south of Cottonwood Visitor Center near the “Colorado Desert” wayside exhibit) at 2 pm for a nature walk (lasts 45 minutes, hiking distance 1 mile). Parking is in roadside pullouts.
  2. Experience the park’s two deserts in one day by driving along the Pinto Basin Road (1.5 hours). To truly experience the differences, pick a short nature trail in the northern part of the park (Mojave Desert), and then head to the southern region (Sonoran Desert). Although the Cottonwood closure area is still in effect, you could hike some alternative trails (Pinto Dunes, Silvia’s Wash, Barrow Pit, or the Bajada All-Access Trail).
  3. Share National Park Week with a friend. Do you know someone who has always wanted to visit the park, but has never made it? Invite that friend to go with you and visit your favorite spot, or share a new experience on a trail that neither of you have explored.

3 Things to Do – Saturday, April 26 (Junior Ranger Day)

  1. Encourage a child to become a Junior Ranger on National Junior Ranger Day. This free program is for kids ages 4-14. An activity booklet can be picked up at any visitor center. Look for ideas on where to spend the day in our post on National Junior Ranger Day.
  2. Take the Desert Institute’s Plein Air Poetry class. Be inspired by nature’s imagery in this writing-intensive field seminar in the park. Award-winning poets Jim Natal and Jeanette Clough will guide participants in the act of creative discovery surrounded by one of the world’s most unique landscapes. The class is from 8:30 am to 4 pm.
  3. Discover the night sky with the Desert Institute. Warm April nights are a perfect time to experience the newly emerging spring night sky. The class is called Desert Night Sky: Planets to Galaxies and goes from 2 pm to 10 pm.

3 Things to Do – Sunday, April 27

  1. Go searching for cacti blooms. Trails all over the park are decorated with their color. Along the Split Rock Trail, there are beavertail, foxtail, cholla, and hedgehog cacti with flowers. By the Twin Tanks Backcountry Board, there is a cottontop cactus flowering, and the way to Twin Tanks is speckled with the colors of cacti blooms (as well as other spring wildflowers).
  2. When was the last time you saw the sunrise? Get your headlamp and daypack and be out in the park by 5:58 am. Make a thermos of coffee and watch the day arrive from a trail or high point in the park.  Shortly after sunrise, pick a place to sit and just observe, using as many senses as possible. Try closing your eyes for a while to notice patterns in the life around you. What will wake up when the sun arises? You may be surprised at the things you will notice and how relaxed you will feel!
  3. Catch a very special evening performance at the 29 Palms Inn. Actor Lee Stetson (as John Muir) and Alan Sutterfield (as Teddy Roosevelt) will portray these important characters in American history in “The Tramp and The Roughrider – An Afternoon with John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt.” The show starts at 3:00 p.m. Tickets are on sale for this one-time performance at $15 each and can be purchased by phone at (760)217-0015.
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