Nestled near Palm Desert, California, Joshua Tree National Park (JTNP) is an example of Mother Nature gone wild. It’s a place where whimsical Joshua trees twist and bristle against blue skies, and the land itself looks like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. The vast park spans over 800,000 acres, two deserts, and elevations that go from 536 feet all the way up to 5,814 feet. But a trip here isn’t as daunting as it sounds; there are several ways to explore the park by car.
Driving Through JTNP
The best way to see JTNP is by driving through it — thanks to well-maintained roads with stunning views and access to major attractions. Scenic drives also aren’t rare in JTNP; they’re actually very common. For instance, Park Boulevard or Pinto Basin Road provide a great overview of the diverse landscapes inside of the park boarders.
On your drive, don’t forget to take advantage of all the pullouts along the road — these are your chance to walk around and breathe in the clean air.
Wildlife & Plant Species
JTNP is home to both creepy crawlies and beautiful creatures. Animals you might spot include bighorn sheep, roadrunners, snakes (yes snakes), lizards (and more reptiles), desert tortoises, hawks — maybe even an owl if you’re lucky.
For plants… well there’s really no specific time for them as they live inside of national parks so you’ll find them year-round. But just know there’s yucca trees named Joshua Trees after what Mormons believed were flailing human arms when they reached Salt Lake City.
TIP: If you visit between February and April you’ll witness wildflower spring bloom throughout the park!
The Best Time To Visit
The best time to visit JTNP is from October to April when the weather isn’t going to make you cry. During this period, temperatures range from 50 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit; which is optimal for outdoor activities like hiking and rock climbing. The cooler weather also brings out the park’s wildlife so you might see things that you couldn’t have otherwise.
Be prepared for some of the most extreme temperatures ever though— in both summer and winter. Summers can exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit and winters get cold enough to where you can see your breath.
Is Joshua Tree Park Worth It?
Yes, it definitely is. By car, by foot or by bike… a trip here will leave a lasting impression on anyone who visits. It’s unlike any other place in the world and its landscapes are truly one-of-a-kind. So for photographers, explorers, tree huggers and simply just bored people… consider adding JTNP to your travel bucket list.
In conclusion, Joshua Tree National Park near Palm Desert is a treasure trove of natural wonders. Its mystical landscapes, diverse flora and fauna, and the sheer uniqueness of its environment make it a destination that promises an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re looking for adventure, tranquility, or just a break from the ordinary, Joshua Tree National Park is a journey worth taking.