Plan your visit to
Joshua Tree National Park
A Desert Landscape Like no Other
The desert landscape brings together the Mohave and Colorado deserts in complete harmony and the peculiar name for the park comes from the unique Joshua Trees found protected within its borders. Joshua Tree National Park is also one of the youngest national parks with its national park status instated in 1994. The area of Joshua National Park covers a sprawling 790,636 acres and the over 1 million and a half visitors enjoy a variety of activities throughout the park.
When to go
January – February – March – April – May – September – October – November – December
Day Trip – Hiking – Stunning Vistas – Scenic Drives – Wild flowers – Climbing – Horseback Riding – Bird-Watching – History
Joshua Tree National Park may be most known for the Joshua trees that give the landscape a truly other worldly view, but more people come here for the world class rock climbing excursions than anything else. The park is dotted with over 400 different structures allowing rock climbers from all experience levels to climb all over the park. Special precautions do have to be maintained with rock climbing within the park however to ensure safety of everyone within your group. Make sure that you understand the structure of a rock before you attempt to climb. Although most of the rock formations are quite stable, some do call for a bit of caution to avoid slipping of rocks sliding. It should also be noted that many of the rock formations that you may climb on may contain ancient artifacts that although may be tempting to take home as a souvenir should be left where they lie for others to enjoy.
Even though millions of people visit Joshua Tree National Park each year, many are not aware that out of the hundreds of thousands of acres that encompass the park, only 25% is considered developed. The other 75% is completely wilderness and therefore backpacking into the wilderness is a significant draw for those that want to get away from the rigors of everyday life. If you choose to discover Joshua Tree National Park in this manner, there are going to be some things you will want to be aware of.
Backpacking is free within the park, but a permit is required to ensure people do not just wander around and get lost. There is also a limit of 14 days on any backpacking excursion into the area. Water is not readily available since this park of the country is mostly desert and any water reservoirs you may see are designated for the animals only. All drinking water must be brought with you and it is recommended that you bring 1 gallon for every person for every day you plan on camping for proper hydration. Fires are prohibited anywhere within the wilderness of the park, so any cooking has to be done on a camping stove.
National parks are often known for the wildlife that can be found there. Joshua Tree National Park is certainly the same way. The desert creatures that you may see within the park are some that are not usually available to be seen outside of zoos, so they should be enjoyed in their natural habitat, but precautions should always be made when viewing wildlife. The wildlife within Joshua Tree National Park include many native wild dogs such as coyotes and even some smaller creatures such as the dreaded tarantula spider, but no matter what the animal is, they all need their space. You are likely too close to the animal if it feels as though it has to move in order to feel safe. Animals are known to behave erratically when frightened and this interrupts their natural process. In addition to keeping your distance, the park rangers also ask that you never feed the animals so they can maintain their livelihood in the most natural way possible.
Things to Know
As with many of the national parks, there is a fee to discover the beauty of Joshua Tree National Park. It is however quite a bargain because the fee of $20 per vehicle and $10 per non-motorized transportation covers entrance into the park for a full 7 days. There is also the option to purchase a $30 annual pass if you are going to be visiting the park multiple times throughout the year. Camping within Joshua National Park is an additional fee and again because of the desert atmosphere, recommended that all campers bring adequate water as water sites are limited throughout the park. Camping fees are $15 to $20 per night depending on if you want to be close to a water source or not, so plan accordingly.
Download a Joshua Tree National Park Map
Planning a trip to Joshua Tree National Park? Be sure to download the official Joshua Tree National Park map, below, or use our interactive maps to find restaurants, hotels, or activities along the route of your choosing in and around the park. Either way, don’t leave home without a map of Joshua Tree National Park. This free Joshua Tree National Park map shows park roads, attractions, and more.
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Official Joshua Tree National Park Map – Click on the Map to download