- Proclaimed a National Monument in 1936 and a Biosphere Reserve in 1984, Joshua Tree was designated a National Park in 1994. The area possesses a rich human history and a pristine natural environment. Two deserts, two large ecosystems whose characteristics are determined primarily by elevation, come together at Joshua Tree National Park. Below 3,000 feet, the Colorado Desert encompasses the eastern part of the park and features natural gardens of creosote bush, ocotillo, and cholla cactus. The higher, moister, and slightly cooler Mojave Desert is the special habitat of the Joshua tree. Joshua tree forests occur in the western half of the park. This area also includes some of the most interesting geologic displays found in California's deserts. In addition, five fan palm oases dot the park, indicating those few areas where water occurs naturally and where wildlife abounds.
Copyright: National Park Service
Joshua Tree National Park
Recreation - Visitors to Joshua Tree National Park can enjoy hiking, picnicking, wildflower viewing, birding, interpretive walks and talks and camping. Visitor centers, ranger stations, entrance stations and wayside exhibits are located along main roads leading into and through the park. These provide visitors with opportunities to acquaint yourself with park resources. Publications about the park are sold by the Joshua Tree National Park Association at visitor centers.
Park rangers are here to help you have an enjoyable, safe visit. Detailed information on weather, road conditions, backcountry use, campgrounds and regulations may be obtained at visitor centers or entrance stations.
Walks, hikes, and campfire talks are conducted chiefly in the spring and fall; information is posted on campground bulletin boards, at ranger stations and at visitor centers. Ranger conducted activities can increase your enjoyment and understanding of the park.
There are nine campgrounds with tables, fireplaces, and toilets. Several picnic areas for day use are available. You must bring water and firewood. Motels, stores, restaurants, dump stations, and auto services are located in nearby towns.
Climate - Days in south-central California are typically clear with less than 25% humidity. Temperatures are most comfortable in the spring and fall, with an average high/low of 85 and 50 degrees F respectively. Winter brings cooler days, around 60 degrees F, and freezing nights. It occasionally snows at higher elevations. Summers are hot, over 100 degrees F during the day and not cooling much below 75 degrees F until the early hours of the morning.
Joshua Tree National Park lies 140 miles east of Los Angeles. Visitors can approach it from the west via Interstate 10 and Highway 62 (29 Palms Highway). The north entrances to the park are located at the towns of Joshua Tree and 29 Palms.
The south entrance at Cottonwood Springs, which lies 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of Indio, can be approached from the east or west, also via Interstate 10.