An Unexpected Encounter in Joshua Tree

Bobcat in Joshua Tree

After ten days of climbing and camping in Joshua Tree National Park, I was quite satisfied with my desert experience. I was treated to an incredible snow day, nearly broke my ankle on a climb, listened to coyotes howl through the night, and slept through wicked sandstorms. I thought my trip couldn’t get any better, but on the drive out of the park, it did.

While slowly ambling down the road near the Hidden Valley camping area, I spotted two coyotes causing a ruckus in brush near the edge of the pavement. The situation quickly escalated when I saw what they were up to: the coyote duo was chasing a bobcat through the desert.

The furred trio darted directly in front of my van, and we stopped to watch the wild encounter unfold. A fat bobcat flashed across the road, with two scrappy coyotes hot on its heels. The bobcat sprang up into a Joshua Tree, digging its claws into the tree’s hardy trunk as it scrambled away from the snapping jaws of the coyotes – who quickly realized that they were not up to the new challenge of getting up the tree to reach their intended prey.

As the defeated coyotes retreated into the desert, we watched the frazzled bobcat try to regain its bearings. It was perched less than 10 feet away from my passenger window, so I grabbed my camera and snapped as many photos as possible – including this one, where the bobcat took notice of my clicking camera and peered directly at me while a crow swooped by in the background.

After grabbing a few photos, we decided to move on and let the poor bobcat return to figuring out how to continue evading the pesky coyotes. It was an unexpected but perfect way to end our adventures in Joshua Tree.


  1. That is awesome! Great shot Katie. You may never see something like unfold before your eyes again. It was a truly special encounter.

  2. What a memorable moment. Times like these are the reason we get outdoors. Great shot!

  3. Adventure Strong says:

    Photo bombed by a crow! haha Great photo of the bobcat! I’ve never seen one in the wild, that must have been a cool experience.

  4. Julia Lynam says:

    Incredible photo: Have you shared it with the park? If you want to, contact the Interpretation section at Oasis Visitor Center in Twentynine Palms.

  5. Julia Lynam says:

    BTW, Adventure Strong, it’s a raven not a crow! The pointy tail is diagnostic.

Speak Your Mind