8. Joshua Tree National Park: Self-Driving Audio Tour
Wander through Joshua Tree National Tree park and discover its hidden secrets with a self-driving audio tour. Learn about the park's history, curiosities, and nature as you follow the app's directions to see as much as you can of the park. This self-guided driving tour begins at the Joshua Tree Visitor Center and follows the park road through this one-of-a-kind national park. As you leave civilization behind, hear about the Cahuilla tribe who once called this place home, and get an introduction to Jim McHaney, who terrorized the townsfolk with his band of ruffians. Then see the eponymous Joshua trees themselves. Get the facts on why these funky plants look like they do, and what the early Mormon pioneers thought they meant. Continue on to a hiking trail that leads you to one of the park’s strangest sights, a bunch of rocks with cryptic spiritual inscriptions on them, left by an odd recluse almost 100 years ago. As you go through the park, learn about the wildlife you might spot, from the pint-sized roadrunner to the elusive bighorn sheep. Next, visit the popular Hidden Valley Nature Trail where the infamous McHaney Gang once kept their stolen cattle while waiting to sell them off. Move on to Intersection Rock, a climbing hub that towers over the surrounding desert. Afterward, head down into Lost Horse Valley and hear the dramatic tale of how it got its name. It’s a story involving horse theft, a risky move, and a tense encounter with the McHaney Gang. Keys Point awaits beyond this valley, the most popular vista point in the park, where visitors and locals alike flock to catch the sunset. Up next, swing by the ominous Skull Rock and get a chance to visit some old, abandoned mines in Queen Valley. Then head to an observatory that’s perfect for stargazing, and end up in the Oasis Visitor Center. Your self-guided tour concludes here, just outside Twentynine Palms.