Joshua Tree National Park Travel Guide

  • Joshua Tree National Park
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  • Monzogranite clambering - feel the power!
    Monzogranite clambering - feel the...
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  • Joshua Tree National Park
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Joshua Tree National Park Highlights

  • Pro
    Teledude profile photo

    Teledude says…

     Vast tracts of open desert and the bouldering is superb 

  • Con
    PA2AKgirl profile photo

    PA2AKgirl says…

     Hot, can get crowded, rattlesnakes and sidewinders 

  • In a nutshell
    girladventure profile photo

    girladventure says…

     Southern California's climber's paradise! 

Joshua Tree National Park Things to Do

  • Walking / Hiking / Climbing

    There are six "established" hiking trails ranging in distances from 3 miles to 16 miles. They are as follows: Mastodon Peak - 3 miles Ryan Mountain - 3 miles 49 Palms Oasis - 3 miles Lost Horse Mine/Mountain - 4 miles Lost Palms Oasis - 7.5 miles Boy Scout Trail - 16 miles

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  • Key's View

    Here you can see the San Andreas Fault where two continental plates; the Pacific Ocean Crust and the North American Crust have collided and push against each other causing instability and earthquakes.

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  • Rock Formations

    The indentation on this rock was formed by a combination of two geological processes; Undercutting and Cavernous Weathering. These are when moisture is trapped on the surface of the rock or in the soil long enough to erode away some of the minerals forming the rock. Then rain and wind wash away the loosened parts of the rock.

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  • Skull Rock

    It´s one of the most remarkable spots on this planet!! Just climb on one of these thousands of rockformations, and stare straight into one direction for 5 Minutes, I swear , you WILL believe, that you´re somewhere on the moon! It´s breathtaking, the air ist clean and refreshing. Ever heard the saying "Catch a Spirit"? THAT´S what will happen to...

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  • Joshua Tree

    The Cholla cactus could be taken for a Teddy Bear- it looks quite cuddley. Far from it ! Its thousands of needles will cause quite a lot of damage if you put out your hand to touch it or brush against one. Like all the plant in the Park it is wonderfully adapted to the climatic and environmental conditions of its natural surroundings. A most...

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  • Cacti

    Another plant in the park, which is frequently mistaken as a cactus due to the thorns and its appearance, is the Ocotillo. The Ocotillo is actually a type of deciduous plant; but unlike most deciduous trees it does not grow leaves in the spring and lose them in the fall. It grows leaves after a rainfall and loses them during a drought, possibly...

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Joshua Tree National Park Hotels

Joshua Tree National Park Restaurants

  • Good Mexican food near Joshua Tree NP

    Some of the main dishes were a bit expensive, but you could share a platter which provides a more-than-satisfactory portion of food for a decent price. Nice architecture/decor of restaurant. Friendly staff. Great margaritas - perfect to end a day of hiking in the desert. Margarita.

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  • A blast from the Past

    After a full day in Joshua Tree National ParK, we went to eat at the 29 Palms Inn. Accommodation there is in small adobe cottages, painted in different colours beautifully reflecting the hues of dusk on the National Park and Mojave Desert. The restaurant adjoins the Inn's pool area which had a slightly run down look. Service in the restaurant was...

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  • A very cozy place

    This is a very great place to relax after hiking/walking/climbing at the Joshua Tree Park. They have very good food and the prices are very reasonable also. They serve sandwiches, salads, beer, coffee, and their specialty smoothies. I orderd the ahi sandwich, and it was great. A very big chunk of fish between two pieces of wheat bread.It has a very...

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Joshua Tree National Park Transportation

  • Information / Sources

    The main park road angles from the south entrance to the west entrance and neatly bisects the park into two halves. The main road is about forty miles long and the visitor van stop anywhere and start hiking in any direction. There really are no restrictions on hiking--just watch out for rattlesnakes.

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  • By Car

    For the most part the park is all paved roads. There are however a few dirt roads that will take you to places. They are not really that difficult to traverse. All the same though, you still might want to leave your Ferrari at home.

