Exploring Joshua Tree National Park.

What To Do in Joshua Tree Nationwide Park

This visitor put up is by Monica Chapon, a California-based desert fanatic:

I’m a sucker for the desert. The dry warmth, the infinite solar, and the prickly flowers are all positives, in my e-book. For anybody who’s skeptical {that a} desert can truly be enjoyable, I’ve the proper location to alter your thoughts: Joshua Tree Nationwide Park.

Regardless of what number of instances I go to, I all the time discover a new nook or cranny to discover.  This park is so distinctive that I believe each customer will discover one thing to understand!

The wild and confused-looking yuccas — often known as Joshua Bushes — have such persona, and the geology of the park is so not like the encompassing areas.  This untamed stretch of land was designated a Nationwide Park in 1994, and it’s straightforward to see why.

From mountain climbing, to climbing, to pictures, to stargazing, Joshua Tree has one thing for you!  Right here is the whole lot it’s good to know as a way to plan your go to to Joshua Tree Nationwide Park in California:

Joshua Tree is located roughly 2.5 hours east from each Los Angeles and San Diego, and is a well-liked nature getaway from each cities.

The remoteness is a part of the draw, however that additionally implies that guests ought to plan forward. 

When To Go to

The desert landscape in Joshua Tree.

Whereas I can actually say that I’ve braved (and loved) park visits right here year-round, hands-down the very best seasons to go to Joshua Tree are the spring and fall.

Spring (February – April): The milder temperatures are way more nice for mountain climbing and climbing within the springtime. Colourful wildflowers dot the panorama, making this the most well-liked season to go to Joshua Tree. Cacti and Joshua Bushes exhibit their white and pink blossoms. Fiery pink ocotillo flowers could be noticed towards the southern finish of the park. With temperatures hovering between a cushty 50 and 85 levels, guests flock right here.

Summer season (Could to September): The great thing about a summer season go to is that many individuals will keep away from the desert resulting from triple digit temperatures. Crowds will likely be skinny and there are extra daylight. The draw back is that summer season warmth in Joshua Tree could be harmful. Hikes and strenuous actions ought to all happen as early as attainable, and guests ought to come ready with ample water provide and sunscreen!

Fall (October – November): Fall is a well-liked time to go to. As soon as once more temperatures fall inside the comfy 50 to 85 diploma vary. Campgrounds are likely to promote out, notably over the weekends, and parking on the trailheads turns into sparse. Keep in mind that the daylight develop into shorter within the Fall, so plan your hikes correctly.

Winter (December – January): The winter months can differ fairly a bit, starting from 32 to 60 levels. Although uncommon, it does snow in Joshua Tree when the situations are proper. It’s a stupendous sight! On the opposite finish of the spectrum, some winter days could be sunny and heat. Winter continues to be a good time for the longer hikes – costume in layers to cowl all bases.

Exploring Joshua Tree National Park.

Entry Into Joshua Tree Nationwide Park

In case you don’t have already got the America The Stunning Annual Nationwide Park Move, which I extremely advocate, you’ve got a number of cost choices for the park.

  • A 7-Day Move: $30
  • An annual Move for Joshua Tree Nationwide Park: $55
  • The America the Stunning Annual Nationwide Park Move (for ALL Nationwide Parks within the USA): $80

Every of those passes could be bought at any entrance into Joshua Tree.

As you drive deeper into the park, you’ll begin to discover the altering landscapes.  Joshua Tree truly holds two deserts inside the park boundaries; the Mojave Desert to the north and the Colorado Desert to the south.  

The large rocks in Joshua Tree National Park.

The northern part of the park is house to a number of the iconic views related to Joshua Tree Nationwide Park – the enormous bulbous rock piles, nearly all of the mountain climbing trails, and naturally the Joshua Tree itself.

The southern panorama is a little more sparse, that includes hotter temperatures, a great deal of cacti, and rugged purple mountains.  There are only a few Joshua Bushes within the Colorado Desert part as a result of it isn’t the proper elevation for the species.

Although the northern half is extra standard, I extremely advocate driving and mountain climbing in each areas, as they provide guests one thing utterly completely different from each other! 

What To Do in Joshua Tree Nationwide Park


No go to to Joshua Tree could be full with out getting up shut and private with the natural world discovered right here. The distinctive feel and appear of this park is precisely why mountain climbing right here is so particular. In case you go to within the springtime, you might be prone to see colourful wildflower blooms on lots of the trails, and even blooming cacti within the Colorado Desert.

Hiking in Joshua Tree National Park.

There are trails right here for each stage of adventurer, from straightforward to troublesome. Listed here are a couple of of my favorites:

Arch Rock Nature Path: an Straightforward 1.2 mile out and again hike resulting in the enduring Arch Rock.  To hike to Arch Rock, guests need to park throughout the road within the designated parking lot and cross over on the path, towards piles of enormous rock groupings.  The path is nicely marked and flat.  It is a very talked-about path so anticipate crowds!

The Cholla Cactus Backyard: a flat and Straightforward .5 mile loop.  This path is positioned within the Colorado Desert area, so individuals usually skip this cease and choose to remain within the north.  Although it’s a really brief loop, I promise you it’s definitely worth the drive!  Photogenic chollas crop up out of nowhere and enhance the panorama.  Be cautious although – these cacti will stubbornly stick into garments and sneakers (and pores and skin!) should you get too shut.

49 Palms Oasis Path: a Reasonable 3.1 mile path traversing the rugged mountains.  This out and again hike options barrel cacti laying low on the mountains, sweeping views of the valley beneath, and an actual life oasis in the course of the desert.  That is the one patch of shade on the whole hike so you’ll want to cease and relaxation right here earlier than turning again.

