Thanks to Toyota for supplying the Corolla for this road trip.
One of our favorite California road trips is the drive to the high desert. We love this area and we take this trip a few times a year. It’s a quiet ride and only 2.5 hours away from Los Angeles and our end goal is to come back refreshed and inspired. Our absolute favorite high desert destination, Joshua Tree, is a peaceful and unique area. We love visiting Joshua Tree National Park. The beautiful, mystical trees are native to southwestern America and I never tire of seeing their unique shapes and character.
Our dogs joined us on this on our most recent road trip. We loaded up the 2018 Toyota Corolla and got ready for stunning views of desert vegetation and vistas. On each road trip we try to experience something new as well as take advantage of things we don’t get to do in Hollywood.
Camping is a favorite in the park. We haven’t camped there yet but we researched that the park offers numerous campsites that are usually reserved well in advance. Best to call ahead now to see what is available.
Joshua Tree National Park attracts rock climbers and my daughter loves to go on rock climbing adventures. Beware, my daughter and husband did come across a rattlesnake! Be cautious of the wild life around you! After this encounter, we drove to Keys View where you can lookout a thousand feet above the valley, stack rocks or hang around for the sunset.
We decided to head to the hotel and return later that night for some stargazing. I’ve always wanted to stargaze in the park. So this is a first for us! Living in Los Angeles means urban light pollution and unfortunately I hardly look up at the LA sky at night because of this. We drove into the 29 Palms entrance to the park to the Cholla Cactus Garden and Cottonwood area which hosts the darkest areas in the park. We also pulled over into some of the roadside turnouts. The 2018 Toyota Corolla handles the windy national park road and is equipped with a moon roof to catch a glimpse as we headed deeper into the park. We turned down the radio and let our eyes adjust and honestly, this city girl witnessed an awe-inspiring scene. The sky was dense with stars and celestial beauty. I felt like I was in a planetarium under a Milky Way dome. We immediately found Orion’s belt, then the big dipper and I believe Saturn was shining this night. It was so quiet that the only things I could hear was the ringing in my ears. Although I was a little worried to get out of the car because we saw tons of wildlife along our route, the Cactus Garden parking was free of desert dwellers. Also, our dogs were amazingly calm and I felt one with nature.
Upon exiting the park, my daughter said stargazing was one of the “funnest” things she’s ever experienced! It makes me sad that my daughter who is 10 saw this for the first time with her own eyes! We want to return for more star gazing after we’ve researched some of the other constellations and their locations.
I highly recommend a night under the stars in Joshua Tree National Park. We stayed over in 29 palms, and the next day we drove to Whitewater Preserve in the Coachcella Valley, another new visit for us. Whitewater Preserve park is dog-friendly (as long as they are on a leash) and there’s running water in the stream which provides a refreshing walk on a warm day. There are also vast hiking trails and you might even come across some wildlife. Make sure to bring out anything you bring into the park.
The 2018 Toyota Corolla we drove is a compact car, fitting 5 comfortably. The car is reliable and great on mileage. It’s not overly thrilling to drive but it’s a comfortable, functional car that gets the job done. We drove the XSE model which is the top of the line Corolla. It has a sporty look that was a pleasure to drive.
Note: While pets are allowed in Joshua Tree National Park, their activities are restricted. They must be on a leash at all times and cannot be more than 100 feet from a road, picnic area, or campground. They are prohibited from trails, and they must never be left unattended.