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Backpacker Magazine – December 2007

Three Southwestern Hikes to Test Your Senses

Joshua Tree, Zion, and the Guadalupe Mountains are three hike-worthy desert destinations.

by: Becky Womax


Joshua Tree National Park, CA
See the vibrant Mojave black-collared lizard en route to 49 Palms Oasis. From CA 62, 4 miles west of Twentynine Palms, take Canyon Road soauth to 49 Palms Oasis trailhead. The trail reaches water shaded by fan palms in 1.5 miles. (760) 367-5500; nps.gov/jotr

Guadalupe Mountains National Park, TX
Sniff the air around dry washes choked with prickly pear to find javelina herds. Drive 1.5 miles northeast from the visitor center on US 62; turn north at the Frijole Ranch trailhead. Hike the 2.3-mile Smith Spring loop through two oases. (915) 828-3251; nps.gov/gumo

Zion National Park, UT
Hear the song of canyon wrens inside Lower Zion Canyon. From behind the Watchman Campground station, follow a service road 1/3 mile and then a path 175 yards east to the Watchman trailhead. Then hike 2 miles and ascend 370 feet to a rocky bench. (435) 772-3256; nps.gov/zion




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