Best Trails in Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree Wilderness was established in 1976 by The United States Congress and was later expanded by the California Desert Protection Act of 1994. Today the park is managed by the National Parks Service and covers a total of 594,502 acres of California desert The park extended north into the Pinto Mountains, northeast into the Coxcomb Mountains, southeast into the Eagle Mountains, and southwest into the Little San Bernardino Mountains.
The Eastern areas of the park contain the drier Colorado Desert. Here you will see creosote bushes, ocotillo, and "jumping" cholla cactus. The Western half of the park contains the Mojave Desert, where you will see ample Joshua trees, one of the most iconic desert plants. Throughout the park you may also find palm tree laden oases, bighorn sheep, lizards, rattlesnakes, birds, coyotes, jackrabbits, burrowing owls, and more wildlife. You'll also see Southern California's iconic desert landscape and it's fascinating geology. Rock formations and granite monoliths are all around you, attracting rock climbers and hikers alike. Stargazing and camping opportunities abound.
Joshua Tree National Park is 140 miles east of Los Angeles, 175 miles northeast of San Diego, and 215 miles southwest of Las Vegas. You can get there via Interstate 10 and Hwy 62 (Twentynine Palms Highway). The closest airport is in Palm Springs. There are three park entrance stations: 1) The west entrance is located five miles south of the junction of Highway 62 and Park Boulevard at Joshua Tree Village. 2) The north entrance is in Twentynine Palms, three miles south of the junction of Highway 62 and Utah Trail. 3) The south entrance at Cottonwood Spring, which lies 25 miles east of Indio, can be approached from the east or west, also via Interstate 10.