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Joshua Tree National Park, California

74485 National Park Drive, Joshua Tree National Park, California

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Hidden Valley

Take a trek to Hidden Valley, a carved path between magnificent rock walls. The Hidden Valley Trail is a short, easy 1 mile hike, making it perfect for families. Once in the valley, the whole family is sure to be astounded by the gargantuan boulders for which Joseph National Park is so well known. Those who were born to climb can feel free to scramble up these boulders. Signs act as educational guides throughout the Hidden Valley Trail, helping families to identify local plant and wildlife. Don't forget to stop for a photo-op among these rare rocks!

Address: Off Park Blvd., Joshua Tree National Park, California

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URL: http://www.hikespeak.com/trails/hidden-valley-in-joshua-tree/
Hours: Year Round
Price: Free

Keys View

The place to gain inspiration, Key View offers breathtaking, panoramic views of the Coachella Valley. This viewing point sits atop the crest of the Little San Bernardino Mountains. Most days, admiring parents will be able to point out the San Andreas Fault, which stretches 700 miles from the Gulf of California to the Mendocino Coast north of San Francisco to kids. On exceptionally clear days, lucky families may even be able to see Signal Mountain in Mexico. Any day, Key View offers a moment to remember.

Address: Joshua Tree National Park, California

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URL: http://www.nps.gov/jotr/planyourvisit/keysview.htm
Hours: Year Round
Price: Free

Barker Dam Trail

Barker Dam was constructed by early cattlemen in the 1900s. Today, it is a great place to spot local wildlife. Visiting the Dam takes only a 1.5 mile hike on the Barker Dam Trail. This family-friendly hike takes both young and old adventurers past the famous dam and through some of the best areas for bouldering and birding. Along the waters of the dam is one of the better places to spot birds and Desert Bighorn Sheep. Much wildlife is sure to be spotted as well as petroglyphs. With all these points of interest, the Barker Dam Trail is one of the more popular trails in Joseph Tree National Park, welcoming both experienced and beginner hikers.

Address: North of Barker Dam parking area, Joshua Tree National Park, California

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URL: http://www.joshuatreenationalpark.net/barkerdam.htm
Hours: Year Round
Price: Free

Skull Rock

A feat of erosion, Skull Rock is a large rock formation shaped, well, like a skull. Over time, raindrops accumulated, shaping the rock and eventually forming the two hollowed out eye sockets of Skull Rock. Families can stop quickly at the famed rock for a photo-op or take some time to explore the Skull Rock Trail Loop, a 1.8 mile trail through the scenic Jumbo Rock area. Because of its diverse supply of vegetation, the area surrounding Skull Rock is rich in wildlife. Snakes, chuckwalla, jackrabbits, wood rats, coyote, bobcat and great horned owls often come here to dine. If families are up for the hike, it provides a great opportunity for the kids to spot wildlife. If instead snakes and coyotes sound unappealing, at least make a pit-stop at Skull Rock.

Address: Joshua Tree National Park, California

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URL: http://www.nps.gov/jotr/planyourvisit/skullrock.htm
Hours: Year Round
Price: Free

Joshua Tree Rock Climbing School

Joshua Tree National Park has over 8,000 rock climbs of varying difficulties, making it the perfect place to learn how to conquer the rock. Enter Joshua Tree Rock Climbing School, which offers a variety of instructive courses and private lessons. Potential students can choose from 1 to 4 day rock climbing courses or a rock climbing seminar. The school does not play favorites; everyone, from the advanced climber to the young beginner, is welcome. In addition, there is no need to bring gear, as everything is provided by the Joshua Tree Rock Climbing School.

Address: Joshua Tree National Park, California

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URL: http://www.joshuatreerockclimbing.com/sem1.html
Hours: Check schedule
Price: Charges vary. For details, check prices

Boy Scout Trail

For those who are up for a more strenuous hike, Boy Scout Trail provides an 8 mile (one way) hike through a land fit for giants. This scenic trail passes through the western most edge of the Wonderland of Rocks. This land of stone features gigantic granite rock formations, all wonderful destinations in and of themselves. On this trail, families can trek across steep mountains and rocky canyons. The hike culminates in a visit to the Key West backcountry registration board, where families can register to camp along the trail overnight. Staying overnight adds an extra element of unknown adventure to the Boy Scout Trail. Hiking and sleeping under the ominous shadows of looming stones, families are sure to make lasting memories.

Address: Joshua Tree National Park, California

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URL: http://www.nps.gov/jotr/planyourvisit/hiking.htm
Hours: Year Round
Price: Free

Keys Ranch

Once upon a time, rugged men tried cattle ranching, mining and homesteading at what is now Joshua Tree National Park. This is how Key Ranch was born. Today, the ranch house, school house, store and workshop of this settlement still stand. A visit to the ranch includes a half-mile long, 90 minute tour of the grounds, where visitors will learn what it was like to live in such a remote location. Kids will enjoy passing by cars, trucks and mining equipment that bring the guide's stories to life. The replanted orchard and preserved buildings will help the family visualize the hard-working families that once populated the ranch, making a visit to Key Ranch an educational experience for all.

Address: Joshua Tree National Park, California

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URL: http://www.nps.gov/jotr/planyourvisit/ranchtour.htm
Hours: Check schedule
Price: Adults(12+): $5; Children(6-11): $2.50; Children(0-5): Free

Oasis Visitors Center

A great place for families to get their bearings before venturing onto a rocky trail, the Oasis Visitor Center is the park info hub. Videos, exhibits and a bookstore showcase the park, providing information on safety, history and what to see and do. Also used as a pleasant rest stop in between attractions, the Oasis Visitor Center has water, toilets, beverages and picnic tables. It is the go-to place to purchase tickets for certain tours, and the best spot for potty breaks or afternoon snacks.

Address: Utah Trail, Joshua Tree National Park, California

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Phone: 760 367 5500
URL: http://www.nps.gov/jotr/planyourvisit/visitorcenters.htm
Hours: Mon-Sun 8 am - 5 pm
Price: Free

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