USA Travel Guide: Joshua Tree & Salvation Mountain | Little Grey Box

Hey you guys, Phoebe here from Little Grey Box with Matt behind the camera

Today we are in California on the west coast of the United States because we

are exploring Joshua Tree National Park


Named for the region's twisted bristled Joshua trees it straddles the Colorado

and Mojave deserts. Now you can expect to see great rock formations plenty of

hiking trails stark desert landscapes and over the next couple of days Matt

and I are going to be figuring out some of the best things to see do an eat in

Joshua Tree and Joshua Tree National Park

let's go...

We're starting our day off here at the Joshua tree Farmers Market in downtown Joshua Tree

Now it is held every Saturday from 8 am to 1 pm. It's definitely worth checking out I have

just picked up a beautiful punnet of strawberries the smell

you know when you get really good strawberries and you can smell them as you walk past

oh my gosh they are really really good

Alright, so we are having brunch at The Crossroads Cafe which is just across the street

from the market in downtown Joshua Tree

This place was packed, it's very popular so there was a short waitlist when we came in

you just add your name, sit there and they will call you over when your table is ready

the menu is amazing, there is so much good food on there it is not even funny

You get to try the local Joshua Tree Coffee Company coffee

I've gone for something called ‘Soy-Rizo’ Hash, Matt's gone the Breakfast Burrito, let's jump in a give this a go

Oh! That's really good.

Before your head into the park your first stop is going to need

to be here to the Visitor Center. Now there are two and we have come to the one

one located in Downtown. Now it was $30 for us to purchase our Parks Pass which

you absolutely must have if you're going to drive into Joshua Tree National Park

that $30 was for a single vehicle pass of course rates may change over years

so make sure you check the current rates. Now the advice that they have given us

in there as well is to make sure you are stocked up on plenty of fuel or gas of

course there's no petrol station in the National Park you're also going to need

plenty and plenty of water we are about to go up to the general store over there

and stock up take your snacks make sure you've got sunscreen, hats everything you

need to stay safe while you're out there hiking

I hope we see all of these woodland friends

I want to see them all, I want to see

that one and that one... that one I really want to see that one, THAT ONE!

Not so much that one

Matt: what is a woodland friend?

A woodland friend is a creature that lives out in the woodlands

and you can be friends

It's the collective name for cute animals that you don't know the name of

Our first stop here in Joshua Tree National Park after entering through the west entrance

is to the Choya Cactus Garden, now this area

it must have taken about an hour or so to drive here and it's our furthest point

for today. There aren't too many people here and I really like it so you won't

see any Joshua trees here but you will see lots of Choya Cactus

there's some boardwalks, some lovely paths to follow along just make sure you are

dressed appropriately you've got your closed in shoes and don't rub against

any of the Choya Cactus those spines I am told are very very difficult and painful

to get out but this is beautiful we've got mountains in the background the

valley down there behind us and it's just a lovely starting point for today

(sexy cactus-loving music)

Our second stop is at Arch Rock now to get here you go to the white tank

campground you want to make your way to campsite number nine and there is a path

there it's really easy it must be like a half mile loop it isn't signed terribly

well the path so don't go too far Matt and I just kept walking straight

and went way past it so it is just a kind of a loop and then you will come

past the arch it's actually really easy going the whole time you here you're

gonna need those closed in shoes but it's a beautiful area and after

you've done the arch rock up there you want to come down work your way through

these big granite boulders and through here where you can see all these river

like systems behind me, this is just stunning and just as worth visiting as Arch Rock

(more sexy granite rock music)

You cannot miss Skull Rock it is a couple of meters off the side of the road and

the best viewing platform is right from here so you kind of lean against a rock

opposite it. I was kind of worried how would we go getting around Joshua Tree

National Park you know you do get a map but how easy is it to find your way is

it easy to spot the spots where you're meant to turn and get off and stop to

look at things. It's a really well signed, finding your way around is really

easy the roads are really well done you guys we've had no trouble navigating so

don't worry if navigating isn't your strong suit

Here we have a Joshua Tree you guys and it is so beautiful now these trees are

protected under state law and it is illegal to damage them in any shape or form

so do not climb on them, do not sit on them

do not hang a hammock off them or anything at all that could disturb them

they only grow here in the Mojave Desert and they are extremely slow growing

If you're lucky they may grow five or six centimetres per year! If you do want to

