Joshua Tree National Park is a wonderland filled with starry night skies, iconic Joshua Trees, and a beautiful desert landscape that makes this Southern California park a sight to see. Whether you are interested in hiking, climbing, wildflower viewing, bird watching, stargazing, camping, or photography, this park has something to offer everyone.
I recently made a weekend trip from my home in Dallas, Texas to Joshua Tree and it was such a beautiful change of scenery from the typical North Texas landscape. If you are traveling to Joshua Tree, this is your ultimate guide for a perfect weekend getaway!
Where is Joshua Tree?
The park is in southeastern California, east of San Bernardino and Los Angeles and north of Palm Springs, where the Mojave and Colorado deserts meet. If you are coming by airplane, you will most likely fly into L.A. or San Diego, from which the park is about 2 hours and 40 minutes, so keep that in mind when planning your itinerary.
Where to Enter the Park
It is best to enter the park via the West Entrance which is considered the main entrance of the park. As this entrance is located five miles south of the intersection of Highway 62 and Park Boulevard at Joshua Tree Village, you will likely enter through here if you’re driving from Los Angeles, San Diego, or Palm Springs.
Things to Do in Joshua Tree
As a world-class climbing destination, the park is home to monzogranite, traditional-style crack, slab, and steep face climbing. There is something for all ability levels boasting greater than 8,000 climbing routes, 2,000 boulder problems, and hundreds of natural gaps. If you’re a beginner rock climber, check out enrolling in a guided rock climbing class with Joshua Tree Rock Climbing School.
The park offers overnight hiking, backpacking, and quick adventure walks. The following trails are some of the more leisurely walks you may be interested in:
1. Skull Rock
Appropriately named, this rock is in the shape of a skull located right off the road.
2. Cap Rock
An easy to reach location with a picnic area and outdoor grills!
3. Hidden Valley
A great one-mile loop that circles a small valley surrounded by tall boulders. It is a great place to climb around.
4. Arch Rock
A 1.3-mile loop hike that begins from a trailhead along Pinto Basin Road to see this arch-shaped rock formation.
5. Cholla Cactus Garden
Cacti galore! This is right off the road and a perfect destination to snap a few photos.
What to Wear
What you decide to wear depends on what you are doing, and don’t forget to check the weather! In the summer, it can get up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the daytime while in the winter it can get down to the 40s.
I seized the opportunity to proudly wear some Western boots and a Stetson hat. When far out west…dress western!
There is no cell service throughout the park, therefore planning your route before entering the park is crucial. I was able to pick up a park map upon entering the park. Be sure to charge all of your electronics in advance.
This is a desert with bright sun, so make sure to protect yourself from the sun by wearing sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.
In the end, Joshua Tree will blow you away with its starry night sky and beautiful landscape. No matter what you have on your itinerary, you will never forget the awe inspiring experience of being in one of the most unique and beautiful National Parks.