Thursday, February 13, 2014

A drive in the desert

On Tuesday, we had made plans to go for an afternoon drive in the desert with another volunteer here at the park, Eddie, in his old Toyota Land Cruiser.


Nicolas and I had some business to take care of first, so we got a little bit later start than we had planned, but soon enough we were all loaded into the Land Cruiser and headed to the north end of the park.

Setting off in Eddie's Land Cruiser

We travelled north on Castle Hot Springs Rd., past the north entrance gate to the park, and off the pavement.

Pavement Ends











We drove beyond the north end of the lake,

View of Lake Pleasant

and turned on the loop road that goes toward Crowne King Point.

Crowne King Mountain

Castle Hot Springs Road was pretty wide and smooth, the result of frequent grading,

The road is pretty good at this point

but after we turned off the main road it began to get narrow and steep in areas.     DSC_0131









We were pretty impressed with Eddie’s Land Cruiser . . . as old as it is, it never hesitated on the the grades, and some of them were very steep!

Into the mountains

We took a short break to explore an abandoned house on the side of the mountain, and stretch our legs a little.  That’s the one thing about the Land Cruiser – it’s a little cramped for the legs, especially with 3 in the front seat!

Abandoned house












We walked around the old house, being careful not to fall through the floor anywhere.





We were losing daylight quickly, so we didn’t hang around for too long, but got back on the road.


As we continued back toward Castle Hot Springs Rd., we passed a few houses,     DSC_0159










and evidence of more houses that we couldn’t see from the road.


I’m not sure what makes people want to live way out here, but they must really want to be away from it all!

We made our way through some steep grades and tight switchbacks, and through a canyon,




and the sun continued to fall below the horizon.





There’s an old resort out here that was a popular vacation destination for the rich & famous in the 20s and 30s.  The main resort burned down in the 70s, but there are still several buildings standing, including a caretaker’s house, and the grounds are still maintained with lush green grass and palm trees.

We made it back to Castle Hot Springs Rd. just as we were losing the sun which made it difficult to get many pictures of the old resort, but I did get one shot of the palm trees that suddenly appeared in the desert like an oasis.

It was a great afternoon for a drive in the desert, and we made it back to the campground in the dark without any trouble.  If we had been able to start out a couple of hours earlier it would have been better, but it was still an enjoyable drive, and we thanked Eddie for taking us all along with him!


  1. Great tour... You are really getting to experience the desert setting!! So different from the Florida landscape;o)

  2. Like you said an earlier start to your exploring would have made the day more interesting but it looks like it was still worth while and Enjoyable.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.


Thanks for reading! We'd love to hear your comments!