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Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree, a desert park, is a massive, 800,000 acres of seemingly unwelcoming, and sometimes, brutal heat in summer and rare, unpredictable rainfall. Streambeds are usually dry and waterholes are few. During the summer season, this land appears depleted. However, within this exhausted atmosphere are living systems waiting for the moment to revitalize itself and the land around it. The slightly cooler, and wetter Mojave Desert is the special habitat of Joshua tree.
Close examination of this magnificent desert park uncovers a fascinating variety of exotic plants and wildlife animals that make it the place they call home. This land, in all its splendor is shaped by strong winds, incredible downfalls of unpredictable rain, and extreme climate. Let your skin absorb the warm sun during the day and view the stars in the dark night sky. Full of rich cultural history, and surreal geologic features add to the attraction of this place. You’ll have to see it up close to believe the exuberance this desert park only hints from a distance.
Things to do:
Joshua Tree desert park offers visitors a variety of opportunities to explore and discover the surrounding environment. Here are some ideas to consider:
For a short visit: begin at a visitor center where staff will help you plan your day. Even with limited time, you can sightsee the12 nature trails. On clear days the vista from Keys View extends beyond Salton Sea to Mexico.
An entire day: On hiking trails, a ranger program will add to your understanding of the park and it’s environment. The park offers an extensive network of dirt roads that make for less crowded and safer cycling than the paved main roads if you would like to experience the desert from a mountain bike. Joshua Tree has a popular rock-climbing area.
A day or more: There are nine campgrounds and backcountry camping is permitted.
Horseback Riding
Horseback riding is a popular way to experience Joshua Tree National Park for those who bring their own horses. However, care should be taken in planning your trip. The lack of available drinking water is both a challenge and a limitation.
Reservations must be made online at or by calling 877-444-6777 (up to six months in advance).
Caution: The desert, fascinating as it is, can be life-threatening for those unfamiliar with its potential dangers. It is essential that you carry water with you-even if you are only driving through. Cars break down; keys get locked inside; accidents happen.
Alerts: Closed Trails- Cottonwood-Due to heavy rainfall, trail access to Cottonwood Spring Oasis, Lost Palms Oasis, and Mastodon Peak are temporarily closed. Remains of historic mining were churned up, exposing heavy metals that are a health and safety issue to people.
Possible travel delays- up to 30-minutes due to construction on Pinto Basin Road -The project, expected to be completed in August 2014, of ongoing construction, to improve Pinto Basin Road will impact travel between the northern portion of the park and the Cottonwood/I-10 area. Plan accordingly.
Black Rock Canyon Road deteriorating conditions-The deep potholes and deeply rutted road leading to Black Rock campground has and can be difficult to negotiate, especially in large vehicles. Please drive with caution.

Rock climbing at Joshua Tree.
Photo by Mike Powell/Getty Images
A Desert Park
Photo by David McNew/Getty Images
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