Our Second Visit to Joshua Tree National Park – Part One

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This was our second visit to Joshua Tree National Park in California. After having a spectacular time last year we knew we would return once again to enjoy the hiking, camping and photographic opportunities the park offers. Joshua Tree NP has many campgrounds to choose from. We find the one called Belle to be best suited for us. The others are either too far away from the main park attractions, too busy or the spots are more suited to tents than RVs. Belle is a little away from the heart of the park but not too far, maybe 15 minutes to ½ hour from the main attractions.

Anne posed between trees, Belle campground in the distance   Entrance Sign

Our Favorite Campground

We planned it out to arrive on a Tuesday hoping the park would be less busy and we could score a nice camp spot. We were in luck! Belle campground was nearly empty and we setup in #15, a beautiful and roomy site. A little rig leveling was needed but we managed and our 30 foot fifth wheel fit nicely in place. Belle campground is made up of two loops and around 20 or so campsites. Half are only big enough for tents or small RVs, the others can handle medium sized RVs maybe in the 25-30 foot range. Although I did see some larger rigs shoe-horned in. Maximum stay is 14 nights and the fee is a very reasonable $10 dollars per night. A bargain considering that you are enjoying National Park quality scenery. They provide a couple pit toilets and garbage bins on site. Pets are allowed on leash in the campground area but only 100 feet away.  Noteif you have a really large rig and can’t fit, there is some 14 days free dispersed BLM camping spots just outside the southern park entrance near the  Interstate 10 exit.

Site #15, Belle campground   View out back window Belle Campground, Joshua Tree NP

Belle Campground Site 15   10 Dollars per night 14 day Max

NP Doggie Rules in Effect

Being a National Park as usual the rules are dogs on leash at all times and they are only allowed on paved roads, paths and parking areas. It sucks but we respect it and understand. I usually give Angie (our furry child) a good long morning walk along the road to wear her out. We then leave her in the rig, in her kennel, while out experiencing the park. The weather was sunny and nice but temps stayed in the 70’s so with the trailer windows open it was quite comfortable for Angie. I keep a digital thermometer that tells me the max. temps that are reached inside, so I know if it is safe to leave Angie.

Morning beagle walk Joshua Tree
Angie on her morning walk

Video Look at Our Belle Campground Site #15

Off to Jumbo Rocks

The first evening we drove the short distance over to an area called Jumbo Rocks, named for the collection of giant granite boulders all piled up in many interesting shapes. This is also home to one of the most popular campsites and usually pretty packed. We came that night with the intention of photographing a pair of very round boulders balanced on the rock pile. At sunset the rocky terrain usually lights up and the boulders give off a pretty orange glow.

Boulders colored by the setting sun   Sunset Joshua Tree NP

As we had cameras aimed at our subject as often happens the main event was in a completely different direction. We were treated to one on the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever witnessed, the sky was on fire! Nature’s display lasted a good half hour and our second visit to Joshua Tree National Park was off to an amazing start.

Check out Part Two where we visit some Cholla

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