This national park, nestled into the Golden State city of San Bernardino, is not only the stuff of SoCal legend. It holds some rock ‘n roll cache as well, as the namesake of the most famous album by world-renowned Irish band U2.
Before you venture into the great wide open and explore everything that the park has to offer, check out the visitor center. It has all of the information you need to make your stay a great one, whether you’re there for a day or a week.
Things to Do at Joshua Tree
Of course, hiking is one of the biggest draws at Joshua Tree. You can venture along one of twelve nature trails on your own, or explore Keys Ranch with a guided walking adventure. If you opt for this popular tour, it’s advised that you call ahead to make reservations.
Outdoor enthusiasts that want to take it up a notch can also take advantage of more than 8,000 climbing routes and 400 climbing formations throughout the park, which is known around the world for its awesome high desert boulders. No need to be an veteran climber; as long as you have the proper gear and training, you’re good to go.
Campers are also in luck here, as they have their pick of nine campgrounds, as well as opportunities for backcountry camping. And speaking of tours, amateur geologists can hop in the car and “rock out” with an 18-mile spin that showcases Joshua Tree’s incredible scenery. In fact, all of the backcountry roads that are open to cars can also be used by mountain bikers.
Horseback riding is also a popular activity for visitors; more than 250 miles of trails that cover all types of terrain welcome equestrians of all experience levels. If you’d prefer to observe the animals rather than ride them, there are a number of both resident and transient bird species that can be spotted at all times of the year.
Where there’s fauna, there’s usually flora, and Joshua Tree has plenty of gorgeous plants to appreciate. If you make your trip in the springtime, don’t forget to stop and smell the wildflowers; February through April is prime bloomin’ time.
Staying overnight? Be sure to set aside some time for stargazing. You’ll have plenty to choose from, thanks to the park’s beautiful and clear sky that boasts next to no light pollution. Don’t forget to make a wish upon a star!
Joshua Tree National Park is on our list of favorite things to see when you visit the west coast!