Joshua Tree Backpacking (April 12-14, 2019)

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Joshua Tree Backpacking (April 12-14, 2019)


Friday afternoon April 12 - April 14

4/12 5:00pm - 4/14 5:00pm

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There will be two different groups, please register for A or B.


Back by popular demand, the weekend backpacking trip through Joshua Tree National Park is back! There will be two groups going on the same trail, at the same time! Starting at opposite ends, each group will backpack, cross paths on Sunday morning, switch vans, and meet up at a designated point on Sunday afternoon! It’s the perfect weekend getaway into the high desert.

About the Trip & Itinerary

Friday (Day 1):  Leaving from campus late Friday afternoon, the group will head to a campground just outside of Joshua Tree to spend the night under a blanket of stars and prepare for the weekend ahead. The drive is approximately three hours away from PLNU.

Saturday (Day 2): Up for an early rise, the group will finish packing backpacks in the morning with instruction from guides after eating a camp breakfast! Hitting the trail in the morning, the group leaves behind the vans to hit the open trail to hike approximately 5-6 miles before setting up camp. Everything needed to cook, eat, hike, and sleep will be carried on the individuals’ backs for two days and one night.

Sunday (Day 3): Waking up to a desert sunrise, the group will once again pack their packs and head to the trail finishing at the opposite end. The remainder of the afternoon is up to the group! In Joshua Tree, there are a large variety of fun activities such as scrambling and bouldering on the infamous rocks that are scattered throughout the park. Driving up to Keys’ Point offers an incredible view of the desert below Joshua Tree looking toward Palm Desert and the Indio valley as it backs up to San Jacinto Peak. Just outside Joshua Tree is Cactus Mart, which is filled with the beautiful succulents and plants of the desert region.

Price >> $60.00


For a first-time backpacker, it can be difficult to carry a pack that is approximately 20 pounds for several miles. The guides are excellent at helping participants adjust and fit packs so that they are comfortable and evenly packed. Terrain in Joshua Tree is mostly flat with a few moderate inclines and trails are mainly composed of packed or sandy dirt and rocks. Good shoes are definitely a must-have for this trip. The trail is a total of approximately 10 miles and is the perfect distance, terrain, and time for a backpacking beginner and offers a completely different backpacking experience for those who are seasoned backpackers!

Fitness Rating: 3 out of 5 difficulty

Safety & Risk Management

On all of the Great Escapes and Outdoor Leadership trips, the guides practice Leave No Trace principles and communicate these with all of the participants. Much of the risk with Joshua Tree is regarding the weather. During the day, the temperatures can rise to the high 80s with little shade cover. At night, the desert temperature drops to the 50s and can get windy causing temperatures to drop. Sun protection (hat, sunglasses, sunscreen) and, wind-breaker jacket, and warm layers are a must-have for this trip.

Click HERE for Equipment & Packing List