Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Quick Facts

Joshua Tree National Park

California

(760) 367-5500

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

For a first-time visitor the desert may appear bleak and drab. Viewed from the road, the desert only hints at its vitality. Closer examination reveals a fascinating variety of plants and animals. A rich cultural history and surreal geologic features add to the attraction of Joshua Tree National Park. Two deserts and two large ecosystems whose characteristics are determined primarily by elevation, come together at Joshua Tree National Park. Below 3,000-feet, the Colorado Desert encompasses the eastern part of the park and features natural gardens of creosote bush, ocotillo, and cholla cactus. The higher, moister, and slightly cooler Mojave Desert is the special habitat of the Joshua tree. In addition to Joshua tree forests, the western part of the park also includes some of the most interesting geologic displays found in California's deserts. Five fan palm oases also dot the park, indicating those few areas where water occurs naturally and wildlife abounds. There are 12 self-guiding nature trails, scenic views, ranger programs, mountain bike trails, and camping.

Map of Joshua Tree

Latitude, Longitude: 33.801974, -115.762940

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Activities

  • Bicycling

    Bike riding in the park is restricted to roads open to vehicles. The park's Backcountry and Wilderness Management Plan designates approximately 29-miles of trails for non-motorized bike use, however, the new trails cannot be used until Congress gives its approval. In the meanwhile, the park's backcountry roads offer opportunities to explore many areas.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    An 18-mile motor tour leads through one of Joshua Tree National Park's most fascinating landscapes. There are 16 stops along a dirt road and it takes approximately two hours to make the round trip. A descriptive brochure that highlights each stop is available at the beginning of the road. In good weather sedans and trucks may access the route as far as Squaw Tank, stop #9. After that a 4-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended. The road is not suitable for campers, trailers, and motor homes.

  • Camping

    Campsites are limited to six people, three tents, and two cars (a vehicle towing a trailer, popup, tent trailer, fifth wheel or a motorhome pulling a vehicle is considered two vehicles). Group sites accommodate 10 to 60 people. Each campsite has a picnic table and fire grate. Water and flush toilets are available in Black Rock and Cottonwood campgrounds. Showers are not available. First-come, first-served campgrounds include: Belle, Cottonwood, Hidden Valley, Jumbo Rocks, Ryan, and White Tank. Black Rock and Indian Cove campgrounds are first-come, first-served only during the summer--June through September.

  • Climbing

    Joshua Tree welcomes climbers and bouldering enthusiasts from around the world. This high desert monzogranite climbing mecca is famous for its traditional-style crack, slab, and steep-face climbing. With more than 400 climbing formations and 8,000 climbing routes, Joshua Tree offers challenging climbs for all levels of climbing ability. It is truly a world-class climbing destination.

  • Hiking

    Joshua Tree offers an extensive network of trails of varying length and difficulty.

  • Horseback Riding

    Horseback riding is a popular way to experience Joshua Tree National Park for those who bring their own horses. However, because of the special requirements for horses in this environment, care should be taken in planning your trip. The lack of available drinking water is both a challenge and a limitation.

  • Picnicking

    Picnic areas are available in the campsites.

Seasonality/Weather

Days are typically clear with less than 25 precent humidity. Temperatures are most comfortable in the spring and fall, with an average high/low of 85 and 50°F (29 and 10°C) respectively. Winter brings cooler days, around 60°F (15°C), and freezing nights. It occasionally snows at higher elevations. Summers are hot, over 100°F (38°C) during the day and not cooling much below 75°F (24°C) until the early hours of the morning.

Park Partners

Joshua Tree National Park Association

Since 1962, the Joshua Tree National Park Association is the primary educational partner for the Joshua Tree National Park. The association's Desert Institute provides weekend science and history classes in the park.

(760) 367-5525

Directions

Driving

Joshua Tree National Park lies 140-miles east of Los Angeles. You can approach it from the west via Interstate 10 and Hwy 62 (Twentynine Palms Highway). The west entrance is located five-miles south of the junction of Highway 62 and Park Boulevard at Joshua Tree Village. The north entrance is in Twentynine Palms, three-miles south of the junction of Highway 62 and Utah Trail. The south entrance at Cottonwood Spring, which lies 25-miles east of Indio, can be approached from the east or west, also via Interstate 10.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(760) 367-5500

Links