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  • The roads

    For the most part the park is all paved roads. There are however a few dirt roads that will take you to places. They are not really that difficult to traverse. All the same though, you still might want to leave your Ferrari at home.

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Joshua Tree National Park Shopping

  • National Park shop

    At each of the entrances to the park there are shops. The best I felt was at the northern entrance in 29 Palms. The Oasis Visitor Center has the nicest displays and best (yet small) selection of items to purchase of all the shops. The Cottonwood Visitor Center has many of the same things but is much smaller and the displays are not as well done and...

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  • Shopping in the Park

    This is the kind of shop so often found at places like National Parks. But this was a particularly attractive and well stocked one, with really friendly and helpful staff.We bought sun hats, post cards and books about the Park and for our grandchildren Joshua Tree T-shirts. The latter were the most long-lasting of any such take-home presents. One...

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  • The store has it all

    Buy as much as you can outside of the park in its neighboring towns. We hit up Twenty Nine Palms and it didn't seem to expensive. Plus your supporting the smaller towns around the park. You'd hate to not be able to make a beer or smores run.

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Joshua Tree National Park Local Customs

  • cobrioc's Profile Photo

    by cobrioc Written Oct 23, 2002

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Despite its grandeur, grace and rising popularity, Joshua Tree is a place few of us have ever physically traveled to. Virtually everyone's been here, however, thanks to popular culture.

    Ever seen a classic Western film by John Ford?
    Ever sung along with Glenn Frey of the Eagles as he pined for sleeping in the desert with million stars all around? Maybe you've even shared the emotions of U2's Bono as he sings about still not having found what he's looking for. / From an album that was named for, inspired by and recorded near the park. / If so, you've been to Joshua Tree.
    But popular culture has its limits. To see the real Joshua Tree, you've got to load up on the sunscren, lace on some sturdy hiking boots and grab that little telescope from the attic.

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Joshua Tree National Park Warnings and Dangers

  • Do Not Feed the Coyotes!!!

    From the National Park Service website: Feeding coyotes, squirrels, and other animals weans them from their natural food supplies and turns them into dangerous creatures as they lose their fear of humans and become agressive.

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  • Smog Index

    For current ozone concentration check the website below. Nothing like being above 4,000 feet with 90+ degrees and the maximum 8-hour average ozone concentration (ppb) is 93. Not a good time for some exercise.

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  • Don't like heights? Avoid Mt. Ryan!

    So, as you can decipher from my username, I'm not one of the skinny "billy goat" kind of hikers that are prolific in Joshua Tree. I'm short and fat, and I hike very slowly. However, it wasn't physical limitations that made me despise the Mt. Ryan trail, it's my crippling fear of heights. The Mt. Ryan trail is literally climbing a mountain. The...

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Joshua Tree National Park Tourist Traps

  • Yubert's Profile Photo

    by Yubert Written Nov 12, 2002

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    Be careful hiking between the rocks. You just might get trapped if you're too big and the opening is too small.

    Fun Alternatives: Walk around thr rocks, not between them.

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Joshua Tree National Park What to Pack

  • First Aid Items

    You will want to wear sunscreen at Joshua Tree National Park. Even in the winter, you'll get a lot of sun in the desert. The last thing you want is to end up with a burn. Bring along the bottle so you can re-apply as the day goes on!

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  • Standard national park packing list

    I visited in January and it was pretty chilly and cold in the morning. Keep in mind you are up in the mountains too. Warm weather clothes are a very good idea. Remember what your mother said about layers. ;-)Good shoes are always a good idea. Especially here where you do a lot of hiking and walking around. The only places you would be able to...

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  • Don't Forget the Sunscreen!

    You will want to wear sunscreen at Joshua Tree National Park. Even in the winter, you'll get a lot of sun in the desert. The last thing you want is to end up with a burn. Bring along the bottle so you can re-apply as the day goes on!

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Joshua Tree National Park Off The Beaten Path

  • Crazy Steel Gate

    We walked past the Hidden Valley Campground out toward a small bouldering area. While Melise was trying to solve a conundrum, my husband had walked further away from the boulders and discovered a big rock that was situated in such a way that it had somewhat formed a cave. Someone had cemented in additional rocks to create a full blown cave, and had...

