Joshua Tree National Park

Visiting Joshua Tree National Park: 7 Things You Need To Know

Joshua Tree National Park is a wilderness protected area and national park located in southeastern California. At Joshua Tree National Park you’ll find a desert paradise home to stunning panoramic vistas, ancient flora and fauna and some of the best stargazing in the country.

The park is named for the Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia) native to the Mojave Desert. The Joshua tree is unique as it grows in fiercely adverse conditions. Want to visit this amazing place? Here’s all the key info you need to know…

Visiting Joshua Tree National Park: Things You Need To Know

1. What’s so special about Joshua Tree National Park?

The ecosystem of Joshua Tree National Park is really unique in that two distinct deserts, the Mojave and the Colorado, come together. The geology of this park is equally as fascinating it shows the effects of plate tectonics, volcanism, mountain-building, and stark erosion.

Within its 790,000 acres, you can see dry lakes, sand dunes, flat valleys, rugged mountains, granitic monoliths, and oases. It’s home to 57 mammal species, 46 reptile species, over 250 birds, amphibians, and invertebrates. You’ll see many birds during the day, however, at night is when the desert comes most alive with wildlife. Some animals that are active at night include snakes, bighorn sheep, kangaroo rats, coyotes, and black-tailed jackrabbits!

2. How do I get there?

The closest airport to the park is Palm Springs. You can drive to Joshua Tree from Interstate 10 or California Highway 62.

Public transportation to the park is limited. Check the Morongo Basin Transit Authority website for schedules.

There are three entrances to the park:

  • West Entrance: this is five miles south of the junction of Highway 62 and Park Boulevard at Joshua Tree Village.
    North Entrance is in Twentynine Palms: this is three miles south of the junction of Highway 62 and Utah Trail.
    South Entrance Cottonwood Spring is an access point along Interstate 10, 25 miles east of Indio.

3. How much will it cost?

Admission to the park is $30 per vehicle or $25 per motorcycle and $15 per person. An annual park pass will cost $55.

4. How long will it take?

It is possible to do a day trip to Joshua Tree but to get the full experience and give yourself enough time to explore all the wonders it has to offer, 2-3 days is recommended.

Joshua Tree National Park

5. When is the best time to go?

The best time to visit is from March to May and October to November. The temperature is most bearable during these months.

6. Where will I get the best photos?

  1.  With a Joshua Tree!
  2.  Along the Hidden Valley trail (best hiking photo spots in Joshua Tree)
  3. Cholla Cactus Garden
  4. Arch Rock
  5. Barker Dam

Joshua Tree National Park

7. Any insider tips?

  1. Make sure you bring enough water to keep you going throughout your whole time at the park.
  2. There are toilets, but not the flushing kind, so come prepared!
  3. Plan beforehand what you want to see; the park is huge and can be quite overwhelming at times.
  4. If you’re not into camping you stay in a local Airbnb in the park.
  5. Make the most of the night sky,  Joshua tree has some of the best stargazing in the country.
Siobhan McKenny