Saturday, January 31, 2015

Winter Road Tripping – Lost Palms Oasis

In the waning hours of my two–week “2014 Winter SoCal Adventure” last month, fate offered up a gorgeous southern California Christmas Eve Day hike. Barely 20 miles up the interstate from my condo in Indio, I found exactly what I was looking for once more in the fan palm oases of Joshua Tree National Park.

The previous day, my first hike in the Park was to the oasis in Forty Nine Palms canyon (you can read about that adventure here). The geology of this second hike would prove to be quite different.

It is a seven–mile round trip hike out to Lost Palms Oasis. A side road from the Cottonwood visitor center leads to the trailhead at Cottonwood Springs, one of many oases located above a fault zone fissure where ground water finds its way to the surface. The trail took off from the springs and led into the western edge of the Eagle Mountains in the southeast corner of the park. Until the trail started down into Lost Palms canyon, the terrain was more open and less steep than yesterday.

Interestingly, the eroding outcrops of biotite–rich granodiorites and quartz diorites were nowhere near as megacrystic as the granitic rocks at Forty Nine Palms. Basalt xenoliths of various dimensions found themselves trapped within the granitic rocks. The spindly ocotillo, an indicator plant of the Colorado Desert in California, stood in stark silhouette against the gray winter sky. The pale blue Salton Sea shimmered in the distance against the hazy indigo mountains.

I thought I would do something a little different for this post, so I made a three–minute video using some of the pictures I took on the hike. I hope you enjoy it.

For the other posts from my “2014 Winter SoCal Adventure” click here and here.


  1. I love how the palm trees are in various stages of undress. Thanks, Nina!

    1. You are welcome. You do have quite a vivid imagination concerning these palm fronds, Judy!