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4.5
48 votes

Joshua Tree National Park

74485 National Park Dr, Twentynine Palms, California 92277 USA

Free
Free to Visit
Open Now
Sat 12a-12a
  • Independent
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Pet Friendly
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Public Restrooms
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“800,000 breathtaking acres of desert”

Joshua Tree National Park is immense, nearly 800,000 acres, and infinitely variable. It can seem unwelcoming, even brutal during the heat of summer when, in fact, it is delicate and extremely fragile. This is a land shaped by strong winds, sudden torrents of rain, and climatic extremes. Rainfall is sparse and unpredictable. Streambeds are usually dry and waterholes are few. Viewed in summer, this land may appear defeated and dead, but within this parched environment are intricate living systems waiting for the opportune moment to reproduce. The individuals, both plant and animal, that inhabit the park are not individualists. They depend on their entire ecosystem for survival.

Two deserts, two large ecosystems primarily determined by elevation, come together in the park. Few areas more vividly illustrate the contrast between “high” and “low” desert. Below 3,000 feet (910 m), the Colorado Desert (part of the Sonoran Desert), occupying the eastern half of the park, is dominated by the abundant 
creosote bush. Adding interest to this arid land are small stands of spidery ocotillo and cholla cactus.The higher, slightly cooler, and wetter Mojave Desert is the special habitat of the undisciplined Joshua tree, extensive stands of which occur throughout the western half of the park. According to legend, Mormon pioneers considered the limbs of the Joshua trees to resemble the upstretched arms of Joshua leading them to the promised land. Others were not as visionary. Early explorer John Fremont described them as “…the most repulsive tree in the vegetable Kingdom.”

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Reviewed by
Dana Newkirk

  • Road Warrior
  • 299 Reviews
  • 313 Helpful
July 7, 2014
Rated 4.0

If you only have a day, hit up the visitors center before you head out and they’ll help you make the most out of your day. However, if you get the chance to stay for a few days, prepare to be amazed by the night sky; you’ll hardly be able to believe the stars.

The yucca trees (which are from the lily family) are amazing to see, and though some have unfortunately been vandalized, they look alien next to the craggy rock formations. Make sure to keep an eye our for tarantulas and scorpions while there!

18 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Joel Schat

  • Photographer
  • 238 Reviews
  • 378 Helpful
July 2, 2014

Astrophotography here is truly stunning! Highly recommending getting away from the popular spots and just taking one of the dirt roads off into the middle of nowhere for a truly authentic experience!

6 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
tassanee

  • 7 Reviews
  • 9 Helpful
May 26, 2014

Awesome place for astrophotography since it's so far from light pollution. Great trails as well and camping!

5 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
marthajk

  • 2 Reviews
  • 4 Helpful
June 22, 2015
Rated 5.0

Absolutely magical! Be aware that it costs $20 to enter the park PLUS $15-$20 to camp. However, the payment for camping is for the week. I stayed in the Hidden Valley campground which was secluded, shaded and had spectacular views and rocks to climb!

4 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Plvogel

  • 98 Reviews
  • 28 Helpful
May 11, 2015
Rated 4.0

Joshua Tree was a really fun day trip. We drove out from Palm Springs around noon and got to park at about 2. We pretty much drove straight through the park stopping at a couple of the scenic overlooks and at one of the cactus gardens. The views of the mountains are absolutely breathtaking and some of the plant life makes you feel like you have been transported back into prehistoric times. Seriously some of the foliage is some of the oddest and coolest anywhere.

We were able to pass through the whole park in about 3 hours, and even with traffic on I-10 we got back to LA by 8. I would highly recommend visiting Joshua Tree on your road trip.

3 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
WanderFarAndOften

  • 1 Review
  • 1 Helpful
October 26, 2015
Rated 5.0

Absolutely amazing! We stopped here for an afternoon and camped during a 10-day road trip through the West, and this was definitely one of the highlights.

I'd recommend staying at Jumbo Rocks campground - the name says it all. There's tons of large rocks that create small alcoves for each campsite, so it feels pretty private. Plus, you can go climb around on all the rocks for a few different views. We explored a few trails during the afternoon and each sight was cooler than the last - you'll definitely feel like you're in another world. The yucca trees against the rocks and the sparse desert landscape are unreal.

But the best part is easily the night sky - I have never seen anything so spectacular. You feel as if you could reach out an touch the milky way as it appears so close and bright. And as a woman at the local grocery store told us, make sure to keep an out for those UFOs!

It's a great national park, and I can't wait to come back a spend some more time there!

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Tatiana Danger

  • Road Warrior
  • 1,165 Reviews
  • 593 Helpful
August 31, 2014
Rated 4.0

Geologically, the park is a natural wonderland of boulders, stone hills and features such as Horror Rock. It’s basically a rock climber’s paradise. There are like thousands of named climbing routes throughout the park. I drove through here in August 2014 and it was incredible. Virtually every part of the park is picture-worthy. Bring water! It can be terribly hot in the summer.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Aimee DeGroat

  • Road Warrior
  • 18 Reviews
  • 20 Helpful
August 12, 2014
Rated 3.0

Meh it was pretty and the sunset lighting up the cacti was beautiful, but the Joshua trees were better (although smaller) in Death Valley.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
peppertaz

  • 1 Review
  • 1 Helpful
July 7, 2014
Rated 5.0

Awesome Rock formations and the moonrise is spectacular, go back after dark and see more stars than you have ever seen!

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
SandyMaldi

  • 29 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
January 9, 2017
Rated 4.0

We went for the day, in the summer. Man it was hot!!! We drove all around the park the entire day. Theres a few popular places to look at, and several hikes too. Def visit, but maybe not in the summer.

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Joshua Tree National Park

74485 National Park Dr
Twentynine Palms, California
92277 USA

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Hours

Open 24 hours today
  • Sun - Sat: 12:00 am - 12:00 am

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  • Independent
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Pet Friendly
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Public Restrooms
  • Outdoor Seating
  • No Wifi
  • Free Parking

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