Sunset Over Joshua Tree… and Pizza

Looking to plan a weekend in Joshua Tree? Check out this overview of our 2-day itinerary.

Today wraps up our first day in Joshua Tree — with four hikes behind us (we’ve logged about 10 miles total according to Kelley’s Fitbit), all that’s left to do is enjoy sunset and then go eat some well-deserved pizza. YES.

En route back to the Hidden Valley / Intersection Rock area for sunset, we pull over briefly to photograph Cap Rock:




Almost back at Intersection Rock…


You can tell it’s nearly sunset by the glowing light all around us — the rocks are practically golden at this hour. A couple of climbers rush to finish before shadows creep up the rock.


The light on this rock was so different a few hours ago. Now it’s glowing.


As dusk approaches, Kelley and I spot a coyote. We give it a wide berth.


And then I see this plump rabbit a few dozen feet away from the coyote… I’m terrified of inadvertently watching a kill, so I turn and walk away. I hope Peter Cottontail survived the night.



This cactus is ready for its close-up:



Watching the shadows slowly consume the rocks…


See that little cave in the rocks? A bunch of climbers have maneuvered themselves up there to watch sunset.


Kelley spots this makeshift bulletin board on the back of a campground sign — people can post notes for their friends about campsite locations. Some people have left keys that have been found.



With the sun officially down, we walk around the area and admire the changing colors in the sky.




I am so excited for cactus silhouette photos. I’ve been waiting a year to take these shots — last spring, it seemed like every weekend friends of mine visited Joshua Tree, and now I’m grateful to be here myself.




Once the light truly goes away, we hop back in the car and crank up the heat — it is so cold! While camping inside the park would have been neat to a certain extent (I love being that close to nature), I am glad that we have a warm motel room waiting for us back in town.

We drive straight to Pie for the People, a pizza joint right near the Joshua Tree Visitor’s Center outside the park. Kelley and I scouted out the menu on-line a few days earlier and have been looking forward to dinner here ever since.


While waiting 40 minutes for our whole pizza to be ready, Kelley orders a slice to get us started:


If we had made custom t-shirts for today, they would’ve read, “Will hike for pizza!”


We ordered a pizza with garlic, bacon, and drizzled pesto. Unfortunately they ran out of bacon, but substituted pepperoni / sausage. It’s delicious.


Here’s a shot of our motel room at Safari Motor Inn — it’s a few blocks away from the pizza place and Joshua Tree Visitor’s Center. We are totally satisfied with our stay here. It’s nothing fancy but it is clean and warm and comfortable. Including taxes / fees, this room is $65 a night on the weekends. Split two ways that is a very good deal. We fall asleep by 9pm… with the alarm set for 5am so we can drive to our chosen location inside the park for sunrise.


I’m going to jump ahead in time to share photos I took of the main strip in town during daylight hours on our way out the next day. Here’s the exterior of Pie for the People:




Just behind Pie for the People is a courtyard with a yoga studio and Joshua Tree Coffee Company.



We stopped into Joshua Tree Coffee Company for a caffeine pick-me-up on our way out of town.


A few more shots from the courtyard. I dig the southwestern flair:



Back on Monday with photos of sunrise at Cholla Cactus Garden in Joshua Tree!

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