Day 4- Joshua Tree National Park – Indian Rock Campground and Boy Scout Trail

After our warm hike into the Amboy Crater, we looked around for a campsite for the night. Camping is permitted around the Amboy Crater as there were no signed deterring people from camping. In the end, we decided against camping at the trail head because despite the nice facility, there were graffiti and bullet holes throughout the area.


L carrying Baby S hiking inside the Amboy Crater rim


We debated on whether to head back north to camp inside the Mojave National preserve and finish the Rock Sping Loop Trail or continue south to explore more of the Mojave Trails National Monument. In the end we decided to head south to explore the unknown. We were also running low on food and had to get to Twenty-nine Palms by the next day to find a grocery store. Our intent was to find a roadside campground around Sheephole Wilderness area and explore more of the Mojave Trails National Monument. Once we drove through Mojave Trails Highway (also known as Route 66), we began to understand why there were no information on camping within Mojave Trails National Monument. The entire area looked desolate with rows and rows of abandoned houses. We didn’t feel it was a safe campground with Baby S and decided to just head into Twenty Nine Palms and try our luck camping at Joshua Tree National Park’s Indian Rocks campground. Located just outside the park, reservation is $20 a night and we did not have to pay for the national park entrance fee. Luckily there were a few spots available when we arrived at 5PM. According to the park ranger, the campground typically has walk-in spots available on Monday and Tuesday, had we come a day later, all reservation would have been booked.


S and Baby S hanging out at the Indian Rock campsite

The campsite at Indian Rock was smaller than what we were used to at Mojave but the nice rock formations against the campgrounds made up for the small size and crowded campsite. We chatted with our friendly camp neighbors who were an older couple from San Diego. They reminded us that Anza Borrego State Park’s wild flowers are blooming this time of the year. Since our plans to explore Mojave Trails National Monument did not work out, we decided to go home to clean up and head to Anza Borrego State Park the following day.

The following morning after we bid farewell to our friendly camp neighbors, we took a short hike at the Boyscout Trail near the campground. cofLocated just outside the national park, we were able to hike this trail without paying for the entrance fee of the national park. It’s a 7.5 miles round trip hike and we made a mental note that this would be a good backpacking trip in the future without actually going into the park with plenty of opportunities for rock scrambling.

Read more about our Southern California desert road trip here.


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