14 REASONS TO VISIT JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

In recent years, Joshua Tree National Park and the nearby communities are experiencing a steady growth in the number of visitors. Winter holidays and the spring months are the busiest times of the year at the park, but other seasons receive a consistent flow of travelers, too. This is certainly due to the park’s natural beauty featuring fascinating rock formations, various plants and animals, beautiful oases, and dramatic dark night skies. Another contributing factor to the park’s fame is its relatively close proximity to Los Angeles, allowing travelers easy access to the park’s attractions. Whether you are a weekend visitor or a true explorer, here are the reasons to visit Joshua Tree National Park. 

Boulders and single Joshua Tree in Joshua Tree National Park.
A classic view in Joshua Tree National Park.

14 Reasons to Visit Joshua Tree National Park 

1. Joshua Tree National Park is Easy to Access 
2. It is open year-round
3. It is a place to escape it all 
4. You can see a lot from the car
5. You do not have to rough it 
6. Diverse Natural Features 
7. Amazing Joshua Trees 
8. Fascinating Granite Boulders 
9. Excellent hiking
10. Camping opportunities 
11. Oustanding photo opportunities 
12. Stargazing at its best 
13. The wildlife
14. Spring Flowers
A green plant in a boulder field in Joshua Tree National Park.
Joshua Tree National Park is a great destination for photographers. 

Many people love Joshua Tree National Park, and I do too, but I would not consider it one of the very top US national parks. Honestly, if you compare it to the treasures like Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Zion, or Bryce, Joshua Tree National Park falls short on outstanding natural features. 

Still, it ranks #11 among 63 US national parks, surely not only due to its accessibility. And that is pretty high for not having any deep canyons, dramatic waterfalls, or out-of-this-world red rock formations. So what brings people to the park? 

1. Joshua Trees is Easy to Access 

 

Some national parks are located in remote locations, but that is not the case with Joshua Tree. The park can be easily reached from few major cities. 

Just for that reason alone, some travelers visit it while passing by. But guess what? Many who just want to check it out fall in love with the park and return there for repeated visits. 

2. It is open year-round

The weather in Joshua National Park is pleasant all year round. It gets hot during the summer but not as hot as in Death Valley National Park nearby, where temperatures often reach over 120 F!

The park is a perfect winter escape. Daytime temperatures tend to be between 60°F and 70°F from December through February. An average low temperature is around 37°F.

Average Weather in Joshua Tree 

A naked tree and boulders in Joshua Tree National Park.
Who would think a dead tree and a pile of rocks would look pretty together?

3. It is a place to escape it all 

Despite its accessibility, Joshua Tree National Park offers uninterrupted solitude if this is what you desire. Many visitors to the park only touch the surface of what it has to offer. Get off the beaten path just a bit, and you will have the horizon to yourself. 

4. You can see a lot from the car

You can do a lot of hiking in the Joshua Tree National Park, but it is not your thing; an 18-mile motor tour will take you through the most fascinating landscapes. There are 16 stops along a dirt road, and it takes approximately two hours to make the round trip. The road is not suitable for campers, trailers, and motor homes.

A lady and Joshua Tree in Joshua Tree National Park.
The first photo after arriving in Joshua Tree National Park.

5. You do not have to rough it 

The parks offer plenty of places to escape civilization, but if you like comfort, nearby communities will provide it for you. In Palm Springs, for example, you will find year-round sunshine, luxury resorts, boutique hotels, endless outdoor recreation, shopping, dining, and festivals. 

6. Diverse Natural Features 

With elevations ranging from 900 feet to over 5,000 feet above sea level, the park is home to very diverse scenery found in relatively close proximity. Sand dunes, dry lakes, flat valleys, rugged mountains, granitic monoliths, and oases are all there waiting to be explored. 

Lady against big boulders in Joshua Tree National Park.
One of the big boulders areas in Joshua Tree National Park.

7. Amazing Joshua Trees 

Is Joshua Tree Actually a Tree? 

Joshua Tree is not technically a tree. It is a plant called Yucca brevifolia, the world’s largest yucca. (But for the purpose of this post, I will keep calling it a tree.)

What is the Difference Between a Tree and a Plant? 

Joshua Tree National Park -mitten rock.
Joshua Tree National Park boulder field.

