Thursday, December 21, 2017

Face Rock Hike

There really is a "Face Rock" in Joshua Tree National Park. This time I didn't make up the name! I had seen photos of Face Rock but never seen it live. After a little research, it looked to me to be a very short and easy hike (famous last words). Just a short distance from the main highway, then loop around some rocks, and with any luck at all, we should be able to find it. It looked fairly flat in satellite view. Here's proof.
Just park in the paved turnout and follow those red arrows. What could be easier? I talked my wife and granddaughter into coming with me, promising a short and easy hike, and off we went.

See the steep hill above leading to the notch between the rock formations? That's red arrow #2 on the map, and as it turns out, not flat at all! I've learned this lesson many times now: Reality (on the ground) looks very different from satellite view on a computer screen! On we marched, albeit slowly and carefully.



This area is full of interesting and beautiful rock formations. The three photos (above) were taken in the red arrow #2 and #3 sections of the map.

More pretty rock formations. This would have been near red arrow #4 (looking north). As we continue to the left (west), there is a steep descent down to a wash (red arrow #5). Once in the wash, there is a small trail marker (easy to miss) pointing the way to Face Rock.

Do you see it yet? I know (at the time) I didn't see it. Like many rock formations, things change dramatically depending on the light (time of day) and viewing angle).

There it is! Face Rock, impossible to miss when viewed from this angle. But worth noting that as we continued walking along the wash, the face quickly disappeared. It must be viewed from a specific area to clearly see the face.

A square crop makes the face even more prominent. Is that a smile?

B&W version. And yes, definitely a sly smile!!

Time for a quick break! At this point, granddaughter is running circles around grandma and grandpa!

Onward!!
The little hiker.


A little Photoshop fun... my wife enjoying the moonrise!

If you want to hike to Face Rock and you are looking for the shortest possible route, you can either take the approach outlined here, or even easier, follow the wash up from the highway. That way you avoid circling back behind the large rock formation, but you will miss some pretty scenery! Actually, the preferred approach would be to hike the awesome Split Rock Loop Trail (about 2.5 miles give or take), and watch for the side-trail hike to Face Rock. But perhaps not if you have a 5 year old with you!!

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season!!
Oh, and happy winter solstice if your are in the northern hemisphere.
Linking with Skywatch Friday. Thanks for stopping by!

43 comments:

  1. Hello, the Face Rock is cool. Love the rock formations and landscapes. You moon edit is awesome. Your granddaughter is so cute. Great photos. Merry Christmas to you and your family. Have a happy holiday weekend!

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  2. Loved your shots and story!! Actually, image #4 from the top also looks like a face of a leper, perhaps. Quite amazing that your granddaughter goes along on your hikes [and evidently enjoys them]. Merry Xmas!

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  3. I love your adventures. That is indeed a great face.

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  4. That looks like a wonderful hike....and the skies...oh, my!

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  5. Your granddaughter is so lucky to have such adventures with Gramps!!

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  6. It's a lovely area. That face is so distinct from that angle. I name rocks all the time when I hike!

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  7. Yes it is a smile - sorta of a 'gotcha' smile ;) Great captures of the face rock. (you still have time for another Christmas gift for your wife and granddaughter for agreeing to a simple hike)

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  8. You are lucky to have family who goes with you on some of these walks.Beautiful rock formations.

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  9. Beautiful place to hike. Wonderful rock formations.

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  10. The profile view of the face rock does it! Wow! Also beautiful skies And the view of the upcoming moon is magical
    Sorry I didn't get to your comment last week - too many distractions to blog well these day:) Nice to have some company with you on this trip Wishing a merry Christmas to you and yours!

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  11. Very cool and unusual, for me the 3rd one almost looks like it has teeth.

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  12. What wonderful shots of your hike!

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  13. He looks a very benign and cheerful old fellow. Is your hiking guide with you for Christmas? She looks just the right age to fully enjoy the festivities.

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  14. another great discovery in the desert. I agree with one of the previous comments: your granddaughter is so lucky to have such adventures with Grandparents!!

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  15. Great face in that rock and the landscape is again incredible beautiful as always. I appreciate much that you show it to us.

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  16. Lovely shots. Thanks for taking us along, too.

    I think it's more a smirk.

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  17. Your images are beyond beautiful, like jaw dropping!
    Loved seeing the face rock.. way cool.
    Hope you have a very merry Christmas, my friend.

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  18. The face is amazing with a great smile. Some of those large rocks look precarious. I hope they don't fall and block the trail.

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  19. Well at least old rock face is smiling. Happy you found him.
    MB

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  20. Marvelous rock formations and photos and your little grand daughter steals the show! She is beautiful!

    Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year to you all,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

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  21. Such splendid images and adventures! Yours is a do no miss blog!

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  22. I love the photos but seeing it in person must be amazing!

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  23. Amazing, what we can see in rocks (and clouds) it really did look like a face - with bright red rock like someone who has a cold! Achoo?

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  24. Merry Christmas Peter and Happy 2018 to you and yours! Lovely post and thank you for the special gift of that last picture. It is perfect. I definitely see the Mona Lisa-like smile on that rock. And oh my goodness, that satellite map LIES!! It definitely isn't an easy walk (except for your granddaughter!).

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  25. Face Rock is an interesting formation. Thanks for sharing.

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  26. wow amazing. Nice to read about Face Rock. Awesome photos.
    Merry Christmas to you & your family.

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  27. That's a beautiful landscape ! I love it rocky, very special !

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  28. These rocks are fantastic !
    Merry Christmas !

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  29. Gorgeous landscape and great rock formations! The face is very cool! It looks like your granddaughter had a very good time!

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  30. Great shots of the face rock. Love all the rock formations and the scenery are lovely. Merry Christmas and happy new year to you and family!

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  31. We took our grandson (19 months old) to the Living Desert yesterday. All he wanted to do was climb up onto EVERY. SINGLE. BENCH in the park! After 2 1/2 hours, I was exhausted! We're going back this morning for more punishment! Hubby bought a new little hand sized camera (a LUMIX) and he got to try it out yesterday!

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  32. What a swell hike. Interesting how the cloud formations kept changing - it augments the photos wonderfully. The shots with a little pink along the horizon (and the moonrise) are superb. I am so pleased to see people taking their grandchildren on walks in the wilderness - we need every young person to love our earth! Merry Christmas to you!

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  33. one ghost face and one gentle mans face :) Two faces.

    Love your artwork at the end. :)

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  34. Happy holidays to you and yours! I enjoy your blog and will look forward to more desert adventures in 2018. And thanks for being such a great blog visitor to mine.

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  35. Great photos! I think I see a second face too in your 7th photo. In front of "the face" and to the left looks like an old man with slightly pointed head and bags under his eye(s). How long was this hike btw? I'm impressed that your little granddaughter can walk far.

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  36. It's NEVER as easy as it looks!! But this hike was so worth it. I love the face and the little smile that looks like he knows something you don't :)

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  37. Looks like a lovely place the the sky enhances the face nicely. Happy New Year to you Peter!

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  38. I thought we had arrived at the face in photo#4. It looks just like a dog-- a spaniel sitting down with eyes, nose, floppy ears, paws in front and rear legs tucked under its back. Maybe it's just me but I would have ended my hike right there (and missed a bit of exercise!)

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  39. Another great post Pete! Beautiful photos as always.
    Can't wait to see face rock...

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