Hiking trails in Joshua Tree National Park.

Misplaced Horse Mine Loop: A Troublesome 6.8 mile loop hike named after an previous mine inside the park.  Although you’ll go the precise mine, there isn’t all that a lot to see right here as it’s fenced off for security.  Nevertheless, for me the spotlight of this path are the plentiful Joshua Bushes hikers get to see close-up.  If a 6.8 mile loop sounds too lengthy within the sizzling desert solar, be happy to hike this as a shorter out and again.

Boy Scout Path To Willow Gap Prolonged Route: a Reasonable 17.6 mile Out and Again backpacking path.  Notice that I don’t advocate this path throughout the summer season months!  Sort out this one in winter months solely.  It’s within the north part of the park and options some mini rock scrambles close to Willow Gap.  It’s a very good route should you’re on the lookout for an extended exercise.  Enable round 8 or 9 hours to finish this route.


joshua trees
A improbable star spot

Many individuals go to the park for a fast 24 hour time span.  If that is so for you, I promise which you can have a fun-filled and jam-packed someday itinerary in Joshua Tree.  Nevertheless, if you’ll be able to keep for a couple of nights, attempt tenting out within the desert!

The peace and solitude of sleeping within the desert is one thing that we don’t get sufficient of lately!  And Joshua Tree particularly is a particular desert to spend an evening in. 

Designated an Worldwide Darkish Sky Park in 2017, the stargazing right here is unreal.  Because the park is positioned hours from Los Angeles and San Diego, the sunshine air pollution is stored to a minimal.  On clear nights, this is without doubt one of the greatest locations for stargazing on the planet!

Mornings within the desert are simply as peaceable.  You’ll awake to the rising solar, the sounds of small birds and critters within the distance, and with an unbeatable view when you unzip your tent.

With colourful desert sunsets, epic stargazing, and surreal landscapes seemingly from outer house, it’s actually a no brainer.  You’ve acquired to attempt tenting right here.

There are over 300 campsites inside the park. Whereas that will sound like so much, they’re unfold out throughout 9 campgrounds inside the 1235 sq. miles of park. 

The campsites are a mixture of Reservation Solely and First Come First Serve.  Notice that many campsites are closed in summer season months as a result of warmth. Verify your choices fastidiously earlier than you go.

Additionally, plan as early as attainable! The Reservation Solely websites usually promote out nicely upfront, notably in Spring and Fall.  Reservations could be made as much as six months upfront.

Campsites that settle for Reservations: Black Rock; Cottonwood; Indian Cove; Jumbo Rocks; Sheep Move.

First Come, First Serve Campsites: Belle; Hidden Valley; Ryan; White Tank.

Professional Tip: For an epic dawn, camp at White Tank. The campsites are separated by the enduring large boulders of Joshua Tree, making it a semi-private and placing space to camp.  Earlier than daybreak, you possibly can catch the ultimate .5 miles of the path resulting in Arch Rock (White Tank is instantly on the mountain climbing route) and expertise the dawn at Arch Rock.

Campsite costs vary from $15-$25 per evening and supply various services. You will discover all related reserving info right here.

Bouldering at Joshua Tree National Park.

Rock Climbing

Joshua Tree Nationwide Park has gained fairly the repute for mountain climbing.  The park presents over 8,000 documented climbing spots, with the bulk being bouldering and trad climbing areas.  Although not as widespread, there are a couple of sport climbing routes as nicely. 

I’ve climbed in Joshua Tree earlier than, and my greatest recommendation is to start out early!  The noon solar could be brutal.

For climbing info in addition to present mountain climbing closures, click on right here.

Joshua Tree Nationwide Park Security

Carry double the quantity of water you assume you’ll want.  Park rangers advocate one gallon per particular person, per day (not less than).  Put on correct mountain climbing sneakers and costume in layers; the desert temperatures can fluctuate as much as 40 levels inside a 24 hour time span! 

There’s nowhere to purchase meals inside the park boundaries. Pack snacks, sandwiches, fruit, and so forth. earlier than you enterprise into the park.

You’re prone to catch sight of small desert critters like lizards and bees right here.  You might very nicely see a scorpion or a rattlesnake whilst you’re out and about, so hold your eyes on the paths.  They aren’t aggressive except provoked, so give them loads of house and also you’ll be nice.

There are even herds of huge horn sheep within the park who, whereas I haven’t seen them just lately, prefer to climb a number of the rocky crags alongside the roadway.

The Cholla Garden at Joshua Tree National Park.

Park your automobile solely in designated areas.  Many hikes have small tons and there are paved areas to drag over for good photograph spots.  Driving off-road is forbidden inside the park.

Be careful for flash floods!  At all times verify the climate earlier than heading off on the longer hikes.  And, bear in mind that cellular phone reception is weak and in some areas non-existent.  Obtain offline maps earlier than you enter or choose up a paper copy on the Guests Middle.

So long as you put together for the expertise, I promise that the desert is an superior escape.

Have I satisfied you but?!

With all of this info useful, I’d say it’s time you go to the park and see for your self!  Take within the views, meet the Joshua Bushes, snap some superior pictures, and hike or climb the day away.  Camp in a single day if time permits, after which do all of it once more the subsequent day.

I’ve little question that Joshua Tree will show simply how unbelievable the desert local weather and panorama could be!

Pin me for later:

In regards to the creator: Monica Chapon has traveled to six continents solo and chronicles her adventures on her weblog, This Uncommon Earth. She will be able to often be discovered exploring the deserts of the world, taking impromptu highway journeys, or performing as an aerialist on silks. Comply with together with Monica’s adventures on Instagram.

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