come and see them it's a really good idea to do it sooner than later because

unfortunately due to climate change they are not being replaced by new ones as

they used to be so we may see a decline in numbers in the future. Now where you

might find an oak tree has rings around it and is a really solid tree inside

these are actually fibrous. Matt and I have been pulling over to snap a few photos and

just admire them from a distance I've never seen anything quite like them they

are stunning

Each year from February through to April and even into May when we're visiting

now you're going to see the desert come alive with wild flowers there are so

many different kinds they're so so beautiful you can pick up guide books or

just do some researching on the internet before you come there are some great

websites which will tell you what the different kinds of flowers are you guys

we have seen some beautiful ones I love wildflowers I cannot get enough of them

these ones catch my eye every time I see them I love that bright magenta color

So we are visiting Joshua Tree on the back of our San Diego trip now you could get

here I would say as a road trip obviously either from San Diego

you could also come from LA or if you are having a wild weekend in Vegas or

just a fun trip to Vegas and wanted to tack on a National Park that's the way to do it

Now when it comes to getting around

we were driving a sort of a hatchback sedan around San Diego but felt like we

wanted something bigger to be getting around the National Parks with

In hindsight, I guess we probably didn't need it a small car would have been fine you

don't have to worry about springing for a GPS if you don't want to pay for the

extra cost Matt and I... I've told you before we use a free app it's called It's totally free, just download it. Make sure you have your Joshua Tree,

San Diego, LA Maps loaded so that you can navigate your way around and you should

have no trouble whatsoever


So I've heard the Pappy and Harriet's which is actually technically located

in Pioneertown is a must-do when you're in Joshua Tree they're meant to have

great food and great live music let's go inside and check it out

So we've had a little bit of a fail.

When we got there the person at the front door said that there

would be a cover charge of $12 each to get in which is not a problem at all

so I just went inside to the ATM got out some money and we paid our money and

then were given our wristbands and were told it was an hour and a half wait to eat

If I'm really honest with you I just felt that maybe... maybe the front house staff

were a little bit snippy with us and I don't particularly fancy paying that

amount of money and then waiting an hour and a half for a little bit of attitude

shall we say so... I don't know, maybe if you booked a table it would be different

definitely if it seems like the kind of thing that you're into you

should definitely come and check it out and let me know if you have a different

experience to us but we're gonna go and find somewhere else to have dinner and end our day today

So we have come here to the Joshua Tree Saloon we've got this

delicious Californian blonde beer fantastic... our meals combined

were $21, the cover charge was $24 dollars at the other place

chips amazing, let's try this Garden Goodness veggie burger thing

I put a lot of hot sauce on there it came flying out the bottle

Phoebe: That was so good. The beer was fantastic I really recommend the Saloon I really

really enjoyed that I would come back. Good food at good prices, good beer what

more can you possibly want. Now Matt and I are gonna head back to our Airbnb

Avenue Polaris, and we gonna get the fire started

Guys we were trying to get the fire started and Matt couldn't do it but

guess who could? I am the fire starter, I am the fire....

Matt: I loosened it up for her

You did! I just have a

have a natural gift with fire I really wanted a place with an outdoor

fireplace just so we could make the most and I'm so glad we did this is so good

This is our Airbnb, Avenue Polaris Now you guys it is a really really really

good size we have all of this lounging space over here so you can sit in a few

different spots you're not just confined to the bed. The bathroom is fantastic and the

guy who runs the place, the host has just been amazing. Now when we were first

looking at accommodation options my first instinct was to get on a hotel

booking website. The options that I found made my stomach turn

there was some really rough looking hotels and then I quickly realized that

Airbnb was going to be the best option for us and it seems to be the go-to for

out here. Now if you are on a super super tight budget or just in the mood for

more adventure you can actually camp in Joshua Tree National Park so there are

spots that you can pull up your RV there are tented sites as well and I gotta say

after seeing them it would actually be really cool I mean some of the sites are

surrounded by those huge stones those huge boulders you know you've got a

little fire pit that you can use they have a grill I think it would actually

be really cool to camp out there


Alright so we slept in a little bit today because we were really tired and

then we went to go and grab some lunch at The Natural Sister's Cafe now when we got

there it was packed. By the time we lined up and decided what we wanted to

eat then got a seat the food was ready quite quickly. It seems to me to be all

vegetarian food and it was so delicious really huge portions again

like really big wraps and salads and hearty Bean Chili's and things like that

it was so so good and really well priced for what it is I couldn't finish all mine

so I've got half of mine to go. Oh and the smoothies and coffee are fantastic too

