A Desert Delight: Hiking Camelback Mountain*Scottsdale AZ

Camelback Mountain:   Elevation: 2707 feet  Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Paradise Valley area  DIRECTIONS
An adventure in the desert mountains is an exciting venture to take on. Then add the heat element of 109 degrees to the equation and you have a challenge.

As we ponder the idea of possibly making Arizona our home, we wanted to visit the desert as often as possible throughout the Summertime, and try to get a grasp of what life would be like living there during this time of the year.
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So we set out to hiking Camelback Mountain on a lovely hot weekend in June.

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Our road trip to Arizona went very smooth and was an enjoyable ride. We had our car prepared and ready to drive through the heat and here is my previous blog article I wrote about prepping for a weekend roadtrip. We awoke around 6:30am and enjoyed the morning as we ate breakfast, showered, and prepared for our morning hike.

We soon found out, however, that our morning hike didn’t start early enough as the thermometer proceeded to rise quickly by 10am. We set out with our water jugs, backpack and cameras for the hiking journey.  Take a look at our recap video as we take on Camelback Mountain. Check out the trail terrain, the boulder rock path climbing, and some awesome views!

This hiking trail is so very cool and interesting as it offers lots of variety and climbing as well as smoother easier parts on the trails. From trees to cactus, and rock stair switchbacks to boulder rocks, its got lots of variety.

Here are some more highlights of this incredible hiking trail.

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There are some advantages to hiking the desert in the Summer as you have significantly less crowds to deal with. And it is a good idea to wear gloves for protection from the hot railings and rocks when you need to use them to assist in climbing and balance.
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However, the Fall and Winter seasons would be perfect weather to hike this trail but be prepared to encounter crowded paths. This hike is also a cardio workout, and can be risky hiking in the hot summer months (heat exhaustion / heat stroke); so plan accordingly. (At least a gallon of water per person.)


Interesting bit of history:  A cave discovered on the north side of Camelback Mountain indicates that it was used as a sacred site by the prehistoric Hohokam Culture before they abandoned the area in the 14th century (Source: Wikipedia)

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Sunset in Chandler, AZ

Go outside and explore! Life Maximized!

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California Dreaming Series |Palm Springs

When you hear the words ‘Desert Oasis’ what comes to mind? The first thing that comes to my mind is Palm Springs. The quaint, quiet little desert town nestled in the middle of the Sonoran desert.

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It’s a place known for its hot springs, golf courses, and spas. Many Hollywood stars also made it their getaway place and built additional homes in a particular area east of Palm Canyon Drive, calling it “The Movie Colony.” (Source: Wikipedia.com)

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The walkway decor at the info center for Marriott at Shadow Ridge Golf Course

The Palm Springs area has been the filming location for numerous films and TV shows but this is not the reason of which it draws my sweetheart and I to frequently visit. It’s a place great for a weekend getaway or simply a perfect one day road trip. We have done both and here are a few of our experiences.

We love the tranquility, the peaceful feel, and the enjoyable hiking trails.


We’ve been lucky enough to live only a short distance from the beautiful desert oasis.
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This makes for a perfect one day road trip getaway with usually only a 2 and half hour drive one way.

Hiking: Art Smith Trail

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This hiking trail will leave you with feelings of wow and awe as it is rated as difficult and the complete trail distance is 12.2 miles and is 2641 feet high.


However, the first couple miles are a gradual climb and mostly easy trail paths. We hiked about 2 miles the day we explored this trail and enjoyed the quiet, serene landscape, and the scenic views overlooking Palm Springs area.


Art Smith trail is located in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains. There is a visitor center located directly across highway 74, which has a vast array of information and another hiking trail. This is at the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center

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Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center

Shadow Ridge Golf Club

The Shadow Ridge Golf Club formerly was associated with former PGA Golf Pro Nick Faldo, and is the home of Marriott villas and resort club.


We’ve spent time using the golf practice facility and would hit and chip balls for the entire day for fee of about $20. We’ve also stayed in one of the villas and thought they were quite exceptional.

La Quinta Resort and SpaLearn more

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From a rejuvenating massage to lingering in the pool, this place will have you saying wow. I felt renewed, relaxed, and rejuvenated after the day I spent here.


The grounds at La Quinta Spa are just as enticing as the services! The relaxing patio and lounge area used for those who are awaiting their treatment, or the adult swimming pool area to take a dip and cool down on a steamy afternoon.


Then you can slip into the jacuzzi spa to unwind at your maximum potential to top off your day.

The spa hot tub area.
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All the while I am at the spa relaxing and indulging myself, my husband is enjoying a round of golf.  Located in LaQuinta, California near Palm Springs, the PGA West by Greg Norman is located a short distance away from the resort and spa. Golf learn more.

