Keys View in Joshua Tree National Park is a quick stop that everyone should check out. While it’s not the closest to everything else in the park, it is definitely worth the drive. Turn south off the main east-west road, out past Lost Horse Mine and to the end of the road. You will literally drive right into Keys View. It has ample parking and a restroom for you to enjoy your stop whether you only plan to stay for a few minutes or a few hours.
Keys View overlooks 50 miles of the Coachella Valley it’s gorgeous whether you are visiting at sunrise, midday, or sunset. From the overlook, you can see a few cities and landmarks. The main ones are the Salton Sea which is to the southeast 35 miles away and 235 feet below sea level. Moving west across the view is the Signal Mountain 95 miles away near the U.S.-Mexican border. Continuing further west is Indio, directly south and the center of the upper Coachella Valley. Next, to the southwest is Palm Springs followed by the Gorgonio Pass where the smog-filled air comes into Coachella Valley from southern California. Last is the San Gorgonio Mountain, the tallest point in southern California.
Keys View has a short .25 mile nature trail that loops from the parking area to the top of the valley and back with a couple of amazing views along the way. Stay for as long as or short of a time as you wish. I actually went twice while I was at Joshua Tree National Park. Once at sunset and once during midday. Both times the view was absolutely beautiful. During the day time I could see all the way to Signal Mountain and could even make out the Salton Sea it was so clear. In the evening the haze had rolled in adding depth and different colors to an already breathtaking sunset. As the sunset further the cities began to light up. It was easy to make out which was which.