In Yucca Valley, California, there’s a park called North Park – but let’s get to the subject of North Park a little later, by starting with South Park – which is also in Yucca Valley. This has nothing to do with the famous cartoon, South Park. This park existed long before the cartoon and it’s very special. What makes South Park so unique is that its particular 40 acres are on the south side of Yucca Valley, bordering Joshua Tree National Park. Many people love to take their dogs on hikes, but for the most part no dogs or pets are allowed in any national park, national monument or state park. South Park is wonderful because you can take your dog or your horse on a half mile loop trail to the South Park Peak. The trail rises to a prominent 4,395 foot hill at the north edge of the Little San Bernardino Mountains, just outside the northwest corner of Joshua Tree National Park. Its summit may be reached by an easy climb of 230 feet, starting at a parking area shared with the High View Trail, just within the national park, which makes this a great gateway to Joshua Tree National Park.
The Peak Trail leads you to wildflowers, and also to open slopes burnt in a recent wildfire and so lacking any large vegetation. It does however deliver fine views from its summit, looking over Black Rock Canyon to the south, the town of Yucca Valley to the north, and across to higher mountains in most directions. The trail can be completed in a little more than an hour.
Now let’s talk of North Park, which some might call South Park’s alter ego. Why alter ego? While South Park is a gateway to a lot of desert exploring, North Park is the gateway to mountain exploring. Yucca Valley has a unique location – it’s right between the desert and the mountains. So at its northern end, North Park borders the San Bernardino National Forest, while at the town’s southern side, South Park lies right next to Joshua Tree National Park. South of Yucca Valley, which sits at 3400 feet, you can access high and low desert all the way down to the Salton Sea with its elevation below sea level, and north you could travel all the way to the mountains of Big Bear, and to Mt. San Gorgonio, sited at 11,503 feet within the Sand to Snow National Monument.
North Park sits on 80 acres on the northwest side of Yucca Valley. This park borders the San Bernardino County Mountains and has fallen into disrepair due to accessibility issues. The town of Yucca Valley has now purchased 10 acres of land that will open access to this beautiful area. It will most likely have a small parking area and the rest will be left in its natural state with the exception of hiking trails yet to be created. We can look forward to more information in the future and I’m sure there will be a grand opening sometime after improvements are completed.
Below is a map of the area which shows the 5 mile distance between the two parks.
Below are some pictures of both parks and the official data of each park (North Park prior to the property purchase) from the Yucca Valley’s website.
It’s very exciting for animal lovers to be able to bring their pets out hiking, but please remember not to venture out on days too hot or too cold, and bring plenty of water for yourself and your pet.
Take It Easy,