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As you drive through the arid landscape of Southeastern California, Joshua Tree National Park announces itself as unmistakably as the limbed and spiky plant that gives it its name. The park features Joshua trees throughout the higher Mojave Desert and shrubbier creosote plants where it spans the lower Colorado Desert. The entire park’s rocky, hilly landscape makes it ideal for backpacking, climbing and wildlife spotting.
The best way to explore the rough terrain of Joshua Tree is hiking. Spend a day on the 7.2-mile (11.6-kilometer) Lost Palms Oasis Trail, where bighorn sheep roam. Marvel at the results of millions of years of mineral erosion in Old Woman Rock or Ryan Mountain. Explore Lost Horse Mine, one of the best-preserved gold and silver extraction sites in America. Even if you are a late riser, wake up before dawn at least once to see a Joshua Tree sunrise from a high peak.
Bring your rock-climbing gear and scale the face of an immense boulder. Track lizards, mule deer or 239 species of bird. Mountain bike or horseback ride on trails where wildflowers bloom in spring. On your recovery day, the Geology Motor Tour packs a number of Joshua Tree’s glorious views into a 2-hour drive. When the day is over, gaze up to see a perfectly starry sky.
When you first arrive, stop by the Joshua Tree Visitor Center to acquire park passes and get familiar with the park’s Leave No Trace policy. Permits are available for campgrounds inside the park. Hotels, motels and short-stay rental houses surround the park’s entrances. Camping supplies and groceries can be purchased at stores outside the park and nearby cafés and diners serve meals.
From Los Angeles Joshua Tree National Park is a 140-mile (225.3-kilometer) drive east. From San Diego it is a 175-mile (281.6-kilometer) drive northeast. It’s worth the long drive and you may find yourself not wanting to leave this world-renowned desert oasis.
You could easily spend an entire morning or afternoon at Joshua Tree National Park. The list below contains a nice selection of the activities you can try here:
For even more activities, examine our Twentynine Palms things to do page.
*Savings based on all vacation package bookings with Flight + Hotel on Expedia.ca from January through December 2017, as compared to price of the same components booked separately. Savings will vary based on origin/destination, length of trip, stay dates and selected travel supplier(s). Savings not available on all packages.
Situated in Twentynine Palms, this romantic cabin is 1.7 mi (2.7 km) from Indian Cove Boy Scout Trail and 2.5 mi (4.1 km) from Fortynine Palms Oasis Trail. Wonderland of Rocks and Knott Sky Park are also within 6 mi (10 km).
Situated in Twentynine Palms, this vacation home is 0.7 mi (1.1 km) from Sky's the Limit Observatory and Nature Center and 2.6 mi (4.2 km) from Joshua Tree National Park Oasis Visitor Center. Joshua Tree National Park North Entrance and Tortoise Rock Casino are also within 3 mi (5 km).
Built by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz as an exclusive desert getaway, this serene hotel overlooks lush fairways in the shadow of the Santa Rosa Mountains, 16 miles from downtown Palm Springs.
Situated in Desert Hot Springs, this spa hotel is 0.8 mi (1.3 km) from Sand to Snow National Monument and within 3 mi (5 km) of Desert Hot Springs Town Center and Cabot's Pueblo Museum. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and Palm Springs Convention Center are also within 12 mi (20 km).
Situated in Rancho Mirage, this spa resort is 2.1 mi (3.4 km) from Children's Discovery Museum of the Desert and 2.9 mi (4.6 km) from Century Park. San Jacinto Mountains and Cathedral City Marketplace are also within 6 mi (10 km).
A luxurious celebrity hideaway since it opened in 1926, this golf resort is set against the rugged Santa Rosa Mountains, 10 miles from Palm Desert, and 22 miles from Palm Springs.
The budget-friendly Ivy Palm Resort & Spa is within 2 miles of downtown Palm Springs and the convention center. The Palm Springs Aerial Tram is about 4 miles away, and 9 golf courses are within 5 miles.
Located in the golf, residential, and resort community of Palm Desert, this 400-acre Palm Springs-area resort includes 23 acres of artificial waterways. The River at Rancho Mirage entertainment complex is 4 miles away.
Boat Shuttles will be unavailable from Aug. 20 - Aug. 31, 2015 due to necessary lake repairs.