During my current sabbatical I have become better acquainted with the desert around my home town of Apple Valley. Here are some photos of a few local spots.

Arrowhead Pinnacles

I enjoyed bringing my nephew along for a hike here. In this landscape you can see many awesome rocks that can be found throughout desert. In the background you'll see the highest point of the pinnacles. The trail ends about half-way up the pile of rocks in the background where you get to do a little scrambling, which is perfect for 10-year-olds and 34 year-olds alike.

The Arrowhead Pinnacles. To the south is the wooded area and resorts around Lake Arrowhead. To the north lie Apple Valley and Hesperia in the Mojave Desert.

Juniper Flats

Below are just a few photos of several recent hikes I've taken from the Bonita Vista Trailhead of Juniper Flats in Apple Valley. Juniper Flats is another area in the transition region between the San Bernardino Mountains and the Mojave Desert. I recommend checking out the Friends of Juniper Flats blog for more information. From the sounds of it, we can look forward to better trails in the years to come!

The trail descending from Round Mountain to Cottonwood Springs. You can even spot a Juniper in there!
A panoramic shot overlooking Cottonwood Springs - Cottonwoods, Creosote, Yucca, Junipers, etc.
One of many blooming Joshua Trees this year... by many, I mean virtually all of them. 
Another Joshua Tree burned by wildfire. Years after the fire, the area is not far from flourishing again. Apple Valley can be seen in the background.

Horseman's Center

There are some nice, family-friendly walks at Horsemen's Center Park. But I took to the more challenging terrain despite my near-inability to climb things. The scratches and scenery made the endeavor worthwhile. I looked at some climbing websites which indicate there are quite a few routes here. The most I've done is repelling as a Boy Scout.

Sort of a desert meadow in the rocky Deadman Hills to the north of Horsmen's Center. One can tell the water funnels down into the area, making it surprisingly grassy despite the harsh desert environment. 
Getting over this stuff makes ascending the Deadman hills a slow process. 

Sidewinder Mountain

I found one Google review of Sidewinder Mountain which piqued my interest. According to topographic maps, the mountain appears to be the tallest between the Apple and Lucerne Valleys. There are now two google reviews for the mountain!

More rocks looking like they want to be climbed by... a climber. These rocks are just to the south of Joshua road about halfway between the Cemex quarry in Apple Valley and highway 247 in Lucerne Valley. The road/wash leading to Sidewinder mountain are on the north side of Joshua Rd near these rocks. The drive here can be a little bumpy, so don't drive anything with a low clearance.
The view of the San Bernardino Mountains from the 5217-foot peak of Sidewinder Mountain. You can see the white top of San Gorgonio in the distance. Looking north on this incredibly clear day, my hiking partner and I could also spot the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada and what I believe to be the White Mountains. 

More to come...

I plan to show some more desert photos from Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico in subsequent posts. You may also be interested in checking out my Sawtooth Canyon post from a while back!