So I definitely recommend Natural Sisters

In 1946, Pioneertown was founded

by a group of Hollywood investors now they dreamed of creating an old-west set

that was also a cool town that people could visit and in the 1940s and 50s

over 50 films and television shows were filmed here and it is still used today

and you do have a few little shops around the area here I would say it's

not like a huge drawcard, there's not a lot to see and do but if you're out

here is J Tree why not come out and see it

Barker Dam is a short loop from the car park now it is going to take you through

these beautiful boulders on either sides actually a really really nice walk now

obviously being a desert it's not going to be full but it is nice to see a

different side to the area you know there's some cute little lizards you've

got the big dam wall here there's reflections bouncing off the water and

the light is stunning so I definitely recommend because we've really enjoyed this one

Hidden Valley is also a really short but beautiful loop and I have to

say of all the trails we've done of all the things we've seen I think this one

could be my favourite you kind of come through some rocks and... we've seen a lot of rocks

But you come through some rocks

and then these huge big towering ones by your side but you've still got some nice

open spaces lots of greenery it kind of takes your breath away this spot in

particular is really really beautiful and apparently it was used by castle...

cas...cattle rustlers! It was used by cattle rustlers because you could hide the

cattle in here away from prying eyes and what we did was we waited a little bit

between our last stop and this one we just wanted the sun to go down a

little bit so we've got some of that golden light and got to see it in a

different way because so far all we've really seen is that broad daylight

middle of the day kind of stuff so it is really nice to see it like this in the

golden afternoon light now if you are into stargazing this kind of area is

perfect for it you guys maybe you're into night photography that long exposure

astro kind of work you should definitely come out to the National Park and do

that because it is phenomenal

Good morning you guys we've just woken up from another fantastic sleep in

Idon't know what that bed is made of it is like magical. Both Matt and I have just been

out like a light and then sleeping through the night it has been so so

relaxing out here I think also because it's so peaceful and quiet I mean this

is literally the only house on the street now you know I always like to

look for the lesson in every adventure we have and yeah... the lesson for this trip

it just kind of came from a conversation that Matt and I were having yesterday so

let me just quickly tell you the background story behind it if you saw

our Tokyo videos you would have seen that we had one particularly wild night

out and there was this guy that was on out drinking tour that we did a bar

crawl and his name was... well we started calling him Big K, Big KeV and he was a

lot older than the rest of us I would say he was maybe late six.. oh no early

60s maybe late 50s and he was just a sweetheart of a man just a lovely lovely

man and he was there solo for work and his wife had encouraged him and said

you know go and do a bar crawl you know live your life honey have some

fun so there he was and he was really nervous I think he was a little bit

intimidated that everybody else was younger and he was a little bit older

and he felt a little out of place he kept making reference to his age anyway

the night went on and we all just got really really hammered and we came out

of this bar and Big K was just the life of the whole event he was there on the

side of the street drinking tequila and cokes straight from a jug that maybe I

had maybe lifted from the karaoke bar and he was so happy and he came over and

he just was beaming and he said to me he's like wow thank you so much you know

I haven't had a wild night out like this since college and I thought these kinds

of things were behind me in my life I didn't think I had this anymore I

thought this was over and Matt and I were talking about that I'm that story

yesterday and it just made me realize that you know here we are driving

through Joshua Tree National Park and there was a time when it felt like I

wouldn't get to travel and I wouldn't get to see the world or I didn't deserve

it I wasn't worthy enough it wasn't something that could happen to me my

lifestyle you're working an office job 9:00 to 5:00 and only having

four weeks and you'll leave it would never lend itself to doing these things

and I guess at the time I didn't realize that my best adventures were still to

come and that is so true for everybody your best adventures are ahead of you

and it is taken five years for me to get to the point where this is my life and I

