Van Camping at Joshua Tree National Park 3/2/18 - 3/4/18Posted by Adventure 16 | 03.08.2018
Joshua Tree National Park. photo: olas creative
I wanted to go trail riding and check out the mountain biking trails in Section 6, otherwise known as the Desert View Conservation Area. It's located just outside of Joshua Tree National Park so I reserved a campsite in the Park at Jumbo Rocks Campground.
I arrived in JTree about 9am and stopped at Joshua Tree Bicycle Shop to get additional local info and a trail map. They were closed. (Open at 10am.) I then went the Joshua Tree Visitors Center to see if they had any information on the bike trails.
Don't go to the Visitor Center asking about bike trails. They were no help and refused to answer ANY questions that I had about the Desert View Conservation Area. (They said there is a debate about who owns the land). I might as well have been asking about UFO's and aliens. Maybe that's why they call it Section 6... hmmm.
I went back to the van and looked up Section 6 online again on Adventure 16's website. I found the road that leads to the area and headed that way. It is a dirt road and the winds were 25mph gusting to 40. I decided to come back the next day and check it out, hoping that the weather would improve. On Saturday, the winds were still howling. I scrapped the mountain biking part of the weekend and put "Trail Riding Desert View Conservation Area" back on my list for the next time I'm in the area.
All was not lost. I spent the weekend hiking a few trails, bouldering, and photographing climbers in the park.
Jumbo Rocks Campground. photo: olas creative
What made it great:
First time camping at Jumbo Rocks. Cool campground nestled in the rock formations on the east side of the park. Some sites are right up against the rocks and have a great secluded feel to them. (And the rocks serve as a good wind block.) 124 sites, bring your own water. It has a connecting trail to Skull Rock.
Climbing at Hemmingway. photo: olas creative
Almost at the top. photo: olas creative
What made it fun/challenging:
It was my first time camping in the park on my own time. All of my previous trips to JTree have been for A16, photographing the annual Climb Smart Event, so I always had a schedule to follow. This trip I had time to explore areas of the park that were new to me.
Searching. photo: olas creative
Vanlife gear used:
Patagonia: Lowpro Trucker Hat, Organic Cotton Tee, Slopeside Hoody
TNF Down Jacket
Teva Arrowood Trail Shoes
Details about the scenery, food or culture:
Sunday morning I drove the South Cottonwood exit/entrance from the Park. It is a 30 mile winding road that includes the Cholla Cactus Garden, a huge patch of crazy looking cacti in the middle of nowhere.
I also checked out a dispersed camping area just outside of the South JTree entrance. It had a dozen Vans and RVs hanging out. Nice area, no shade, far from everything. (Except the I-10 freeway)
Written by Jay Golien - Adventure 16 Graphic Designer
Jay Golien is A16's design aficionado. He has spent the last 5 years traveling across the U.S., working and living in his home on wheels, during which time he has spent many a night in a Walmart parking lots, truck stops, rest areas, and any other free, dispersed spots he can find. He also attended more music fests than....Lets just say he's heard some good music and lots of it.
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