You can drive south of Las vegas on I15 to exit 272 to Cima. YOu already will see tons of Joshua Trees towards Cima. From Cima along the tracks of Union Pacific to Keslo and a stop at the depot/visitor center is recommended. You'll see Keslo dunes from there and on your way south to National Trails Hw (R66). Turn right to Amboy and Roy's Cafe. Then on Amboy road (Amboy Crater at a distance) through salt flats and you get to 29Palms after that. 29Palms has lots of murals. Turn left on 62 and right to Joshua Tree NP. Enter via its north entrance. Drive through Joshua Tree back to 62. Then to Palm Springs via Yucca Valley. In Yucca Valley is a side road to Pioneer Town, a movie set.
You easily can take all day for this drive depending on your time in Joshua Tree. The direct drive without Joshue Tree from Las Vegas to Palm Springs this way app will take 5 hours.
Thanks for the reply Tet.Edited: 8:00 am, April 06, 2012
Here are pictures of that same route.
Be sure to stop in at the depot to see the museum.Edited: 12:32 pm, April 06, 2012
Think the OP already has done this trip in april......
Fabulous insight and exactly the question I was going to post.
May I add two additional thoughts?
Also, any thoughts on things to see on the way from Palm Springs to Reno/Lake Tahoe? We'd like to avoid Yosemite since we'll be there over July 4th weekend and can only imagine the crowds.
Just curious C_F.... Have you ever made it to Barker Ranch??
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