Not What I Was Expecting

Panorama of the Coachella Valley

I've always been intrigued by science. Not enough to be a scientist, but enough to read about different phenomena that make up our universe - from the micro to the macro. When I was younger, I remember reading the San Andreas Fault and how there are areas in California where it has been marked on either side of the fault line and you can 'see' the tectonic plates as they are glacially rubbing against each other.

During different travels to California, have probably crisscrossed the San Andreas Fault dozens of times. One of the recent times was during our trip to Joshua Tree National Park. Somewhere, I read that you can see the fault line from a spot in the Park named Keys View.

Since we came into the JTNP from the south entrance, you basically had to go most of the way through the park until you could hang a left and continue south. Not exactly back the way we came, but to a different area of the Park.

Now, when I was younger, I had seen pictures where there was this very clear fracture in the ground that separated the two different plates. I knew that there were some places where you could step across the fault and there were other areas where you could not.

So, when we got to Keys View, I was hoping that it would be one of those places were you could really see the fault. Touch it. Straddle my legs on either side and be on two different tectonic plates at the same time.

We arrived at the spot, and found a place to park. There was a short paved trail that lead higher in elevation than we had just climbed in the car. Lots of people were there this particular time and they were all looking out to the distance.

Well, we get to the top and look around.

Photo of a hazy Coachella Valley
View of Coachella Valley from Keys View

Still looking.

Informational sign
Information sign explaining about the haze.

Well, this reader sign kind of tells it all. The San Andreas Fault is in this picture. However, it is off in the distance in/around the Indio Hills. With the haze that is common in the Coachella Valley, it makes the view a little challenging to see what is out there. From this viewpoint, you can see Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Indio, Coachella, and more. That is, when it is clear enough.

Coachella Valley Before
Coachella Valley After
Use slider to see area where Fault is.

While this was not what I was hoping for, the views have their own sense of beauty from an area that is preserved for a special place in southern California.


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