Joshua Tree National Park offers endless things to explore, from iconic bulbous boulders, deserts, lucid skies to breathtaking vistas, dynamic hiking trails, and gippy rocks.
|Park||Joshua Tree National Park|
|Things To Do||Touring, camping, hiking, etc.|
|Hotels Near Joshua Tree National Park||The Joshua Tree Inn, Harmony Motel and many more|
|Camping Location||Multiple Locations|
If this is your first-time visiting this park and you’re looking for things to do there to make the most of your trip, you’ve found the right guide.
In this guide, we’ll share our top 5 places to explore here and give you some important tips to have a fun and safe trip.
It is a desert landscape sprawled over 800,000 acres in Southeastern California. Despite its somewhat plain and imposing landscape, several plants and animals call this desert home.
Named after the Joshua trees native to the Mojave Desert, the Park combines large canyons, hidden oases, bulbous rocks, and an epic variety of wildlife.
There are a lot of activities in the Park, including hiking, camping, bird-watching, rock climbing, and photography.
It receives 3 million visitors a year, making it the 10th most visited Park in the United States.
The first-ever residents of the Joshua Tree area were the people of Pinto culture, who lived and hunted in the area 5000 years ago.
Later, Serrano, Cahuilla, and the Chmehuevi and Mojaves people lived there, who were hunter-gatherers lived in the region near the water, particularly the Oasis of Mara.
In the late 1920s, the construction of new roads bought a flood of land developers in the area who forced the tribes out and extracted most of the Goldin Joshua Tree.
Soon after introducing the automobile, Los Angelenos arrived in the area and began day-tripping in the desert.
Joshua Tree National Monument was established in 1936 to protect the desert plants.
In 1994, the monument received the status of a national park as a part of the Desert Protection Bill.
Things to Do in Joshua Tree National Park
Here are top-five must-do things on your first visit here:
Keys view is the highest point in the Park that offers breathtaking vistas and a sweeping view of Coachella Valley from an elevation of over 5000 feet.
The viewpoint is located just 20-minutes away from Park Boulevard down keys view road.
You can take a 0.2-mile loop trail to the ridge to enjoy the breathtaking views of the Salton Sea, Santa Rosa Mountains, and San Jacinto Peak.
The critical view is ideal for visiting at sunset, where the bright oranges and blistering reds saturate the desert sky.
Cholla Cactus Garden
Visit the Cholla Cactus Garden to see the most extensive collection of Cholla cactus in any national park.
There’s a short trail that lets you get up close and walk among thousands of beautiful cholla cactus.
But be careful and don’t get too close because they are known as jumping cactus for a reason, and they can dive into your skin, clothes, and shoes.
Arch Rock is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the entire Park.
Located in the white tank campground, there’s a short hike to the Arch Rock within the granite formations.
Arch Rock is about 30-feet across and looks like a brontosaurus. You can even climb up and take a closer look at this fascinating formation if you like.
The easy and family-friendly hike is a must-do stroll for everyone staying at the White Tank Campground
Barker Dam is one of the shortest and easiest hiking trails in the Park. It is the only hiking trail with water and will take you to the historic dam from the early to mid-1900s.
If you happen to visit in Spring, it’s filled with water and gives a beautiful reflection of the rocks behind.
If you have limited time to visit the Park, it is a great trail as it lets you see some of the Park’s best features, such as Joshua trees and all the crazy rock formations.
Keys Ranch Tour
It is a National Historic Register Site located in a remote canyon and is only accessible through ranger-guided tours.
The rangers will explain to you the colorful story of the 60 years Bill and Frances spend in such a remote location and raising their five children.
Today, this ranch plays the role of time capsule for the visitors with a ranch house, schoolhouse, workshop, and store still stand that was once a part of their Desert Queen Ranch Story.
Best Time to Visit This Park
The most popular season to visit the Park is in the Spring; Joshua trees begin to sprout their creamy blossoms in February, while cacti and wildflowers start blooming and dot the desert floor through April.
The temperature in the spring and fall months stays in a range of 50 to 85 degrees, ideal for exploring the Park and enjoying other outdoor activities.
The peak season begins from March to May and October to November when temperatures are most pleasant and visitors pour in.
To find about the Park’s destinations, must-see spots, visitor centers, camping grounds, crowded and quieter areas, make sure to download and print the map of Joshua Tree Nat Park before you arrive.
If you want topographical maps, they are available for free download on the official site of nps.gov.com.
The Park has nine camping grounds with 500 campsites available by reservation.
All campgrounds are open year-round, and you can book on the same day or 6-months in advance.
The reservation fee is $15 per night. To make reservations visit recreation.gov.
The Park has a desert climate, warm during the day and cold at night. The temperature varies depending on your location in the Park.
Summers can be scorching hot, with the temperature reaching more than 100 degrees in the day and 75 degrees at night.
During winter, the day temperature is 60 degrees, while it dips to 30 degrees at night.
Spring and Fall are the most comfortable times to visit the Park, with an average high of about 85 degrees.
Make sure to check the current weather of the Park before visiting.
Best Hotels Near Joshua Tree National Park
Here are some best hotels for overnight lodging near the park. Make sure to check the latest travel guidance before booking your trip and check availability with the venue:
- The Joshua Tree Inn
- High Desert Motel
- Mojave Sands
- Pioneertown Motel
- Harmony Motel
Entrance Fee and Passes
The Park entrance fee is $30 for the private vehicle, $25 for the motorcycle, and $15 for the pedestrian/cyclist, valid for the next seven days from the day of purchase.
You can also purchase the Park’s Annual Pass or America the Beautiful Pass that provides entry to more than 200 recreation sites in the United States.
You can buy digital access passes from recreation.gov.
Checklist for Joshua Tree National Park
Here’s a list of clothing, gear, and other essentials you must bring to the Park:
- Breathable and comfy clothes
- Rain Jacket
- Wool Socks
- Hiking shoes/sandals
- Winter/summer hat
- Water bottle
- Snacks and water
- Bug spray
- First-aid kit
- Map & Compass
Is Joshua Tree National Park Safe at night?
Yes, Joshua Tree National Park is entirely safe to enter at night. The roads are marked and patrolling during the night.
How long does it take to drive through the Joshua Tree National Park?
It takes less than 2 hours to drive through the entire Park, starting from the west entrance to the South.
Are there any poisonous snakes in the Park?
Yes, there are 26 different types of venomous snakes found in Joshua Tree National Park, so be careful while hiking or climbing in the Park.
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