Where did the name come from?  

The origin of the name is not formally known. Legend has it that the name was given by Mormon settlers as they crossed the Mojave Desert in the mid-1800s. The tree’s unique shape reminded them of a biblical story in which Joshua reaches his hands up to the sky in prayer.

The tree part most likely comes from the resemblance to the size and growth pattern of a tree. 

Cottonwood Spring Oasis in Joshua Tree National Park.
Cottonwood Spring Oasis in Joshua Tree National Park.

Why do we love Joshua Trees? 

I think it is because we see ourselves in them. Each one is different, complicated, often hurting. It seems like their branches express human-like emotions. 

8. Fascinating Granite Boulders 

Joshua Tree National Park is home to huge boulder fields that serve as playgrounds for young and old. Thanks to these rocks, the park is a world-class rock climbing destination, but anyone can have fun there. Still, be careful; it is very easy to get lost among those stone gardens.

9. Excellent hiking 

Hiking in Joshua Tree National Park is fantastic, from short walks to longer challenging hikes. But keep in mind that the desert is unforgiving, so do not just venture out without proper preparation. Always be ready for the worst possible scenario. 

Hiking in Joshua Tree National Park 

Cholla Cactus Garden in Joshua Tree National Park.
Cholla Cactus Garden is best to visit at sunrise or sunset.

10. Camping opportunities 

If you want to spend the night in Joshua Tree National Park, you’ll have to camp. Camping in Joshua Tree National Park offers many scenic locations. Most of them have only basic facilities like pit toilets, fire grates, and picnic and tables, often then do not have water. 

The majority of the 500 campsites in the park are available by reservation only from September to May. Reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance and can be booked on recreation.gov. Reserving a site is highly recommended if you are planning to camp on a holiday, a weekend, or any day of the week in the spring –  February to May.

11. Oustanding photo opportunities 

Day photography 

The park is a paradise for photographers. The boulders framed with Joshua trees against the blue sky create fascinating scenery. 

The sunrise and sunset 

The fantastic rock formations, unique look of the Joshua Trees against the colorful sky come together as one-of-a-kind scenes that can only be found in Joshua Tree National Park.

Joshua Tree in Joshua Tree National Park at sunset.

12. Stargazing at its best 

There’s very little light pollution in Joshua Tree, and this makes the night sky perfect for stargazing. The east side of the park is the best to place to base yourself as the nearest town is 300 miles away. 

13. The wildlife

The park is home to many animals who have adapted and learned to survive in this desert. You may come across black-tailed jackrabbits, scorpions, rattlesnakes, tarantula, coyotes, non-venomous snakes, bighorn sheep, lizards, kangaroo rats, and lynx.

Cayote in Joshua Tree National Park.
You’ll typically see coyotes wandering around during the twilight hour (after sunset) and very early in the morning. This picture was taken through a car window.

14. Spring Flowers (if you are lucky) 

I visited the park in March and was hoping to find wildflowers. Unfortunately, that was not the case, but some years are better than others for flower hunters. 

The extent and timing of spring wildflower blooms in Joshua Tree vary from one year to the next. Fall and winter precipitation and spring temperatures are key environmental factors affecting the spring blooming period.

Flowering cactus at Joshua Tree National Park.
A lucky finding during my visit to Joshua Tree National Park.

Hotels Near Joshua Tree National Park 

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliated links. If you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

If you’re looking for a hotel or motel to stay in, you’ll find plenty of options in surrounding towns like Twentynine Palms and Palm Springs.

Twentynine Palms 

This where you find the closest hotels to Joshua Tree National Park. Most hotel chains are represented here. Other offers include motels, simple cabins, and a few house rentals. The town is simple but has everything to need for a comfortable stay. 

Make a reservation in Twentynine Palms here 

Palm Springs, California 

If you are looking for more upscale hotels near Joshua Tree National Park, you are better off in the resort city of Palm Springs. But you will have to drive almost an hour to get to the main entrance of the park. Palm Springs is an oasis for art, adventure, and relaxation.

Make a reservation in Palm Spring here 

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Amazing Places to Visit in Arizona 

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All You Need to Know About Visiting Acadia National Park 

Frenchman Bay from the pullover.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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