Joshua Tree National Park is an other worldly experience. It’s almost like being in the middle of a Dr. Seuss book, set out in the stark desert amongst the strange looking Joshua trees. Not far from the hustle and bustle of Palm Springs, you make the one hour pilgrimage to Joshua Tree. Traffic thins, stores are few and far between and no buildings materialize in this desolate landscape. Rarely these days, does one venture to a place where there is no drinking water, no cell service (you have to use an actual map, do you remember how?) and no gas, all of which must be considered and planned for to come to this magical place.
Best Times To Visit
The busy season in Joshua Tree runs from October through May. Looking for mild temperatures perfect for hiking or rock climbing? Visit in the early spring (March, April), when desert wildflowers bloom, or late fall (October, November), when soft autumn light illuminates the park.
The West Entrance is located five miles south of the junction of Highway 62 and Park Boulevard at Joshua Tree Village.
The North Entrance is in Twentynine Palms, three miles south of the junction of Highway 62 and Utah Trail.
The South Entrance near Cottonwood Spring is an access point along Interstate 10, 25 miles east of Indio.
WIFI: There is no WiFi in the park. You can find WiFi service at the Oasis Visitor Center, in Twentynine Palms, and at the Joshua Tree Visitor Center, in Joshua Tree.
Water: Always keep an ample supply of water because you won’t find any in the park.
Gas: Make sure you fill up your tank before entering the park. With no cell service, you won’t know where the nearest gas station is. We have had to leave early twice now because we were low on gas and had no idea if we had enough to make it to the nearest gas station.
Cholla Cactus Garden Unique to the park, this one-of-a-kind garden is located at the merger of the upper Mojave Desert and the lower Colorado Desert. Providing access to an intense concentration of cholla cacti, the loop is approximately a quarter of a mile.
Barker Dam Barker Dam Loop visits a small, foreign-looking reservoir within the Wonderland of Rocks. Hikers of all abilities will enjoy this level 1.5-mile hike. The water can all but disappear during the dry season, so make a point to visit this trail in the winter and spring.
Skull Rock This is a great stop if you don’t want to walk far. Located along the main east-west park road, A parking spot is located just across the road from the rock and it’s a short walk from the main road. If you want to get a hike in, there is a 1.7-mile nature trail that begins either just across from the entrance to Jumbo Rocks Campground or inside the campground, across from the amphitheater.
More Popular Hikes
Wall Street Mill Located in Queen Valley near the Wonderland of Rocks is Wall Street Mill. Today it is considered the best-preserved gold mill in Joshua Tree and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Keys Ranch, Listed as a National Historic Site, Keys Ranch is located in a remote, rocky canyon in the park. To preserve its historic character, admission to the ranch is restricted to guided walking tours. The tours are a half-mile in length and last 90 minutes. Group size is limited to 25 people. Tickets are required and must be purchased in person on the day of the tour. Buy tickets at the Oasis Visitor Center in Twentynine Palms starting at 8:30 am. Keys Ranch tours cost $10 per person aged 12 and over and $5 for children 6 to 11. Children under six are admitted free. Senior and Access Pass holders pay $5.
Eagle Cliff Mine Hike to an old mine shaft that is no longer open and then on to an old mining cabin. The trail is not well maintained but also very few people venture here.
Ryan Mountain, Great sunset, steep hike up, 3 miles round trip, bring flashlight for hike down.
Key’s View is best for watching sunrises and sunsets. This popular destination, perched on the crest of the Little San Bernardino Mountains, provides panoramic views of the Coachella Valley and is well worth the 20-minute drive from Park Boulevard down Keys View Road.
On Foot in Joshua Tree National Park is one of the many hiking books available.
Like this post? Save it on Pinterest
Also check out The Ultimate Travel Guide to Joshua Tree
What is your favorite hike in Joshua Tree National Park? Leave a comment, we would love to hear.