Joshua Tree National Park

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One of the last great wildernesses in the continental United States, Joshua Tree National Park teems with fascinating landscapes and life-forms. It attracts around 1.5 million visitors each year, yet is mysteriously quiet at dawn and dusk. The park features ruggedly beautiful desert scenery, enormous boulders and jagged rocks, natural cactus gardens, and lush oases shaded by elegant fan palms. The landscape shifts abruptly from the arid stubble of the low Sonoran Desert to vast stands of the park's namesake Joshua trees in the higher, wetter Mojave Desert. Members of the yucca family of shrubs, the plants' unruly limbs are said to have reminded Mormon pioneers of the prophet Joshua's outstretched arms reaching toward heaven.

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