Joshua Tree popularity promotes launch of new hiking site

When you eventually reach the top of Queen Mountain in Joshua Tree National Park, there is little more up there than a U.S. Geological Survey marker and a Boys Scout log book kept inside a black, plastic water-tight box. That, and the sort of quiet, breezy views of the vast high desert, this perch at 5,687 feet will most surely offer, all under the careful watch of a circling hawk.

Look out in the distance in one direction, you’ll see the Marine base and the town of Twentynine Palms; off in the other direction is the beautiful openness that is Joshua Tree National Park, nearly 800,000 acres big and home to more than 800 plant species, 40 reptile species, 41 mammal species, and 240 bird species.

Hiking, as an outdoor pastime, has ballooned in interest in the region as visitors look beyond the staples of golf and pool lounging. Tourism agencies like the Greater Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism recently launched a new hiking website to accommodate and grow this trend.

The hiking site, which is hikingingps.com, began production about a year ago and was launched a few weeks ago. It’s a searchable site that includes trails across the valley as well as those in areas like Idyllwild. You can narrow your search according to location, difficulty levels or even searching for dog-friendly trails.

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