Discover Joshua Tree National Park, California

Nestled in Southern California, Joshua Tree National Park beckons adventurers with its otherworldly landscapes and rugged beauty. Spanning over 1,200 square miles, this enchanting desert sanctuary is renowned for its iconic Joshua trees, twisted rock formations, and star-studded night skies.

Named after the distinctive Joshua trees that dot its landscape, the park boasts a unique blend of Mojave Desert and Colorado Desert ecosystems. Visitors can marvel at the striking contrasts between the stark desert plains, towering rock formations, and lush oases scattered throughout the park.

Joshua Tree National Park offers a wealth of outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts and explorers alike. Hiking trails wind through Joshua tree forests, leading to hidden waterfalls, panoramic viewpoints, and ancient petroglyphs etched into the rocks. Rock climbers flock to the park’s granite monoliths and boulder-strewn landscapes, testing their skills on world-class climbing routes.

For those seeking solace and serenity, Joshua Tree National Park’s vast expanses provide ample opportunities for solitude and reflection amidst the desert wilderness. As the sun sets, the night sky comes alive with a dazzling display of stars, making Joshua Tree a designated Dark Sky Park and an ideal destination for stargazing adventures.


Top 3 Facts About Joshua Tree National Park


Unique Flora

Joshua Tree National Park is renowned for its namesake Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia), which are actually a type of yucca plant and are endemic to the Mojave Desert. These iconic trees, with their twisted, spiky branches, create a surreal and picturesque landscape found nowhere else in the world.


Incredible Rock Formations

The park is characterized by its striking rock formations, which have been sculpted over millions of years by wind and water erosion. These formations, including monoliths, pinnacles, and balanced rocks, provide endless opportunities for rock climbing, bouldering, and photography.



Despite its harsh desert environment, Joshua Tree National Park is home to a surprising diversity of plant and animal species. Visitors may encounter desert wildlife such as bighorn sheep, coyotes, rattlesnakes, and a variety of bird species, as well as unique desert plants like cacti, ocotillos, and creosote bushes.

Camping and transportation in Joshua Tree National Park

info_iconBackcountry camping permits required for wilderness camping opportunities.

How to Get to Joshua Tree National Park

Getting to Joshua Tree National Park is relatively straightforward, and there are several options for transportation:

  • By Car: The most common way to reach Joshua Tree National Park is by car. The park is accessible via several entrances, including the West Entrance near the town of Joshua Tree and the North Entrance near the city of Twentynine Palms. From major cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego, and Las Vegas, visitors can drive to the park in a few hours.
  • By Air: The nearest major airports to Joshua Tree National Park are Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). From these airports, visitors can rent a car and drive to the park, which is typically about a 1-3 hour drive depending on traffic and the specific entrance.
  • Public Transportation: While there is no direct public transportation to Joshua Tree National Park, some visitors may opt to take a bus or train to nearby cities such as Palm Springs or Twentynine Palms, and then arrange for a shuttle service or rideshare to the park. However, this option may involve longer travel times and limited availability.
  • Guided Tours: Another option for getting to Joshua Tree National Park is to join a guided tour from nearby cities or towns. Many tour companies offer day trips or multi-day tours that include transportation to and from the park, as well as guided activities and accommodations.

Places to Stay Near Joshua Tree National Park

There are various accommodation options near Joshua Tree National Park, ranging from hotels and motels to campgrounds and vacation rentals. Here are some popular places to stay and camp:

  • Joshua Tree: The town of Joshua Tree is located just outside the park’s West Entrance and offers a range of accommodations, including hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and vacation rentals. This is a convenient option for those who want to be close to the park’s attractions and amenities.
  • Twentynine Palms: Another nearby town, Twentynine Palms, is situated near the park’s North Entrance. Visitors can find a variety of lodging options here, including hotels, motels, and RV parks. Twentynine Palms also offers dining, shopping, and other services for travelers.
  • Yucca Valley: Yucca Valley is located northeast of Joshua Tree National Park and offers additional lodging options for visitors. Hotels, motels, and vacation rentals are available in this area, providing convenient access to the park’s attractions and nearby amenities.
  • Palm Springs: For those seeking a more upscale or resort-style experience, Palm Springs is located approximately an hour’s drive from Joshua Tree National Park. Visitors can find luxury hotels, boutique resorts, and vacation rentals in Palm Springs, as well as a wide range of dining, shopping, and entertainment options.
  • Campgrounds: Joshua Tree National Park offers several campgrounds for both tent and RV camping. Reservations are recommended, especially during the peak season (fall through spring). Popular campgrounds include Hidden Valley Campground, Jumbo Rocks Campground, and Black Rock Campground.
  • Backcountry Camping: For those seeking a more remote camping experience, backcountry camping is permitted in designated areas of the park. Permits are required and can be obtained from the park’s visitor centers.
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Best Time to Go to Joshua Tree National Park



