JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

With nearly 800,000 acres of mystical beauty, Joshua Tree National Park is undoubtedly one of the world’s most incredible natural desert treasures. Sweeping, grand in scale and populated by granite monoliths and voluptuous rock and boulder formations, the park offers wonder to eco-travelers, outdoor adventurists and naturalists. Two large ecosystems come together to form this quiet land, conducive to meditation and roaming, that have been carved by extremes in climate from wind to rain to an ever-present, relentless sun. Evidence of many diverse forms of plant life from creosote and ocotillo are found everywhere, but none as unique or prevalent as the park’s namesake: the Joshua tree, standing majestically across the vast topography. During the day, life may seem scarce since the park is largely nocturnal – featuring reptiles and animals that adapt to the lack of water and high temperatures by going underground.

Ways to enjoy Joshua Tree National Park are nearly as vast as the park itself. Arrive for a few hours to hike on countless trails suitable for all levels of hikers or plan an adrenaline-infused rock climb among rare boulder outcroppings. Multiple campsites provide those with more time in one of nature’s most alluring desert escapes. Park rangers offer special programs and ranger-led tours that educate visitors about the park’s geography, wildlife and plant life, as well as its colorful history dating back to the early Pinto Man and the gold seekers of the 1800s. Recently designated an International Dark Sky Park, Joshua Tree always grants night visitors a tour of the dazzling star display above.

Hiking
Ways to enjoy Joshua Tree National Park are as vast as the park itself, with countless hiking trails suitable for all levels and adrenaline-infused rock climbing among boulder outcroppings. Park rangers offer special programs and free ranger-led walks and talks that educate visitors about the park’s geography, wildlife and plant life, as well as its colorful history dating back to the early Pinto Man and the gold seekers of the 1800s.

Camping
There’s nothing like sleeping under a sky full of stars, surrounded by surreal landscape in all directions. Recently designated an International Dark Sky Park, Joshua Tree always grants night visitors a tour of the dazzling star display above, and multiple campsites provide prime access to popular hiking trails and rock-climbing spots.

Restaurants
Several eclectic eateries are only a short drive away from the park when it’s time to refuel after a long day of exploring. Standouts include live music mainstay Pappy & Harriet’s (where the likes of One Republic and Paul McCartney have played), New York-style pizzeria Pie for the People and Western-themed Joshua Tree Saloon.

Hotels
In addition to campsites within Joshua Tree National Park, there are various lodging choices for overnight travelers within minutes of the park entrance, from quaint inns and standard hotel chains to one-of-a-kind vacation rentals. Other accommodations, including luxury resorts and midcentury boutique hotels, lie only an hour away in the nine cities of Greater Palm Springs.

Directions
Before beginning the journey to Joshua Tree National Park, visitors can find directions using Google Maps and, upon arrival, other useful information and tips at the Joshua Tree National Park Visitors Center.

Weather
Joshua Tree enjoys beautiful weather year-round, though each season offers its own natural splendor. Summer evenings and nights are still mild enough for stargazing, while September through May is especially ideal for daytime exploration, with mild temperatures and winter rains (and even the occasional, rare snowfall!) that produce blankets of wildflowers in the spring.

Discover your guide to all things Joshua Tree National Park below.

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