Lost Palms Oasis OvernighterMy friends Nick, Greg, and I did an overnight backpacking trip to Lost Palms Oasis in Joshua Tree National Park. You can dayhike this trail, as it's only 8 miles round-trip, but I'd seen photos of this area and thought it would be nice to be there at sunset and sunrise and spend some time exploring it. So we began our hike on Saturday about 10:00 am or so. No permits are needed for the hike, you just register at the backcountry board. The hike is relatively easy, the trail undulating up and down ridges and washes. About 1/2 mile before you get to the oasis there are some nice spots to camp to the northside of the trail. You cannot camp at the oasis itself, nor use the water there for yourself, as it's reserved for the area's wildlife. So we each packed about a gallon with us.
We ate lunch and set up camp and then explored the big boulder pile north of the campsite. Then we hiked to the oasis overlook then the final bit of trail to the oasis itself, which is the tough as it descends several hundred feet, but it's well-worth the effort. It's a very inviting spot!
The main attraction at the oasis are the native California fan palms. There are about 100 of these majestic trees here which are the only native palms in western North America. They grow here because there is a seasonal spring and there's also protection from the wind in the canyon. Many different animal species also live nearby and rely on the spring for water. We saw several species of birds and lizards and were hoping to see bighorn sheep. But they remained elusive. We did spot some coyote prints near the water and I loved the late afternoon lighting on the trees and canyon walls.
We had great weather on Saturday and Saturday night. After dinner we played a couple of games of Pass the Pigs which was as always silly and enjoyable. Then we went on a night hike, sans headlamps, which was a challenge considering all the rocks and cholla you can run into. But thanks to the stars and lightning in the distance, as well as the glow from Palm Springs, we stuck to the trail fairly easily.
Early the next morning I was awoken by the birds and we ate breakfast and packed up and then headed back to the oasis overlook. We went off trail for a little while because I wanted to explore this neat rock wall, but in order to get back to the trail we had to descend a very steep crumbling slope. Greg ended up slip sliding down on his bottom and he ripped his pants. I ended up scraping my palm and kicking a rock towards Nick while poking him with my trekking pole when he was trying to help me down. I told him I don't normally injure my hiking partners! lol, sorry Nick :p
When we reached the overlook it began to rain, and although not a heavy rain it was cold and so we bundled up and headed back. We made record timing back to the trailhead and we stopped at IHOP on the way home and had some hearty food to warm us back up :)
So, another fun hiking trip in the desert. Hope you enjoy my photos!