The Desert Institute is the adult educational program offered by the Joshua Tree National Park Association (JTNPA) in partnership with Joshua Tree National Park.The Desert Institute offers open enrollment field classes in Joshua Tree National Park and surrounding areas (several with the option of college credit), military scholarships, community lectures, and custom-designed programming.The Institute has courses in cultural history, natural science, survival skills, and the arts for adults to explore in-depth the natural wonders of the park with expert instructors and runs six lecture series with various partners in Twentynine Palms, Yucca Valley, Palm Springs, Palm Desert, and Rancho Mirage. There are two class semesters, fall and spring, with courses scheduled on the weekends, ranging from one to three days. Discounts on field classes are available for members of Joshua Tree National Park Association and Partners in Nature Education members.
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!
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!
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!
Awesome place for astrophotography since it's so far from light pollution. Great trails as well and camping!
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.
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!
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.
Meh it was pretty and the sunset lighting up the cacti was beautiful, but the Joshua trees were better (although smaller) in Death Valley.
Awesome Rock formations and the moonrise is spectacular, go back after dark and see more stars than you have ever seen!
A good stopping point on the way to thw Grand Canyon. Visited the Oasis visitor center, there were interesting displays and the park rangers were very nice. It was super hot so we opted for pool time at the hotel and night star gazing .... it was amazing.
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