Joshua Tree National Park is located approximately 140 miles east of Los Angeles and a short distance to neighboring Palm Springs area. This protected land is comprised of vegetated high and low desert making up this extraordinary national park. The diverse parts and interesting nature will appeal to any exploring hiker.
Much of this land expands across both the Colorado and Mojave Deserts. And it is home to a variety of species living in this desert ecosystem.
Animals and Plant Life
There is an abundance of wild life and plant life here. Just to name a few, here are a few of the living residents of this amazing national park:
- Big Horn Sheep
- Cactus wren
- Beavertail cactus
- Greater roadrunner
- Desert tortoise
- Desert iguana
- Joshua trees
- Prickly pear cactus
- Hedgehog cactus
- Scrub oak
- Mojave yucca
- Cholla cactus
- and many more.
Joshua Tree is an amazing national park and it welcomes millions of visitors every year. The day of our visit was National Public Lands Day so we enjoyed an entry fee free day. You too can experience national parks or a national monument with no fee on certain days throughout the year. National parks offer free fee days at the parks. Another option might be to purchase the annual pass for $80 so you can enjoy as many parks as possible in the year.
Barker Dam Area
The beauty, quiet, serene, and peaceful Ora of the desert is intoxicating. This is a perfect environment where one can see wildlife. Luck would have it, as we saw several big horn sheep roaming around near the Barker Dam area.
Big Horn Sheep
It is such a treat when the opportunity to see wildlife roaming around in a natural environment. These Big Horn sheep were scrambling around the boulders. Meanwhile another group of hikers became loud and ran over to get close to them. The behavior of some people really disappoint me because they can be so loud and frantic, and it can scare the sheep.
So, if you enjoy nature, beautiful landscapes and views, then these spots are a must see in the park. Here are some of the key points of interest that you may wish to explore on your next visit to Joshua Tree National Park are listed here:
⭐️Ryan Mountain and Ryan Ranch Trail
⭐️Lost Horse Mine
⭐️Geology Road Tour
⭐️Cholla Cactus Garden
The Barker Dam hiking trail is a very enjoyable hiking trail and it offers easy, clear paths, and leads you into the dam area. Although water is scarce in this area, Barker Dam certainly holds a lot of history during the days of the wild wild west. And the big beautiful boulders and rock formations that surround it are incredible!
Skull Rock Trail
Hidden Valley Camping area
Camping is also available and the sites are located near impressive boulders and lovely trails. Hidden Valley is said to be known as the hideout for cattle rustlers years ago.
Views throughout the park:
Landscapes offer stunning views of quiet, serene and peaceful surroundings.
Silver Bell Mine
Cholla Cactus Garden
A place that makes you feel like you are on a different planet. The endless cholla row after row is fascinating. This garden is comprised of jumping living cholla, so you do need to be careful and cautious as you stroll through this walking path.
The cholla cactus (jumping cholla) with its barbed spine, are known to attach to skin, fur, and clothing. During our visit to the cactus garden, a female in the group in front of us ended up with a cholla spine in her shoe, and it appeared to go all the way through the rubber sole of her shoe. Please note: be cautious of bees near and around the cholla cactus garden area.
Know Before You Go Joshua Tree National Park:
- There is no cell phone service in the majority of the park.
- Stay away from abandoned mines.
- Carry at least one gallon of water per person per day.
- Flash floods are a danger; avoid drainage areas during and after thunderstorms
- Do not climb unless you are properly trained and equipped. (Rock climbing is allowed).
- Pets are prohibited on the trails and beyond 100 feet from any park road, campground, or picnic area.
- Off-road driving is prohibited.
Some camping sites are available at a first come, first serve basis; visit www.recreation.gov to learn more. Campgrounds are usually full on the weekends from October through May. Check out the website to plan your next visit.
Journey Through Joshua Tree
The desert may not be high on your list of places to see and visit, especially during the summer season. But Joshua Tree National Park may change your mind. It is incredible how this desert land teaches us about adaption. It is quite extraordinary how these animals and plants can survive the summer 100 plus degree temperatures. They also live in this relentless sun with so little water. That is impressive in my book.