Joshua Tree National Park is known for one thing, and one thing only: rock climbing. This is a good thing: there are many great routes in the park for climbing. As I have climbed there many times, and have recommended it to many people, there is no way I could complain about that association. However, there’s a lot more than just climbing going on at Joshua Tree. There’s excellent stargazing; excellent spring blooms; and excellent hikes, both day, and multi-day. One of the shortest and the most popular hikes in the park is the hike from Cottonwood Springs to Mastodon Peak. There are two ways to do this hike: first, as a loop trail from the Campground (“the Mastodon Peak Loop”) or as part of the longer hike to Lost Palms Oasis. The loop trail is 2.6 miles long roundtrip; and if you add the Mastodon Peak section of trail to the Lost Palms Oasis hike, you are left with a hike that is 8.2 miles roundtrip.