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Earth Day 2023: Hiking Joshua Tree National Park

For the past few months, southern California has seen more rain than it knows what to do with. 

According to California Water Watch, this season delivered record-breaking rains, with some regions seeing over 200% their historical rainfall average. 

And while rainstorms don't exactly make for the best boardshorts conditions, there is one silver lining to having one of the wettest spring seasons on record: watering the desert.

Renowned for its pristine sun, surf and sand, the rolling hills of SoCal sustain a uniquely Mediterranean biome that sees very little rain compared to the rest of the United States. 

But for the past three months, its been nothing but nonstop storms and showers, resulting in superblooms from Anza Borrego to Antelope Valley that have made headlines around the country. 

So in celebration of Earth Day 2023, we decided to switch our durable boardshorts for comfortable outdoor hiking shorts, and take a little roadtrip over to Joshua Tree National Park to catch a glimpse of this natural wonder for ourselves.

The Morning Trek

We got an early start to our day and set off at 5 in the morning to Joshua Tree for our all-day outdoor hiking adventure. 

The drive, just like any road trip in southern California, was scenic and beautiful. 

Photo Credit: @Cislaghi.Jpeg

Two hours, multiple coffees and one awesome Spotify playlist later, we had arrived. 

Nestled about 145 miles east of southern California's bustling coastal scene, Joshua Tree National Park is a place like no other. 

It's got everything you could want; picturesque hiking trails, epic outdoor camping, rock climbing, and unpolluted night sky views like you wouldn't believe.

Joshua Tree is also one of the many national parks that offers free admission on Earth Day, so the park ranger at the gate handed us a map, wished us a happy Earth Day and sent us on our way.

The flat desert landscape is home to one-of-a-kind rock formations, beautiful flora and fauna, and of course, the famous Joshua tree. 

It's a unique species of yucca plant (yup, not an actual tree) that grows only in the Mojave Desert, making it one of the rarest in the world.

As soon as we got into the park, our collective excitement got the best of us. So we ducked into the first open parking lot we could find to get a jump start on our hiking itinerary. 

Photo Credit: @Cislaghi.Jpeg

Our first excursion of the day ended up being more like a chill nature walk than a full-blown hike. But hey, it was the perfect way to get our muscles warmed up for the day while we snacked on the last of our breakfast.

Plus, it offered plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with some show-stopping desert flowers.

Superblooms in Joshua Tree are rare and unpredictable events that require specific weather conditions, with the last significant bloom occurring in the spring of 2019. 

This year, we were lucky to catch some of the best blooms in the park, and we weren't alone. Hundreds of people from all over the world joined us in Joshua Tree for Earth Day, hiking, exploring, and camping overnight. 

The atmosphere in the park was electric, with the stunning display of color and the excitement of being part of such a unique event.

Climbing the Hall of Horrors

After studying the park map (because you'd be lucky to find cell signal this far off the grid) we decided our next destination was a rock formation called the Hall of Horrors.

Curious to see just how horrific this hall really was, we drove down to the nearest parking lot to give it a shot.

Though it was hilariously hard to find, it was totally worth the trouble. 

After a short climb up some boulders, we found the pathway leading to the Hall.

As we reached the beginning of the hidden slot canyon, the temperature dropped by five degrees. It was a paradise within a paradise! 

With a high-intensity rock climb at the other end of the Hall, we ascended and emerged as conquerors.

Photo Credit: @Cislaghi.Jpeg

We had an absolute blast at this stop during our park tour. The thrill of scaling those vertical rocks was unbeatable! 

The experience was so fantastic that we've already added this gem to our must-visit list of rock climbing spots. Personally, we're counting down the days until our next adventure here.

An Epic Earth Day 2023

Overall, Earth Day 2023 was one for the books, and we were stoked to be able to spend it outdoors appreciating nature while rocking our favorite reliable all-terrain Maui Rippers gear.

After all, it's not every day that you can say you spent an entire day hiking a beautiful Californian National Park and fully getting back in touch with mother nature.

From the awe-inspiring landscape to the rush of adrenaline you get while scaling the soaring heights, it was one epic adventure. 

The best part? We were part of something much bigger than ourselves - a movement towards a healthier planet and future. It's a day we'll never forget and an experience that will always keep us coming back for more.


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