We have added a Guide for Joshua Tree National Park to the ThereArePlaces section on National Parks of the American Southwest.
Joshua Tree National Park is located in southeastern California, near Palm Springs and on the route to Los Angeles and San Diego for those driving to the “Golden State” from the east. Known for its unusual vegetation and massive piles of jumbled, rectangular boulders, Joshua Tree National Park is fun place to visit in the fall, winter or early spring. The temperatures in summer can be deadly and we recommend visiting in the cooler portions of the year
The photo above was taken in the Park’s Cholla Garden. These cacti are known as the “Teddy Bear Cholla” and as the “Jumping Cholla”. While they look cuddly, the spines are barbed at the end and extremely painful if they launch, which can happen if you brush against them. The Cholla Garden is very beautiful and includes a modest , self-guided nature walk that is full of facts about the cholla and desert life. Nearby, there is, also, an Ocotillo Garden for the long whip like plants that inhabit the Colorado Desert section of the Park.
Joshua Tree is at the junction of the Mojave and Colorado Deserts with the Mojave being slightly cooler and wetter than the Colorado. The Mojave section of the Park is home to the Joshua Tree, a yucca/lily variant with large blooms in spring.
In addition, Joshua Tree is known for piles of blocky rocks that have weathered from an intrusion of monzogranite. Rectangular fractures have led to these materials weathing into large blocks that then weather to smaller blocks. The rock blocks add to the charm of a visit to Joshua Tree National Park.
Joshua Tree National Park is well worth visiting if you are on your way to Southern California by car. It can be toured in less than a day, even if you want to hike one or more of its numerous trails. You can find more details here.
If you are interested in visiting the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Bryce, Zion or other national parks in the American Southwest, you might be interested in our guide to the Best National Parks in the American Southwest.