Summer in Joshua Tree National Park can be extremely hot, with temperatures soaring well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius). Despite the scorching heat, summer still attracts visitors seeking solitude and adventure in the park’s quieter months. Early mornings and evenings offer the best opportunities for outdoor activities, such as hiking and rock climbing, when temperatures are more bearable. Visitors should come prepared with plenty of water, sun protection, and appropriate clothing to stay safe in the desert heat.



Winter is a popular time to visit Joshua Tree National Park, especially for those looking to escape colder climates elsewhere. From December to February, daytime temperatures are mild, typically ranging from the 60s to 70s Fahrenheit (15 to 25 degrees Celsius), making it ideal for outdoor activities like hiking, rock climbing, and photography. Although winter nights can be chilly, clear skies offer excellent opportunities for stargazing and astrophotography. Winter also brings the park’s iconic Joshua trees into bloom, adding a touch of beauty to the desert landscape.



Spring is one of the best times to visit Joshua Tree National Park. From March to May, the desert landscape comes alive with vibrant wildflowers, making it a photographer’s paradise. The weather during this season is mild and pleasant, with daytime temperatures ranging from the 70s to 80s Fahrenheit (20s to 30s Celsius), perfect for hiking, rock climbing, and camping. Spring also offers opportunities to witness the park’s wildlife, including desert tortoises, bighorn sheep, and a variety of bird species, as they emerge to enjoy the newfound blooms.

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Must-See Attractions

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Joshua Trees

The park’s namesake Joshua trees are iconic symbols of the Mojave Desert and are a must-see for visitors. These twisted, spiky trees dot the landscape throughout the park, creating a surreal and picturesque setting.

Keys View

Offering panoramic vistas of the Coachella Valley and surrounding mountains, Keys View is one of the park’s most popular viewpoints. On clear days, visitors can see all the way to the Salton Sea and even catch a glimpse of the San Andreas Fault.

Cholla Cactus Garden

This unique attraction features a dense concentration of teddybear cholla cacti, creating a stunning display of desert flora. Visitors can take a short walk along the loop trail to admire the beauty of these spiny plants up close.

Helpful Tips: Making the Most of Your Adventure to Joshua Tree National Park

Plan Ahead

Plan Ahead

Research the park’s attractions, activities, and facilities before your visit. Check the park’s website for updated information on hours of operation, trail conditions, and any closures or alerts.

Pack Appropriately

Stay Hydrated

The desert climate can be harsh, especially during the summer months. Bring plenty of water with you, and drink regularly to stay hydrated, even if you don’t feel thirsty. It’s recommended to carry at least one gallon of water per person per day.

Respect Wildlife

Watch for Wildlife

Joshua Tree National Park is home to a variety of desert wildlife, including snakes, lizards, coyotes, and desert tortoises. Be aware of your surroundings and watch for wildlife while hiking or exploring the park. Keep a safe distance and never approach or feed wild animals.

Stay Informed

Check Weather Conditions

Desert weather can be unpredictable, with temperature fluctuations and sudden storms. Check the weather forecast before your visit and be prepared for changes in conditions, especially during the monsoon season in summer and early fall.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Joshua Tree National Park

Yes, there are entrance fees for Joshua Tree National Park. Visitors can purchase daily or annual passes, with fees varying depending on age, vehicle type, and duration of stay.

Yes, camping is permitted in Joshua Tree National Park at designated campgrounds. Both tent and RV camping options are available, with facilities ranging from basic amenities to full hookups.

Yes, Joshua Tree National Park offers a variety of hiking trails for all skill levels, ranging from easy nature walks to challenging backcountry treks. Visitors can explore desert landscapes, rock formations, and Joshua tree forests along these trails.

The best time to visit depends on personal preferences and interests. Spring and fall are popular seasons due to milder temperatures and blooming wildflowers, while winter offers comfortable hiking conditions and clear skies for stargazing.

Yes, Joshua Tree National Park is home to a variety of desert wildlife, including bighorn sheep, coyotes, jackrabbits, and a variety of bird species. Visitors may encounter wildlife while hiking or exploring the park.

Yes, Joshua Tree National Park is a world-renowned destination for rock climbing and bouldering. The park features thousands of climbing routes and boulder problems suitable for climbers of all abilities.

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