Joshua Tree National ParkPosted in North America | April 9, 2010 | Comment Now
Joshua Tree National Park is located in the Southern Californian Desert (Riverside and san Bernardino Counties) in the United States. Previously a US National Movement, Joshua Tree National Park was declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1984 and a National Park in 1994. The park covers a total area of 7,89,745 acres and encompasses areas of Mojave and Colorado Deserts. The park gets its name from the distinctive Joshua Tree. The park is governed by the National Park Service.
Features of the two desert areas are mainly determined by altitudinal factor. Colorado Desert, which encompasses the eastern part of the park has an altitude of below 910 metres. Little San Bernardino Mountains are located in the southwestern edge of the park. Mojave Desert on the other hand, has higher elevation and is home to the Joshua tree forest. The western side of the park features interesting geological formations including hills of bare rocks with flatlands in between.
Water is mostly confined to five Washingtonia fan palm oases in the park and wildlife of the park is mostly supported by these areas.
Spring and fall seasons see temperature in the park region comfortable. Temperature drops further during winter when snowfall is also recorded in the higher elevation. Mojave Desert, owing to its higher elevation, is cooler and drier. Summers are hot with maximum temperature touching nearly 40 degrees.
Natural gardens of creosote bush, ocotillo, and cholla cactus.
Bighorn sheep, coyotes, jackrabbits, kangaroo rats, bobcats are spotted here. Lizards, rattlesnakes and tarantuals also inhabit the park area.
There are over 250 types of birds in the park. Greater Roadrunner, Cactus Wren, Mockingbirds, Le Conte’s Thrasher, Verdin and Gambel’s Quail as well as burrowing owls, vultures, golden eagles are to name a few.
- Wildlife viewing:
Barker Dam near Hidden Valley is a good place to view wildlife
The park has nine campgrounds
Hidden Valley, California Riding and Hiking Trail, Keys View are some good points of hiking.
- Self-guided 4WD vehicle tours
- Nature walks at Hidden Valley, Indian Cove, Cholla Cactus Garden, Lost Horse Mine and others
- Horse riding but with permission
- Birding at fan palm oases, Barker Dam and Smith water Canyon, Queen Valley and Lost Horse Valley
Reaching Joshua National Park:
- By air:
Palm Springs International Airport is the closest airport.
- By rail:
Palm Springs is he nearest railhead served by Amtrak. It is linked by Sunset Limited Los Angeles – New Orleans route.
- By road:
Joshua Tree National Park can be reached from Los Angeles, which is located 140 miles away. The park can be reached from the west via Interstate 10 and Hwy 62. The northern entrance to the park is located at Joshua Tree Village and the city of Twentynine Palms while the southern entrance is at Cottonwood Spring.
Joshua Tree National Park Annual Pass ($30 for 12 months); vehicle entry ($15.00 for 7 days) and walk-in entry ($5.00 for 7 days).
- Hidden Valley
- Barker Dam
- Keys View
- Cholla Cactus Garden
- Cottonwood Springs
- Several hotels cluster along Highway 62 in Twentynine Palms and Joshua Tree village
- At Twentynine Palms and Palm Springs