From the top of Ryan Mountain—the 5,461 ft. highest point in California’s Joshua Tree National Park—the true emptiness of this high-desert expanse is evident in the craggy rock formations and scruffy looking Joshua trees which poke up around California’s 800,000-acre desert park.
Traditionally known as one of the country’s premier rock-climbing and bouldering locations, Joshua Tree National Park is also a favorite Southern California outpost for landscape photographers looking to capture the explosive reds, fiery oranges and dull browns of the high-desert. Joshua Tree National Park is also frequented by wildlife photographers hoping to snap a photo of bighorn sheep, black-tailed jackrabbits, or any number of the 250 bird species which call this harsh desert environment their home.
Hiking and mountain biking trails abound in the park and range from short canyon walks to biking down old country roads to scrambling to watch the sunrise from the summit of Ryan Mountain. Outdoor and nature enthusiasts regularly frequent Joshua Tree National Park during the spring months when desert wildflowers bloom in what appears to be an otherwise lifeless desert, and each and every night the high-country is bathed beneath a blanket of desert stars to provide campers and stargazers with one of the most brilliant skies to be found in the otherwise light-polluted area region of Southern California.