• Photo: Peter Guttman/

Plan Your Joshua Tree National Park Vacation

Ruggedly beautiful desert scenery attracts more than a million visitors each year to Joshua Tree National Park, one of the last great wildernesses in the continental United States. Its mountains support mounds of enormous boulders and jagged rock; natural cactus gardens and lush oases shaded by tall fan palms mark the meeting place of the Mojave (high) and Sonora (low) deserts. Extensive stands

of Joshua trees gave the park its name; the plants (members of the yucca family of shrubs) reminded Mormon pioneers of the biblical Joshua, with their thick, stubby branches representing the prophet raising his arms toward heaven.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Rock climbing Joshua Tree is a world-class site with challenges for climbers of just about every skill level.
  2. Peace and quiet Savor the solitude of one of the last great wildernesses in America.
  3. Stargazing You'll be mesmerized by the Milky Way flowing across the summer sky. For spectacular natural fireworks, visit in mid-August during the Perseid meteor shower and watch shooting stars streak overhead.
  4. Wildflowers In spring, the hillsides explode in a patchwork of yellow, blue, pink, and white.
  5. Sunsets Twilight is a magical time here, especially during the winter, when the setting sun casts a golden glow on the mountains.

When To Go

When to Go

October through May, when the desert is cooler, is when most visitors arrive. Daytime temperatures range from the mid-70s in December and January...

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