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Cholla cactus in bloom at Joshua Tree National Park


National Parks ·  Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is a desert wonderland with contrasting high and low desert ecosystems for variety. Odd "forests" of Joshua trees, climbable rock piles, easy hiking and mining ruins make this huge park unique. Joshua trees, cholla cacti and ocotillo bushes thrive here, blooming after winter rains. Visitors should plan to carry enough water and wear appropriate shoes and pants. The best months to visit Joshua Tree National Park are fall through spring as summer temperatures are unpleasant mid-day for most people.
Joshua Tree National Park has entrances on the north and south borders; the main visitor center is shown on the map. Palm Springs is the nearest full-service town.
Plan your travel to Joshua Tree National Park with our free printable map. For more detailed local trip planning information, go to the Top Destinations section and select Palm Springs - Joshua Tree Area pages.

Joshua Tree National Park Map

National Park Index Print/Zoom

Joshua Tree National Park
Twentynine Palms, California  92277
Established as a national monument in August 1936 and as a national park on October 31, 1994
789,745 acres. Open all year. Fee - $10/vehicle.
(760) 367-5500  www.nps.gov/jotr 

HIGHLIGHTS: Giant spiked Joshua trees mark the high desert within this part of the Mojave Desert. Low desert vegetation where it is hotter and drier provides contrast within southern and eastern park sections of the Colorado Desert. Nighttime offers amazing stargazing opportunities.  

From California 62, the 49 Palms Oasis can be reached via a steep trail. Further east, Park Boulevard leads to Jumbo Rocks and a Joshua tree forest, as well as a desert with yucca and unusual, softly rounded rock formations. Still further east, the Pinto Basin Road leads to the Cholla Cactus Garden, Ocotillo Patch, Cottonwood Spring, and Wonderland of Rocks - 12 sq. miles of disordered masses of granite near the Lost Horse Valley. Remnants of early ranchers and miners remain.

ACTIVITIES: Hiking, horseback riding, backcountry camping (permit required), rock climbing, and bicycling.

WILDLIFE: Bighorn sheep, mountain lion, bobcat, coyote, jackrabbit, roadrunner, desert tortoise, sidewinder rattlesnake, kangaroo rat, burrowing owl, Gambel’s quail, yucca night lizard, and tarantula.

PLANT LIFE: Joshua tree, California fan palm (at oases), pinyon pine, cottonwood, creosote bush, smoke tree, mesquite, ironwood; ocotillo, Palo Verde, barrel, Bigelow cholla, and dozens of other cacti; sand verbena, desert dandelion, and evening primrose.

TRAVEL TIPS: Most popular time to visit is during the wildflower season, February through April (depending on the rainfall), and after summer temperatures decline from October through November. Campers marvel at stargazing opportunities. Flash flooding may occur after even brief rain showers. In all seasons, carry plenty of water (1 gallon per day per person). Watch for open mine shafts and prospect holes.

DIRECTIONS: From I-10 (LA to the west, Indio to the east), take 62 to the north and follow the signs to the Joshua Tree National Park entrances. Nearest airport: Palm Springs.


© Ron Niebrugge
Two wonderful sights for park visitors - a mature joshua tree and climbable Jumbo Rocks

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