Located in Southern California about 35 miles from Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park is known for its stunning desert landscapes, unique rock formations and well Joshua Tree’s of course. The park itself covers more than 790,000 acres and visitor’s come from all over to hike, camp, rock climb, stargaze, or just to simply drive through and admire the beauty.
Joshua Tree National Park is located about 140 miles east of Los Angeles and 35 miles north of Palm Springs. The park is accessible via several highways, including I-10 and CA-62. If you’re flying into the area, the closest airports are Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) and Ontario International Airport (ONT). From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle to the park.
The top things to do inside the park are:
- Hiking: The park has more than 100 miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy nature walks to strenuous climbs.
- Rock Climbing: Joshua Tree is a popular destination for rock climbers, with thousands of routes to choose from.
- Stargazing: The park’s dark skies make it an ideal spot for stargazing. You can even attend a ranger-led astronomy program.
- Scenic Drives: There are several scenic drives in the park, including the Keys View Road and the Park Boulevard Loop.
- Photography: Photographers flock to the area to capture great shots of the Joshua Trees and giant rock formations, the incredible sunrises and sunsets and the nightsky filled with stars.
- Camping: Spending the night under the stars is another bucket list adventure item.
There are several developed campgrounds inside Joshua Tree National Park as well as dispersed camping options near the park. There are also tons of vacation rentals to choose from in nearby towns which is another huge reason people visit the area. Take a look at Booking.com, Tripadvisor and VRBO for options and recommendations.
Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your visit to Joshua Tree National Park:
- Bring plenty of water: The desert can be extremely hot and dry, so it’s important to stay hydrated.
- Wear sunscreen and a hat: The sun can be intense in the desert, so it’s important to protect your skin and eyes.
- Watch for wildlife: Keep an eye out for wildlife while hiking or driving. You may see bighorn sheep, coyotes, and other animals.
- Leave no trace: Help preserve the park’s natural beauty by packing out your trash and following Leave No Trace principles.
- Be prepared: Make sure you have a map, plenty of water, and any necessary equipment for your chosen activity.
When to Go
The best time to visit Joshua Tree National Park is in the fall and spring when temperatures are beautiful. Summer temperatures can reach well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s best to avoid visiting during this time. If you’re planning to stargaze, the winter months are also a great time to visit. The park is known for its dark skies and excellent views of the stars.