• Joshua Tree National Park is an iconic destination for travelers around the world
• visitors can enjoy rock climbing, birdwatching, stargazing, camping, and more!
Located in the Mojave and Colorado Deserts of California, 11 miles away from Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park is an iconic destination for travelers around the world. With its rugged beauty, diverse wildlife, and activities for all ages, it’s no wonder why this park is so popular. Here’s a guide to the views, things to do, and hot springs nearby to make the most of your visit.
Unique Joshua Tree
Joshua Trees (or Yucca brevifolia), is not a tree, but rather a type of yucca plant native to the southwestern United States, specifically the Mojave Desert. These trees typically grow up to 40 feet tall and live for centuries, having adapted over time to survive in an arid climate with hot temperatures and low humidity levels.
Yucca brevifolia is easily recognizable by its jagged branches reaching up toward the sky, giving rise to its unique name. Joshua Trees are an important part of the park's delicate desert ecosystem, providing food and shelter for desert wildlife.
Joshua Trees also have a special place in the heart of many visitors to Joshua Tree National Park, as their unique and striking shape has inspired countless stories and legends. Those trees have been a source of inspiration for artists, travelers, and locals alike for generations. Those plants also play an important role in helping to preserve biodiversity in the park and help to protect the environment from invasive species.
Joshua Trees Are Going Extinct
Joshua Trees are slowly becoming endangered due to a variety of factors, including climate change and human development. Unfortunately, these unique plants are now facing extinction due to increased temperatures in the desert that cause them to dry out and die off.
This is because Joshua Trees require specific environmental conditions to thrive; too much heat or not enough water can be deadly for these slow-growing trees. While some plants may be able to adapt over time by shifting their range or changing how they grow, many will not survive as the climate continues to warm at an alarming rate.
Human activities such as land-use changes, agricultural expansion, grazing animals, recreational activities, road construction, and urbanization also contribute to their decline by destroying natural habitats and disrupting pollination patterns. Joshua Tree National Park is one of the few places where these majestic trees still exist in abundance.
Joshua Tree National Park boasts exceptional views in every direction. From its picturesque cholla cactus gardens and creosote bush-clad plains to its soaring granite monoliths and sky-high Joshua trees, visitors will be captivated by the unique landscape. Whether you’re there for a day or camping overnight, you’ll never tire of soaking up these stunning vistas.
Whether you're looking for adventure or relaxation, Joshua Tree National Park has something special in store for everyone who visits. From its awe-inspiring desert landscape to its diverse activities and hot spring resorts nearby, this precious slice of nature will leave an unforgettable impression on your heart forever.
Joshua Tree National Park - Things to Do
The activities available at Joshua Tree are endless. In addition to exploring miles of trails on foot or horseback, visitors can take part in rock climbing, birdwatching, stargazing, and even guided wildflower tours. There's something for everyone!
Joshua Tree National Park has 28 hiking trails of various difficulty for visitors to explore and experience the beauty of Joshua Trees, unique desert flora, abundant wildlife, and scenic views. From easy-to-moderate trails to challenging backcountry routes, the park has something for everyone.
Notable trails in the national park include the Lost Horse Mine Trail, which is a 4.6-mile loop that winds through the valley and passes by a historic gold mine, and the Barker Dam Trail, which is a 1.3-mile loop through the park’s iconic Joshua Trees. Other popular trails include the easy 1-mile Hidden Valley Nature Trail and the challenging 3-mile Ryan Mountain - both great options for those seeking an adrenaline-filled hike in Joshua Tree National Park.
Hot Springs Nearby
If you’re looking for a more relaxing experience after enjoying all that Joshua Tree has to offer, you may want to check out some of the nearby hot springs including numerous spa resorts in Desert Hot Springs Town and hot spring oasis in the Imperial Valley Desert a few miles away from the Salton Sea. Those destinations feature natural mineral pools heated by thermal springs beneath them—perfect for soaking away any aches and pains!
Desert Hot Springs:
- Azure Palm Hot Springs
- Desert Hot Springs Spa Hotel & Resort
- Miracle Springs Resort & Spa
- Tuscan Springs Hotel & Spa
Imperial valley Desert:
- Bashford's Hot Mineral Spa
- Fountain of Youth Spa RV Resort
- Glamis North Hot Springs
- Private Hot Mineral Springs
Lodging and Camping
Lodging options inside the park include White Tank Campground, Belle Campground, Indian Cove Campground, Jumbo Rocks Campground, Ryan Campground, and Black Rock Campground. If you’re looking for accommodations with more facilities just outside the park there are plenty of campgrounds and RV parks where one can stay while exploring nature. Popular nearby spots include Sheep Pass Group Area, Coyote Hole Lodgings, and Hidden Valley Lodgings.
Joshua Tree National Park | Facts
Location: 40 miles northeast of Palm Springs • California • USA
Open: Year-round for 24 hours
Managed by: National Park Service
Acreage: 800,000 acres
Amenities: Visitor in Twentynine Palms, restrooms and drinking water at some locations including West Entrance, Black Rock Campground, Cottonwood Campground, and Indian Cove Ranger Station
Activities: Hiking, rock climbing, horse riding, camping, and guided wildflower tours
Day-use fees: Yes
Accommodations: Nine campgrounds within the park area
Road Access: Any vehicle
Note: There is no cell service
Elevation: 3,000-5,500 ft (910-1,700 m)
Directions to Joshua Tree National Park
From Palm Springs,
- Follow N Indian Canyon Drive for 13 miles
- Turn right onto CA-62 E and follow it for 13 miles
- Keep straight to follow Yucca Trail, Alta Loma Road and Quail Springs Road to Park Blvd for 10.3 miles.