Destinations: Joshua Tree National Park, California
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Well-maintained, gently curving paved roads provide the few paths through the park’s 800,000 acres, and the speed limits are low. That’s a good thing, as the views are magnificent. This is not a place to test the limits of your cornering ability; it’s a place to enjoy some of the most spectacular desert scenery on the planet. The park contains just less than 90 miles of paved roads, and about the same amount of dirt roads. Any street bike is perfect for a cruise through this magnificent region, with commanding views of the rolling Mojave Desert, over 700 species of plant life, 240 bird species (including the occasional pelican from the nearby Salton Sea), and more than 80 other animal species. If you’re lucky, you might spot one of the park’s Desert Bighorn sheep.
The park has three entrances: two from the north, and one from the south. The roads from each converge in the center of the park. The southern entrance is easily accessible from Interstate 10, and the two northern entrances are accessible through the towns of Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms. Any of the entrances provide great views. Most people feel that entering from the northern end makes for a more interesting ride, and in most cases, a more direct route home on Interstate 10.
What: Joshua Tree National Park, Calif. A magnificent national park with awesome scenery, well-maintained roads, an abundance of wildlife and other-worldly rock formations.
How to Get There: From anywhere, take Interstate 10 to the park’s southern entrance. Alternatively, combine the ride with a trip through the magnificent San Bernardino Mountains and the Mojave Desert to arrive at either of two northern entrances.
Best Kept Secrets: Make sure you take the diversion to Keys View, a short ride up to a 5,185-foot-high vantage point in the park’s southwestern corner. Keys View offers stunning views of Mt. San Jacinto, the Coachella Valley, and on a clear day, the Salton Sea.
Avoid: Speeding, as there’s no need; take a relaxed ride, enjoy the scenery, and stop to examine the rock formations and watch the climbers.
More Info and Photos: www.motofoto.cc, www.nps.gov/jotr
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