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  • Abandoned Equipment

    All kinds of people have tried--and failed--to live in the Mojave desert. When they go, they leave behind all kinds of stuff. You're not likely to find most of it on the main trails, but if you wander off just a bit, you're likely to run into all kinds of things you didn't expect.

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  • Hidden Valley

    Just off Park Boulevard after entering from the western side is a great off the road area to explore and check out. Without requiring any hiking or work to get to it, you can just park and stroll around. Seeing as how it is so easy to get to, it's well worth it so that you can check out the huge rock formations and the joshua trees. I was there...

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Joshua Tree National Park Sports & Outdoors

  • Rock Climbing.

    Intersection Rock has three routes, or lines to climb. There are the Left Ski Track with a 5.11a difficulty; the Right Ski Track with a 5.3 difficulty and the North Overhang with a 5.9 difficulty rating.

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  • Bajada Nature Trail

    Right by the southern entrance to the park is the short (.25 mile), relatively easy Bajada Nature Trail. The trail has informative signs along the way. It is hard-packed and wheel-chair accessible. Good walking shoes, a hat, sunscreen, water, and don't forget your camera.

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  • Lost Palms Oasis Trail

    The trail to Lost Palms Oasis is a 7.6 mile roundtrip along a strenuous trail. The oasis is an important habitat for Bighorn Sheep so overnight camping is not permitted here. Good walking shoes, a hat, sunscreen, water, a snack, and don't forget your camera.

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Joshua Tree National Park Favorites

  • Flora / Fauna

    The Rock formations are really nice to look at and take pictures and they have some pretty nice camp sites......Jumbo Rocks. There were very few flowers in bloom in the month of March i suppose because of lack of rain ......But i did enjoy my one day road trip to the desert and i plan on going back and staying a night in the back of my truck with...

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  • Joshua Tree

    This picture was taken in the early evening, at sunset, and shows the silhouette of a Joshua tree with in the background two ranges of high mountains that might be the Santa Rosa mountains but I am not absolutely sure of their identification.

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  • Information / Sources

    They were awesome. They helped us not only with information about the park, but also information around the whole 29 Palms Area. Where does the water in the tap come from? What is the bird that sounds like...? Why are there all these fences around the houses? They could answer all of it and they were helpful, nice, and funny to boot. Make use of...

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Explore Deeper into Joshua Tree National Park
Mines
Things to Do
Ryan Mountain
Things to Do
Barker Dam
Things to Do
Desert Views
Favorites
Weather
Favorites
The Desert in Bloom
Things to Do
Mining camp remains
Things to Do
Rock formations
Things to Do
Cottonwood Springs Trail
Sports & Outdoors
Arch Rock Trail
Sports & Outdoors
Cholla Cactus Garden Trail
Sports & Outdoors
Twin Tanks Trail
Sports & Outdoors
Oasis of Mara Trail
Sports & Outdoors
Sculptured Rock
Things to Do
Arch Rock
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Cottonwood Visitors Center
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Ocotillo
Things to Do
Cholla Cactus Garden
Things to Do
Oasis of Mara
Things to Do
Hall of Horrors
Sports & Outdoors
Ryan Mountain Trail
Sports & Outdoors
Ryan Ranch Trail
Sports & Outdoors
Cap Rock Nature Trail
Sports & Outdoors
Handicapped Accessibility
Favorites
Indian Cave
Things to Do
San Andreas Fault
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Beautiful View
Things to Do
Minerva Hamilton Hoyt
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Oasis Visitors Center Displays
Things to Do
Oasis Visitors Center
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Road to/from the South Entrance
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Where is this in Hidden Valley, Joshua Tree Park
Sports & Outdoors
Trails to hike
Things to Do
Gather History by Reading the Rocks
Things to Do
Rangers and Staff at Oasis of Mara Visiting Center
Favorites
Clambering
Things to Do
Desert Flowers / Stargazing
Favorites
The Teddy Bear Cactus Garden
Things to Do
Take the advice of the Park Rangers
Warnings and Dangers
Key's View
Things to Do
Map of Joshua Tree National Park

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