Joshua trees are ubiquitous throughout most of Joshua Tree National Park, but you won’t find them on this trail. The elevation is a bit too low for the spiky yuccas. Taking their place is a wealth of low-desert flora: the towering palms, spiky barrel cactus, and clusters of brittlebrush, a shrub with silvery green leaves and a yellow, daisy-like flower.
The trail follows sections of an old Native American pathway, climbing up and over a small ridge and then curving around to the palm grove, gaining and losing about 300 feet/91 meters in elevation. At trail’s end, towering California fan palms form a canopy over a trickling spring and clear pools. Palm oases like this one require a constant water supply, so they occur along geologic fault lines where underground water is forced to the surface. This green, vibrant spot is critically important as a watering hole for native desert bighorn sheep and coyotes, as well as birds—look for orange-and-black hooded orioles, especially when palm berry-like fruit ripens.