Monday, December 3, 2018

Return to Lookout Alcove

This remote part of the desert has become something of an obsession for me. I first posted about it here. You can find a second post here. This area doesn't have the classic desert beauty that the higher elevation Mojave has, which gets more rainfall and has Joshua Trees. But it also doesn't have the crowds. Actually, it has almost no visitors whatsoever, and that's a big part of the draw for me. There's also the push/pull feeling I get, wanting to share cool things I find, yet hoping this area will stay undiscovered and rarely visited. For now, I'll keep the location vague.

The goal of this hike was simple: Return to "Lookout Alcove", one of the coolest alcoves I've found to date. Since discovering it, I couldn't stop thinking about a return trip. Making sure I could find it again and getting a few more pics is all I really wanted to accomplish. So let's go take a look!
It's not the easiest place to hike. No trails and lots of rocks. You follow the washes and do a LOT of homework on Google Maps before you go. I set waypoints so it becomes an exercise of follow-the-dots, and I leave detailed information with my wife about exactly where I will be hiking.

Ah, there it is. Bonus points if you can spot the alcove!!

Beautiful! If you continue to walk closer to the rocks, you lose sight of the alcove. But from a distance, it's quite a sight.

After climbing the adjacent rocks, here's what the alcove looks like. The flat light of midday doesn't do it justice. The alcove comes complete with a large side window and a smaller porthole opening, which is definitely an upgrade!

I would guess that in another few thousand years, this alcove is going to erode into a really beautiful arch. But none of us will be around to see it!

A selfie for perspective, achieved by propping my iPhone against a rock and using the 10 second delay. Thankfully, no wind suddenly kicked up and blew my phone down the rocky face! Unfortunately, the alcove isn't tall enough to be able to stand up when inside, but absolutely perfect for a cool, shady spot to relax. An awesome spot to throw a sleeping bag in for an overnight stay, and you won't get better views anywhere!

Having accomplished the goal of my hike and still having a few hours of daylight left, I decided to continue exploring the area to see what else I might find.
There were rocky alcoves...

And more alcoves....

Many of the rocky alcoves come complete with beautiful views!

There were arches (this one looks like a drumstick to me!)...

And more arches! Not sure you can call this second one an arch, but anyway...

This was a favorite find of the day. An upper level and lower level alcove, side-by-side. The ground floor alcove was deep and had the appearance of stone steps and rocks being arranged at the entrance. Then again, by this time, I had been hiking in the hot sun for a number of hours!
Closer shot of the ground level alcove...

And the view from inside looking out. Surprisingly large and roomy!

View from the upper-level alcove. Neither alcove had any sign of human activity, footprints, etc. I looked closely at the ground level alcove, because it was deep enough to have been a significant shelter. Only the rocks at the entrance seemed "arranged" to me, almost like rocky steps that had shifted over time. Add another one to the many unsolved mysteries of the desert!

What started as a modest hike with a simple goal turned into something much more interesting and memorable!

Linking with Skywatch Friday.
Thanks for stopping by!!


  1. I've only been in the desert a few times in my travels and always love going on a hike with you. Some of the rock formations look other worldly.

  2. Amazing place. Brilliant photography.

  3. It takes courage and determination to hike there by yourself.

  4. Fabulous shots of the unique terrain!

  5. It is a mystery isn't it. What a wonderful place to explore and again wonder about it all.

  6. Oh my gosh it was alcove/arch heaven! I loooove that it's such a secret place too, absolutely agree with you about not sharing too many details. This is one to share only with family and like-minded friends. The rock formations are incroyable!

  7. What a fascinating area.
    The selfie is great to get an idea of the size.

  8. Hello, the rocky alcoves are cool. What a great series. It is a neat place, especially since it is not crowded with people. Enjoy your day, have a happy weekend!

  9. I too like the less crowded places. Wonderful pictures with azure sky!

  10. It's alcove mania! in the desert. It also looks like snake heaven to me. I admire your intrepid spirit!!

  11. What a place to visit, its the sort o fthing I would do get lost looking around a place for hours and forgetting what time it was.

  12. Spare Parts, rocky alcoves, indeed. Thank for sharing.

  13. Stunning....would you really ever stay overnight in that little cave? Amazing to be out there in that beauty with no other people to distract you from it. I envy that and understand why you want to keep the location vague. You could of course give me detailed GPS directions and I still wouldn’t be able to get there. Which is all the more reason to be grateful to you for sharing. BTW, I feel like people from other parts of our country sometimes have no real concept of the vast spaces in the West!

  14. What a treasure you have found ~ absolutely amazing and wonderful photography ~ love the selfie ~ great job!

    Happy Day to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  15. So beautiful. You can feel the erosion processes in action here.

  16. It's such a pretty area. I can see why you wanted to get back there. So many wonderful alcoves :-)

  17. a particularly stunning series of photos. These austere landscapes are magnificent. Thank you for letting us discover them.

  18. You are one amazing dude!! Another engrossing story along with beautiful and bewildering images [BTW..I really like the B&W version, 2nd from the top]. The 'Kissing Arch' gave me a good chuckle [the one below the 'drumstick']...

  19. Beautiful photos. That is certainly a rocky area. It must be a difficult place to navigate.

  20. I remember this area from your previous posts. What fabulous rock formations and views! The one photo looks like two fo the big rocks are kissing - I love it!

  21. It was nice to see you in a photo, for a change! All of the pictures are interesting, but I was particularly struck by the second one after the "drumstick", where there are a bunch of rocks that appear to be piled together. But I suppose this is just how they have eroded over time. I don't blame you for keeping the location vague - pristine and people-free zones are becoming rarer by the minute!!!