Less than an hour drive from Palm Springs, Joshua Tree is completely otherworldly and a must-see. Photos just don’t do the place justice. Named after the peculiar looking spiky trees that cover the landscape, the park is open year-round. It’s an absolutely massive place made up of the Mojave and Colorado deserts, covering a total of 794,000 acres.
Due to the heat, we made our way to Joshua Tree during the morning hours. The drive took us through rambling small desert towns full of trailers, shops and stands dotted alongside the dusty landscape.
Because the park is so large, if you’re unfamiliar with the place, I’d recommend pulling into the visitor center first. Next, as you make your way to the park, you’ll come upon an entrance where you’re charged $15.00 per car and the receipt is good for re-entrance for up to another week.
From there, it takes a few miles to work your way deep inside the park. It’s easy to forget you’re in California — the place feels like another planet altogether with Joshua Trees stretching on as far as the eye can see. And, it’s quiet. So, so quiet. You might hear the occasional lizard scurry past your feet but that’s about it.
Besides animal footprints left behind in the soft, sandy ground, it’s easy to imagine the place staying nearly the same over the last 5,000 years, when the first inhabitants laid claim to the land.
While we only stayed for an hour, if you have a little more time, there are plenty more things to do in the park, including camping.
Ready to plan your own trip? Visit the Joshua Tree site for everything you’ll need to prepare.