Joshua Tree National Park: Keys View

Nestled within the remarkable expanse of Joshua Tree National Park lies a hidden treasure that promises visitors an awe-inspiring experience: Keys View. Located in the Little San Bernardino Mountains, Keys View is the perfect destination for those seeking breathtaking panoramic vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see.

To reach this stunning overlook, visitors can follow a winding, 20-minute drive from the Joshua Tree Visitor Center. The road takes you up into the mountains, and as you ascend, the views become increasingly captivating. When you reach the parking area, a short, paved trail leads you to an overlook area where you can take in the magnificent views.

What makes Keys View truly exceptional is the unobstructed, 180-degree view it offers. From this vantage point, you can see the mesmerizing blend of the Coachella Valley, the Salton Sea, the San Andreas Fault, and the rugged mountain ranges that define the park. The sight of the Salton Sea shimmering in the distance against the backdrop of the San Jacinto Mountains is particularly striking.

The best time to visit Keys View is during the late afternoon or early evening. As the sun begins its descent, the landscape comes alive with a warm, golden hue, and the shadows cast by the mountains create a breathtaking play of light and dark. Be sure to bring a camera to capture the magic of this moment, as Keys View is a popular spot for photographers.

Photo credit: Steven Buena

Photo credit: Steven Buena

Visitors should also be prepared for cooler temperatures at this elevation, so dressing in layers is advisable. Additionally, it's essential to respect the fragile desert ecosystem by staying on designated trails and taking all trash with you.

Keys View is not just a lookout point; it's a window into the grandeur of Joshua Tree National Park. Whether you're a nature lover, a photography enthusiast, or simply someone seeking solace and inspiration in the midst of awe-inspiring scenery, Keys View is an absolute must-visit destination within this iconic desert park.

Know Before You Go:

There’s no cell reception in certain parts of the park so make sure to download a map of the area ahead of time. I used the app called National Parks Pocket Maps, but there are others you can leverage. You can download maps ahead of time on Google Maps or Apple Maps.

Make sure your car is filled with gas as the last thing you want is to run out of gas in the desert.  

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