Joshua Tree National Park – Go on a Roadtrip!

For those of you living in Southern California, possibly the most well-known rock climbing location is Joshua Tree National Park.  The park is filled with granite boulders which also make excellent climbing holds.  Also, the landscape sprinkled with the namesake joshua tree makes this park an excellent location for leisurely hikes and relaxing camping.

How To Get There

There are three entrances to Joshua Tree National Park.  Two are in the North of the park, both off of route 62.  One of these two entrances is next to the town of Joshua Tree, California.  This town has a population of approximately 7,000.  The other entrance is 22 miles to the east near TwentyNine Palms, CA, a town of about 25,000.  Both towns have motels, restaurants, and grocery stores.  The southern entrance is off of I-10, past Palm Desert and Indio.

Visitors from Los Angeles can take I-10 all the way to Joshua Tree.  Visitors from San Diego can take I-215 up to near Riverside and then take I-10 to Joshua Tree.  Visitors from San Francisco can take I-5 down to Los Angeles and then drive from there to Joshua Tree.

Camping in Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree National Park is an arid environment.  Because of this, daytime temperature ranges from the low 60s in the winter to near 100 degrees in the summer.  At night the temperature ranges from the low to mid 30s in the winter to around 70 in the summer.  In the April to October time frame, its a good idea to use a summer sleeping bag while sleeping at night.

There a several campgrounds, as explained by the national park service in the link below:

https://www.nps.gov/jotr/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm

There are a few considerations the National Park Service mentions.  First, some of the campgrounds are first come first serve, while others are available through reservation only.  The park tends to be less busy in the summers, so this may be a nice time to snag a campground, with the caveat that the temperature can be very high during these times of the year.  The campgrounds have very levels of amenities, so visitors should visit the NPS website to find which campgrounds best suite their needs.

There are no cabins or other permanent lodging facilities in Joshua Tree National Park.  You will have to find a campground to stay in the park overnight.

Joshua Tree Campground

Most of the campgrounds are only a few steps away from boulders or joshua trees.  This makes an integrated, seamless experience, because any climbing excursion is simply a few steps away.  Wake up after a night out, and walk only a few dozen yards to a potential climbing location!

Climbing

Joshua Tree is filled to the hilt with opportunities for bouldering, because of all the rock scattered throughout the National Park.  The rock is made of rough granite and is perfect for climbing.  Because of how plentiful they are, finding a good route to climb can be as easy as walking through parts of the park and trying out whatever looks interesting to you.  Popular routes tend to be surrounded by other climbers, so simply following the crowd can be a good way to find fun climbing routes.  As always, make sure to have your chalk and chalk bag and a solid pair of climbing shoes, as well as a crash pad. If you primarily climb indoors, keep in mind that outdoor routes tend to be much more challenging.

Joshua Tree Boulders

What to Bring

Because of the arid climate, its important to always maintain hydration.  You should bring good daypack and bladder for any Joshua Tree hike.

21 Hiking Trails To Try Out!

This great page by hikespeak.com contains information on 21 amazing hiking trails for visitors to Joshua Tree.  This includes maps, elevation information, distances, photos, and trail ratings.

Food and Restaurants

There are no restaurants or other places to obtain food within Joshua Tree National Park.  Visitors should do any last minute food shopping at nearby communities to include Palm Springs, Palm Desert, and Twentynine Palms.

Wildlife

There are several small to medium sized species which make the park home.  Some of the larger animals include the bobcat, coyote, bighorn sheep, and deer.  Smaller animals include various frogs, toads, roadrunners, rats, and rabbits.  Animals tend to be much more active at night.  Food should be packed away at night to avoid ransacking by small animals.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joshua_Tree_National_Park#Wilderness

Plant Life

Joshua Tree National Park is famous for it’s namesake, the Joshua Tree.  The scientific name for this tree is Yucca brevifolia.  These needle-covered trees stand out among the otherwise short shrubbery found in this desert environment.  The Joshua Tree flowers in the spring and can be seen in various parts of the Mojave Desert.

Operating Hours and Visitor Centers

According to the National Park ServiceJoshua Tree is open the entire year and at all hours.  However, the visitors centers are typically open from 8 AM to 4 or 5 PM.  There are four visitor’s centers.  The first is Joshua Tree Visitor Center, which is located outside of the park near the Northwest entrance.  The second is Oasis Visitor Center, which is located in Twentynine Palms outside of the Northern entrance to the park.  The third is Cottonwood Visitor Center, which is located within the park, near the Southern entrance.  The fourth is Black Rock Nature center, in the Northwest of the park near Yucca Valley.  The addresses for these visitor centers can be found here.

Cellphone Access

Since Joshua Tree is located miles away from major metropolitan centers, cell phone access varies from patchy to nonexistent. According to the website whistleout.com, there is largely no coverage for users of Sprint, T Mobile, and Verizon.  Users of AT&T may have patchy coverage in various parts of the park, but even AT&T has gaps in coverage over parts of the park.  Visitors should understand that they may not be able to make calls or use data while in the park.  With this in mind, visitors should let others know of their itinerary and travel plans beforehand as a safety measure.

What is Nearby

Joshua Tree is about 150 miles due east of Los Angeles.  Nearby are the Salton Sea and Palm Springs, a famous resort town.  Nearby Mecca, CA also has excellent hiking routes at Painted Canyon.

External Links

Alerts and Conditions for Joshua Tree National Park

Want to learn more about Joshua Tree National Park?  Visit the National Park Service website here!

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