Art Galleries in Nature: Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden
This beautiful garden is full of scenic colorful settings together with sculpture art displays. With an easy lighted pathway that leads to various areas where you can sit on a bench and relish the moment, this is a perfect place to appreciate some culture, art and history. Take a look:


Tranquil waterfall and sculpture.

Beautifully colored designed pathways.


Dining: Maracas

Although we are not really what you would call foodies, we do enjoy our favorite dining place. Maracas offers delicious entrees as well as drinks, free chips and salsa, and a very friendly atmosphere. The staff are extremely attentive and friendly! This is where we dine every time we visit Palm Springs area. I do have food sensitivities and Maracas has never caused a problem for me, I do order my food dish without cheese, and the food appears to be fresh and quality.

So if you are in the mood for a weekend getaway or just a one day road trip, depending on where you live; then you should visit Palm Springs area. You might consider an experience to Palm Springs at least once. Directions to Palm Springs

*The comments mentioned within this piece are solely based on my opinion and experiences only.

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A Journey Through Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is located approximately 140 miles east of Los Angeles and a short distance to neighboring Palm Springs area. This protected land is comprised of vegetated high desert and low desert making up this extraordinary national park.
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This park has many interesting and diverse parts that will appeal to any exploring hiker.

Much of this land expands across both the Colorado and Mojave Deserts and is home to a variety of species living in this desert ecosystem. Here are a few of the living residents of this amazing national park:

Big Horn Sheep
Chuckwalla
Cactus wren
Beavertail cactus
Greater roadrunner
Desert tortoise
Desert iguana

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Vegetation includes:
Joshua trees
Prickly pear cactus
Hedgehog cactus
Juniper
Scrub oak
Mojave yucca
Cholla cactus
and many more.

Our day of exploration at the park was on National Public Lands day so we enjoyed an entry fee free day. The next fee free day at the parks is November 11, Veterans Day. As we continue our journey through this park, we were more amazed the further we went. The beauty, quiet, serene, and peaceful ora of the desert is intoxicating.

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Big Horn Sheep
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Barker Dam Hiking Trail

We were lucky enough to also spot some big horn sheep and capture them wandering around near the Barker Dam area of the park.

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Some of the key points of interest that you may wish to explore on your visit to Joshua Tree National Park are listed here:

⭐️Quail Springs
⭐️Keys Ranch
⭐️Barker Dam
⭐️Hidden Valley
⭐️Keys View
⭐️Ryan Mountain
⭐️Lost Horse Mine
⭐️Geology Road Tour
⭐️Cholla Cactus Garden
⭐️Cottonwood Spring
⭐️Indian Cove

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Joshua Tree   fitlifeandtravel.com

Barker Dam Trail

Check out the hiking trail at Barker Dam: a short, easy pleasant trail to the historical dam. And wow those boulders and rock formations are incredible!


Skull Rock Trail


Hidden Valley

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Hidden Valley Camping area

Camping is also allowed and the sites are located near impressive boulders and lovely trails, this particular site is located at Hidden Valley; this area was where a cattle rustlers hideout was.

Views throughout the park:

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Quiet, serene and peaceful surroundings.


Silver Bell Mine

Cholla Cactus Garden
This garden is comprised of jumping cholla, so you do need to be careful and cautious as you stroll this attraction. It is a bit mesmerizing as the endless number of cholla cactus dominate this particular area of the park.

The cholla cactus (jumping cholla) with its barbed spine, are known to attach to skin, fur, and clothing.

The day we tipped toe through this garden, a female in the group in front of us ended up with a cholla spine in her shoe, and it appeared to go all the way through the rubber sole of her shoe.

Another side note; be cautious of bees near and around the cholla cactus garden area.
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Here is a bit more information you should know before you visit Joshua Tree National Park:
1.There is no cell phone service in the majority of the park.
2.Stay away from abandoned mines.
3.Carry at least one gallon of water per person per day.
4.Flash floods are a danger; avoid drainage areas during and after thunderstorms
5.Do not climb unless you are properly trained and equipped. (Rock climbing is allowed).
6.Pets are prohibited on the trails and beyond 100 feet from any park road, campground, or picnic area.
7.Off-road driving is prohibited.
Some camping sites are available at a first come, first serve basis; visit www.recreation.gov to learn more. Campgrounds are usually full on the weekends from October through May. Check out the website to plan your next visit.

Joshua Tree National Park directions.
74485 National Park Drive
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277
760-367-5500
www.nps.gov/jotr

The desert may not be high on your list of places to see and visit, but Joshua Tree National Park may change your mind. It is incredible how this desert land teaches us about adaption as these animals, plants, and landscapes adapt to the summer 100 plus degree temperatures, relentless sun, and so little water. That is impressive in my book.

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