Some of the world’s best cities have ingeniously weaved themselves into the landscape’s natural ecosystems, while others have rebuilt a more sustainable landscape. Of interesting contrast is one of Southern California’s most beloved cities—which is actually a National Park. The Joshua Tree National Park is located in the heart of the Southern California Desert. Spanning more than 800,000 acres, the park conserves different altitudes of at least two separate desert ecosystems. Several Joshua Trees, a genus of greens surrounding the landscape, can be found dotting the whole expanse. To date, Joshua Tree remains to be a favorite place for nature lovers, campers, outdoor enthusiasts, and urban outfitters.
Exploring the City
One can arrive into Joshua Tree through the Palm Springs International Airport, which has a nearby Amtrak Station. Lying 140 miles east of Greater Los Angeles, tourists coming from the region can arrive to the city by driving through Interstate 10 and Highway 62. Passenger vehicles are the preferred option for Joshua Tree’s several dirt roads. Tourists bringing their own cars are advised to choose four-wheel drive, high-clearance vehicles. To enjoy its vast flora and fauna by foot or bike, make sure to carry lots of water throughout the hike.
Best Hotel Accommodations
The park and the surrounding area has no room for glitzy hotels. However, just like any other park of its magnitude, several campgrounds are available in Joshua Tree. Those with complete amenities such as water and flush toilets are the Cottonwood and Indian Cove Campgrounds, which offers rates from $20 to $35 per night. Other options include Hidden Valley, Black Rock, Jumbo Rock, Sheep Pass Group, Ryan, White Tank, and Belle Campgrounds. Book your Joshua Tree Hotels with Reservations.com.
Joshua Tree has several entrances. Near the south entrance is Cottonwood Springs—offering all tourists a respite from the arid landscape. The desert oasis is home to birds and willows, all seeking refuge in its natural spring. A short walk through the park is the Cholla Cactus Garden, which has a characteristic prickly exterior of Cholla cacti. Keys View is a favorite spot among those who wish to view spectacular sunsets. The man-made Barker Dam attracts not only tourists but also local wildlife. Hidden Valley is an old cattle rustler’s hideout, but the boulders are interesting enough for hikers and mountain climbers.
Things to Do
Joshua Tree’s unique landscape offers a lot of activities for outdoor lovers. Drive with rangers through the eighteen-mile dirt path of the Geology Tour Road. The route will lead you through Southern California’s interesting trails and geologic formations. Joshua Tree has several trails, including the moderately strenuous Lost Horse Mine, Palms Oasis Trail, Boy Scout Trail, and Lost Palms Oasis Trail. Offering quite a challenge are the strenuous boulders of Ryan Mountain and Mastodon Peak. Both have excellent views of the valleys, Eagle Mountains, and the Salton Sea. Joshua Tree is also renowned throughout the world as one of the most popular rock climbing areas. Cliffhanger Guides provide custom activities for children and adults, and offers gourmet food after a day of climbing.