The Joshua Tree

The Joshua Tree National Park is located in Southern California , about an hours drive from Palm Springs and about three hours from Los Angeles.The higher and cooler Mojave Desert is the special habitat of Yucca brevifolia, the Joshua tree for which the park is named.

  • Joshua Tree was  a favoured destination for Indian tribes, then gold miners and cattlemen and finally for those wanting to get away from it all… Rock and rollers U2 named one of their most famous albums after the iconic tree.
  • The higher and cooler Mojave Desert is the special habitat of the Joshua tree. It was given the name by travelling Mormons in the 1850s who believed the tree looked like prophet Joshua pointing them to the promised land.
  • The Joshua Tree occurs in patterns from dense forests to distantly spaced specimens throughout the western end of the park.
  • It only grows half an inch a year and some can reach a height of 40 feet.

Created in 1994 the park covers an area  of 800,000 acres or 1200 square miles. More than half the park is designated wilderness area.

The park is also famous for its Jurassic rock  formations, such as Skull Rock,  and includes parts of two deserts, each an ecosystem whose characteristics are determined primarily by elevation; the higher Mojave and lower Colorado Desert. The Little San Bernardino Mountains run through the southwest edge of the park.

There are miles of well marked and quiet hiking trails to explore in the park.Camp in the park or stay overnight in a boutique hotel in Palm Springs before or after visiting the park.

At its entrance check out Pioneertown, built as a movie set back in the 1946 by Western actor Roy Rogers. It features western style bank, jail house and saloon. There are a lot of old ghost town ruins in the deserts of Southern California and although it was originally a movie set, Pioneertown gives an insight into what life was like in the old west.

Avoid visiting Joshua Tree in the height of summer or the depths of winter when it can get extremely hot and cold