Joshua Tree, one of the nation’s newest national parks, encompasses an area of more than 558,000 acres of desert, rugged mountains, winding arroyos, and strangely shaped granite monoliths. Two major North American deserts come together at Joshua Tree. The Colorado, occupying the eastern half of the park below 3,000 feet, is vegetated mainly by creosote bushes, with sprinklings of ocotillo and cholla cactus. The Mojave, at a higher and cooler elevation, is the province of the park’s namesake, the Joshua tree. Huge, twisted rock formations are as representative of the park as the Joshua tree, and rock climbing is a popular activity. More than 25 hiking trails of varying lengths lead to lovely fan-palm oases, abandoned mines and ranches, and high overlooks (ten peaks in the park are over 5,000 feet high). Mountain bikers are welcome in the park, and many dirt roads are open to bike tours of scenic, geologic, and historic interest. In the spring, the entire desert ignites in a blaze of wildflowers, many of which can be enjoyed from roadside pullouts and during short nature walks. Campgrounds included in this eTrail are: Indian Cove, Black Rock Canyon, Sheep Pass, Ryan, Hidden Valley, Jumbo Rocks, Belle, White Tank, Cottonwood, Knott Sky Park, Corn Springs, and Lake Cahuilla County Park.
© Richard McMahon/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.