Beautiful Joshua Tree is a protected park located in southeastern California, consisting of rugged rock formations and magnificent desert landscapes. The park was declared a National Park in 1994 when U.S. congress passed the California Desert Protection Act. Joshua Tree has been a National Monument since 1936.
This park is named after it’s unique native tree called Joshua Tree, also known as the Yucca Palm. Joshua Trees grow in the Mojave Desert in southwest California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona. You’ll find the trees growing in desert plains, slopes and ridges at an altitude of 1,300 to 5900 feet. You’ll find many large Joshua trees in the park!
Joshua Tree is one of the most popular parks in California and lodging can be an issue. Campgrounds in the park fill up quickly. Some families stay out in Palm Springs and drive an hour to visit the park. Our family chose to rent a house just outside of the park. Our house was roomy with stunning views! There are lots of great rentals by the park. The closer you stay, the more time you’ll have to explore!
Speaking of exploring, if you’ve never been to Joshua Tree, then definitely stop at the visitor’s center first. It’s good to have a plan and information before heading out to explore! There are 4 visitor centers in and around the park for you to stop at. The main visitor center is at 6554 Park Blvd.
Cholla Cactus Garden
Once in the park, don’t forget to read the signs as you stop to visit mother nature’s attractions. You’ll learn so much about your surroundings and being out in nature is the best classroom you’ll ever be in! We stopped to visit The Cholla Cactus Garden, a very unique attraction that’s visited by many! These chollas are called Teddy Bear Chollas! I just learned that on this trip!
The Teddy Bear Cholla Garden is one of the most extraordinary gardens you’ll ever stroll through. The garden is located about 12 miles south of the park’s north entrance, where The Mojave Desert and lower Colorado Desert meet!
Trek through this huge cholla garden on a quarter mile loop boardwalk trail. It’s very important to stay on the trail because Chollas are very aggressive and can grasp on to you immediately. It’s painful and can cause injury. Always stay on the paths provided for you.
Hall of Horrors
Another very popular attraction is the Hall of Horrors area. Hall of Horrors consists of a large pile of giant rocks laying around in parallel formation making it look like “halls”. These prominent rocks are located on the northwest side of Sheep Pass Loop Road. You won’t miss seeing them!
This attraction isn’t a horror, but a beauty! There doesn’t seem to be any official reason of why the name Hall of Horrors, but visitors love climbing these rocks. These halls of large boulders could very well cause horrific accidents. Be safe!
Everyone flocks to see Skull Rock and you should too! This unusual cranial shaped granite rock seems to have 2 eye sockets, making it look like a Skull Rock! It was created by many years of erosion. Skull Rock is located in the Jumbo Rocks area of Joshua Tree.
There’s an easy 1.8 mile loop trail that begins by the Jumbo Rocks Campground. You can explore both Jumbo Rocks and Skull Rock on this trail. It’s an easy family hike, so it’s usually crowded. You can find Skull Rock and Jumbo Rocks at the main east-west Park Road.
Rock climbing is one of the most popular activities to do in the park. Always make sure you’re wearing the right attire and shoes. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen. It can get very, very hot in the summer.
There are so many family friendly hiking trails in Joshua Treen which makes this park perfect for large groups traveling. Whether it’s with family or friends or family and friends, like us! We didn’t even get to experience all the sights in the park, but we’ll be back!
If you’re pressed for time, Joshua Tree can easily be visited in a single day. Just take a drive on the nicely paved Park Boulevard. This drive will take you by the most scenic parts of the park. Park Boulevard connects the north and the west entrances of the park. Be sure to stop and take some time to enjoy beautiful and peaceful Joshua Tree!