A lucky lady I am. Lucky to be surrounded by people who inspire, challenge, and leave me in awe. My hiking buddy, Arrow is one of those special individuals. She is the one when life is throwing every rotten thing imaginable, she manages to come up smiling, open, giving, and positive and then heads into the wind. Arrow is the one you want along when a backpacking trip features hiking off-trail and includes only: maps, ideas, and options.
Joshua Tree is located in the Mojave and Colorado Deserts of Southern California and is a perfect destination in the fall, winter, or spring. It is primarily waterless. For the backpacker, this means hauling extra water that is very heavy.
We headed to Joshua Tree National Park for an overnight backpack excited to just be outside with a pack on. With a route in mind, we started at the Upper Covington Flats Board. We were both willing to be flexible due to the predicted heat wave. The temps were for-casted to be in the 90’s.
TRIP DATE: March 16-17, 2013
DIFFICULTY: Moderate with cross-country and some trail
MILEAGE: About 45 mile loop
NAVIGATION: Map and compass required and/or good GPS
WATER: Don’t count on natural sources, water at North Entrance Station restrooms
During our trip we continually made adjustments to our route based on water, heat, and how we were feeling. This worked. The route we ended up hiking I recommend and was very diverse, interesting, scenic, and fun. I did not GPS our route on my phone so this Google map’s waypoints are an estimate of the trip.
Arrived late the night before at the trail head and camped at Upper Covington Flats Board, from the sign-in board we hiked the California Hiking and Riding Trail to Lower Covington Trail, down Smith Water Canyon to Quail Wash, then loaded up on 6 liters of water at the Joshua Tree North Entrance Station (the only available water in the park), hiked North View trail to Big Pine Trail to Boy Scout Trail, walked Park Boulevard Road to Johnny Lange Connector. We camped above Johnny Lange Canyon.
Hiked up Johnny Lange Canyon, then headed cross-country to the route up Quail Mountain, down to Juniper Flats, and then took the California Hiking and Riding Trail back to the trail head at Upper Covington Flats.
Note: On this trip we primarily used Topo Maps iPhone app and the Joshua Tree Tom Harrison map. We found that many of the established trails on the Tom Harrison map were actually routes not trails and we both wished we would have brought USGS 7.5 minute maps.
- View all trip photos on Flickr