Southern California is a great place to live because it’s so close to many national parks. Miles, Nick, Lexi, and I left San Diego for Joshua Tree National Park on a Thursday around 3 pm. There was a little bit of traffic on I-15 as usual and we hit every stop light in Hemet. The drive was pretty neat because we could see Mt San Jacinto, which we were planning to hike on Saturday, along the highway. On I-10 there are hundreds of windmills which are fun to watch spinning.
An unusual green landscape
We arrived in Twentynine Palms around 6 pm and stopped at Pie for the People! for dinner. This pizza joint is tasty but expensive.
Once we finished dinner we headed into the park. Although we had a National Park Pass, we didn’t have to show it because there were no rangers at the gate.
View from our campsite
We stayed at Hidden Valley Campground which was $15 for the night. We didn’t bring a tent or sleeping bags since we thought Jtree in July would mean intense heat and no rain. We were very wrong. Around midnight a thunderstorm passed through and didn’t let up for over an hour. Luckily we ran for cover in the car just in time. Once the storm was over we lay a tarp on the ground and drifted into a half-sleep until about 5 am. All of the coyotes in the campground started howling which was terrifying.
Early morning moon
The next morning we packed up the campsite and headed out to do a little bit of bouldering.
Baby Joshua trees!
Nick and Miles climbed on Pothole Rock which had climbs from V-easy to V0. I found it pretty terrifying so I just watched and spotted.
Obligatory crash pad shot
After bouldering, we drove through the park to see Skull Rock.
Overall we were in Jtree for about 14 hours. I’d like to come back during the fall/winter months and do some more climbing.
We stayed at the Natural Bridge Campground and the Land of the Arches Campground during our week at the Red River Gorge.
Natural Bridge Campground, 90 L & E Railroad Place, Slade, KY 40376
Natural Bridge Campground is located less than a 1/2 mile from the Mountain Parkway in Slade, KY and has sites ranging from primitive to 30amp/50amp and water hook-up.
- $15 per night per campsite, a campsite can consist of 2 tents, 2 registered cars and 4 people, see the website for additional fees
- Bathrooms, showers, and wifi are included in the camping fee
- 35 private sites are available: primitive sites have a fire ring, electric sites have a picnic table, and field is available for tents
- Shelter available with electricity and picnic tables
- Firewood, ice, and snacks are available for purchase at the shelter
- Dump station available by the shelter
- Reservations available
- Catch-and-release fishing pond
- Quiet hours are from 10pm – 7am every day
Sea of tents in the field
We stayed here during Rocktoberfest. We pitched our tents in the open field since we didn’t make reservations for a private site. The private sites were right next to the vendor booths and crate stacking so I’m glad we were a little bit further away from the crowds. One of the women’s bathrooms was out of order for the entire weekend and the second was out of order after Saturday night. Mike used the showers and said they were warm with high pressure. The shelter is exposed on the sides. Natural Bridge Campground is far from the PMRP and Muir Valley. My experience is skewed due to the festival but I wouldn’t stay here again.
Land of the Arches Campground, 5150 KY 715, Campton, KY
Land of the Arches Campground has bathrooms with showers, has an indoor area to lounge in or “camp,” and is 5 minutes from Muir Valley and 15 minutes from the Motherlode and PMRP.
Things to Know:
- $5 per night per person for camping, $3 per person for showers only
- Showers and wifi are included in the camping fee
- Private and group sites are available. Most group sites have a picnic table and a fire ring.
- Game area / indoor camping for available. There are outlets, games (ping pong, Foosball), tables, and chairs for everyone to use.
- Picnic pavilion includes picnic tables and industrial sink with potable water
- Firewood is available for purchase on site at $5 for 10 pieces of wood
- The bathrooms are clean and have toilet paper. Some had soap. None had paper towels.
- Trash cans, recycling bins, and a compost are available by the pavilion
- Quiet hours are from 11pm – 7am every day
Our only picture of the campsite at Land of the Arches
We really enjoyed our time at Land of the Arches Campground. We had 5 people camping and were able to get a spot with a picnic table and fire ring. The site is relatively flat which was nice for our tents and stove. Everyone at the campground respected the quiet hours. This is an excellent campground for those who want a low-key Red River Gorge experience.