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Soaking Up the California Desert

Soaking Up the California Desert
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Reinvigorate yourself both spiritually and physically on an adventure that explores desert national parks and small towns. With spring-fed mineral pools, epic landscapes, and occasional glimpses of the desert’s creative and eccentric side, this trip will leave you energized and inspired.

Trip Time: 3–4 days
Total Distance: 353mi/567km

Desert Hot Springs. Get pampered with a clay and sandalwood wrap, then dip into mineral pools at The Spring Resort & Spa . With décor out of Marrakesh, El Morocco Inn & Spa offers soothing, exotic escapes. INFO 329-6403;

Landers (36mi/58km; 49min). Take a healing “sound bath” at the Integratron , a domed structure said to have rejuvenating powers. INFO 760/365-5464;

Joshua Tree (25mi/40km; 36min). Escape to soulful, eco-friendly Sacred Sands Bed & Breakfast near the Joshua Tree National Park entrance. Pick up a box lunch for a desert picnic at Ricochet . INFO 760/366-3723;

Joshua Tree National Park (17mi/27km; 20min). Take a drive through the park and be inspired by the desert panorama at Keys View . Savor healthy gluten-free and vegan dishes at Natural Sisters Café (61695 29 Palms Highway; 760-366-3600). INFO 760/366-3723;

Amboy (50mi/80km; 1hr9min). Climb to the top of Amboy Crater , a National Natural Landmark, for expansive Mojave views. Pick up snacks and souvenirs at Roy’s , a Route 66 landmark. INFO 760/253-4782;

Kelso (42mi/68km; 56min). Attend a ranger talk and see art exhibits at Mojave National Preserve’s Kelso Depot Visitor Center . Drive up Kelso Cima Road and hike Teutonia Peak Trail on Cima Dome—home to the world’s largest Joshua tree forest. INFO 760/253-4782;

Baker (63mi/101km; 1hr3min). Behold the world’s tallest thermometer, then dine on gyros, hummus, and other Mediterranean specialties at The Mad Greek (72112 Baker Blvd.; 760-733-4354). INFO 760/253-4782;

Tecopa (54mi/86km; 1hr6min). Chill out in the hot spring mineral baths at remote and rustic Tecopa Hot Springs Resort . Fill up on fresh dates and baked goods at China Ranch Date Farm . INFO 760/852-4420;

Death Valley Junction (35mi/56km; 44min). Experience the artistic vision of dance legend and painter Marta Becket during performances at historic Amargosa Opera House . INFO 760/852-4420;

Death Valley National Park (31mi/51km; 51min). See the Lower 48’s highest peak (Mt. Whitney) and lowest point (Badwater) from Dante’s View . Wake up early for the inspiring, world-famous sunrise at Zabriskie Point. INFO 760/786-3200;


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