Made internationally famous by the rock band U2, whose worked on their 1988 album The Joshua Tree here, this desert national park is a rock climber's paradise. There are thousands of established climbing routes here, and outfitters in the gateway town of Joshua Tree can help you get roped up and teach you the skills you'll need.
Even if you're not a climber, there's a wonderland of things to see and do here, from hiking to hidden native California fan palm oases and cactus gardens to touring historical pioneer sites.
The main access to the park is northeast of Palm Springs, which is over 400 miles south of Yosemite Valley. A more beautiful, yet little-traveled way to get to Joshua Tree is to first drive down to Death Valley, then through the Mojave National Preserve, which boasts the largest Joshua tree forest in the world, and briefly cross old Route 66, aka America's "Mother Road."