get to do these things but it took one second to make the decision that I

wasn't happy and I wanted to change so don't ever feel like your best days are

behind you you know you could be like me you could be like Big K and your best

adventures are always ahead of you you just have to hustle hard for them so we

are about to jump in the car and head to Salvation Mountain and Slab City now

these are two places that we've wanted to visit for quite a while now

Salvation Mountain should be fine Slab City we're a little bit unsure about

I've done some research there are all different kinds of things on the

internet some people say because of its lawlessness that it is unsafe I'm always

of the opinion that it's best to make those decisions for yourself obviously I

will take that information under advice I'm not gonna do anything silly but I do

believe that sometimes places that you want to visit like Johannesburg we visited

Johannesburg had no trouble loved every single moment out of it did it the right

way did it the safe way and we were fine So, I hate the idea that people don't

visit places because we're told to be scared of it until you go for yourself

you don't know if that's true so we are going to go and check out Slab City and

see what it's all about Time for another road triiiiippppp!

A few hours drive from Joshua Tree and we were feeling a little bit hungry now

we had grabbed some food from Natural Sisters Cafe, to go, and decided that stopping

here at the Salton Sea would be the perfect place for lunch and this is a

really nice spot just to sit and eat now the Salton Sea is actually really

interesting isn't actually a sea it's a lake and it was caused by some severe

flooding from the Colorado River in the late 1800s but here's the problem it

actually has no outlet or Inlet so it doesn't flow out to the ocean like many

lakes do. It is something like 50% saltier than your regular ocean

We made it to Salvation Mountain you guys this place is incredibly beautiful

it's so weird to see photos of it or see it in movies and then come here

and actually be here it's a surreal experience with both Matt and I now

Salvation Mountain was made by local resident Leonard Knight who very sadly

passed away in 2014 but Leonard made this as a tribute to his spiritual

beliefs and the message is simple: 'God is love'. It doesn't matter what religion

you practice even if you aren't spiritual I believe that message is so

powerful no matter what

Now if you've seen the movie 'Into the Wild you've

probably heard of Slab City. It came to be after the US Marine Corps abandoned

Fort Dunlap now in 1956 they dismantled the buildings but they left the concrete

slabs behind and the area became a haven for those looking to get off the grid

now in the cooler winter months it swells to around 4000 residents also

known as 'snowbirds'. There is no running water, no electricity, no sewage, nothing

like that so the residents here they have to depend on themselves and they

have come up with some pretty unique ways to survive now the way I understand

it is it's a lawless community in the sense that there are no taxes utility

bills or anything like that the police I believe don't police the area it is all

done by the residents themselves and what's really interesting is that it's a

haven for those who don't fit into traditional society or those normal

societal areas and I think that's such an important thing to have I mean

there's nothing wrong with not fitting into normal society everybody deserves a

place in this world everybody deserves to feel at home to feel comfortable to

feel loved and if Slab City provides that for people then I am all for it

Now as I understand it there are some rules that residents abide by and not thieving

from each other is one of them so if you are caught stealing from another

resident then you will be run out of town by everybody although there isn't

such a like intense vigilante justice it's just 'Hey you did the wrong thing

you're no longer welcome in our community' which is really really

fantastic. There's also a bit of a trade kind of

community going on so maybe you have something to offer

people, maybe you're really good at jimmying solar power or you know a desert shower

and then you can trade that with other people so this is definitely a community

spirit there and I find that so fascinating so interesting and so

refreshing and like I said it's lovely to see everybody find their own place in

today's society carve out your own area find somewhere you can feel accepted and

loved and welcome now we are going to jump the car and see if we can just do a

bit of a drive down there I actually didn't see a sign on the side of

the road there's a guy who put a sign in and he says he does guided tours and all you

have to do is just call him to get him to come and do it with you but we don't

have a cellphone that works here so we can't take him up on that but if I did

have a cellphone that worked here I'd be very interested to do a guided tour with him

we are just gonna see if we can have a little bit of drive and a look ourselves


Thank you so much for watching you guys I hope you enjoyed this video now if you

don't already be sure to subscribe and say hello in the comments below have a

great weekend and I will see you next week

Love ya!