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Day Trip Worthy?

Niagara Falls, NY
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Day Trip Worthy?

We are thinking of doing a day trip from Anaheim to the Mojave for a day with our 3.5 yr old son. Date would probably Jan. 30th. Any thoughts??

Los Angeles
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1. Re: Day Trip Worthy?

The Mojave Desert is a very big place. There are several ways to see it. Mojave National Preserve, Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley National Park are all within the Mojave.

Personally, I'd recommend Joshua Tree as the closest as well as perhaps the most beautiful (I know, I know, people can disagree all day on this one - Death Valley is fabulous, but *big* - too big to enjoy it truly in one day from Anaheim. Joshua Tree is much more do-able.

Joshua Tree has that "Living Desert" kind of quality with amazing rock formations (a good chance to watch rock climbers), a great interpretative center (and many short nature walks suitable for small children). Hazards include cholla cactus (which propel their barbs into your finger or hand if you touch) and mountain lions (rarely seen, but dawn and dusk sometimes bring them into the human sphere).

As a kid, the Mojave made a huge impression on me (but I wish my parents had limited it to a day, as I found the scenery monotonous after half a day or so). Here's a picture of a classic Joshua Tree scene:

…typepad.com/tripcart_the_blog/images/2007/0…

The Mojave National Preserve is a bit further from Anaheim and includes some great old Route 66 stops and a since of the deep desert that you won't soon forget.

San Francisco
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for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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2. Re: Day Trip Worthy?

If you had more time, we could make a variety of suggestions. But Cookie is right, Joshua Tree is the closest opportunity to actually experience the Mojave Desert. The fact is, much of Southern California is Mojave Desert. The Western U.S. deserts fall into four major regions distinguished by their elevation and characteristic plants: Great Basin (sagebrush), Mojave (Joshua tree), Sonoran (saguaro) and Chihuahan (ocotillo). The plant life overlaps, some of the desert regions overlap, and California has a little of all of them.

Check out the forums (or search if there's no individual forum) for specific places that might interest you (e.g. Joshua Tree National Park, Death Valley National Park, Death Valley Junction, Palm Springs, Anza-Borrego, etc.). You won't be able to go to some of them because of the distance, but you can pick up little info tidbits.

And be aware that the Mojave forum is not for the region, but for a town called Mojave located between Los Angeles and Death Valley. The town has little to interest visitors except as a stopover for motels, restaurants, and other services, and a gateway town to many of the natural and historic sites around the area. It has a place in history as the closest railroad station to Death Valley in the 1880s. Thus, the famous 20 Mule Teams that hauled borax from Death Valley brought it to Mojave for shipment to a plant near San Francisco for refining. There is a 20 Mule Team historic monument in front of the KFC on the main drag in Mojave, but that's not a reason for you to make this town a destination.

Santa Ana, CA
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3. Re: Day Trip Worthy?

Where ever you decide to go, start extremely early in the morning. There is tremendous traffic the first 30 miles out of Anaheim.

I vote for Joshua Tree National Park. I suggest getting onto Highway 62 to enter from the town of Twentynine Palms. This is where the visitor center is, and is the best place to start. Enjoy the wall murals around this town. Save some time to see Pioneertown just outside Yucca Valley before it gets dark. I assume you have a good map.

You'll see plenty of the Mojave Desert this day. Great weather too.

Mission Viejo...
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4. Re: Day Trip Worthy?

Frisco- Well, if you're an aviation nut there's a lot of interesting things in the town of Mojave....hundreds of airliners in storage (looks strange to see what looks like an international airport in the middle of the desert), lots of civilian aerospace test aircraft, and heaquarters for Virgin Galactic (Branson's space tourism venture).

If you're not into planes, then your comments are very true!

Uden, The...
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5. Re: Day Trip Worthy?

-Lol- Kenish

Another vote for Joshua Tree NP for a daytrip. Don't underestimate distances and traffic.

Tet

Pasadena, California
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6. Re: Day Trip Worthy?

Not that I am recommending it... but the town of Mojave and environs have some interesting oddities. If passing that way, for a weird experience drive thru the so-called "town" of California City.... some developer in the 60s had a dream of riches, and boy did it go wrong. Interesting to drive thru. Kind of a morality tale for the last couple of years.

Santa Ana, CA
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7. Re: Day Trip Worthy?

Yes, California City!

A year or two ago while Jeepin' in the desert I drove through this town specifically to show it to my wife. It's like driving through a dusty old black and white movie.

San Francisco
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8. Re: Day Trip Worthy?

California City--lol. I had passed by many times but never actually gone to see it until last year. It's quite a sight, isn't it. It just goes on and on, until it finally fades into creosote bush wilderness. If I ever get serious about writing The Great American Novel (and Kem Nunn hasn't already beat me to it), I may set it in Cal City, with forays out into Death Valley.

As for other places near the town of Mojave (not in, but nearby), there's Red Rock Canyon State Park. NOT to be mistaken for the Red Rock near Las Vegas. It's a small, less developed park with beautiful formations and colors (not only red).

And of course there is Randsburg, the semi-ghost town from early 20th century and some present-day mining (you can see a fairly big operation between Randsburg and 395). It's like being in your own Western movie, and better if you can spend a night there.

Pasadena, California
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9. Re: Day Trip Worthy?

Yes, FriscoRoadrunner, California City would be a great setting for a novel or a movie. Or a history of an idea gone wrong. Why don't those histories get written? It would be facinating to trace the combination of hubris, magical thinking, and other unknown elements that led to those huge avenues going nowhere, and the slowly fading "model homes". If you are interested...my husband, I believe, was there as a small boy in the late 50s or early 60s when this mad idea was germinating. The developer was flying prospective, um, "prospects", out there in a DC3. It was my husband's first flight, so he never forgot it. So when we were driving by that exit a few years ago, he had an "Oh my God!" moment, and we HAD to go explore. Surreal, isn't it?

Mission Viejo...
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10. Re: Day Trip Worthy?

As a kid growing up in the LA area, I recall the TV commercials for Cal City. They do have a nice airport and cafe there.

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