11 Amazing Spring Hikes Slideshow

11 Amazing Spring Hikes Slideshow

Flickr/Tom Hilton
Slide 1 of 11

Lost Palm Oasis is a sheltered, steep-sided ravine in Joshua Tree that hides more than 100 spring-fed California fan palm trees. The network of outlying springs that surrounds the palms supports a diversity of plants and attracts an array of thirsty animals (including bighorn sheep) during late spring and summer, when water is scarce in the desert.
Start the hike at the Cottonwood Spring trailhead, which lies along an ecological transition zone between Sonoran Desert and the higher, wetter Mojave. Along the way, you'll see plants from both ecosystems, including creosote bushes and desert willows (you won't see many Joshua trees in this part of the park, but you'll see plenty on your drive in).
The surroundings are impressive from the start. Outcrops of granite boulders sit amid a landscape of high ridges, arroyos, plateaus, small canyons and rocky washes. Cacti and myriad other plants grow in white sand.
In spring, a riot of vibrant wildflowers—more than 30 species—and cactus bloom pink, red, green and yellow, making March and April some of the best months to go.
Distance: 7.2 miles R/T
Elevation Change: Approximately 1,500 feet
Difficulty Rating: Moderate
Duration: 6 hours
Best Time to Go: Year-round.
How to get there: Joshua Tree National Park is about a three-hour drive from Los Angeles via I-10. For precise directions to the park, visit the National Park Service website. You can also click here for a trail map. The hike begins at Cottonwood Spring, about six miles inside the park's southern boundary.