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Visiting Joshua Tree National Park — Joshua Tree Visitors Guide

Joshua Tree, California

For current Closures and Warnings - Check the Joshua Tree National Park website

get your park pass on-line first!

camping guide


it's a Desert

"The Park" is a massive desert. It's over 790,000 sq. acres. It fact, it's bigger than the state of Rhode Island. Yes, it's Magical. Yes, it's Amazing. Yes, it's Freaky - but it's still a desert. And like most deserts, it can be hostile and unforgiving. In the park there is:

  • NO WATER (bring 1 gallon per person)



  • NO FOOD SERVICE (bring your own food and supplies)

    …only Camping (but there is no water or electricity!)

  • NO CELL RECEPTION (see below)


.. it's two Deserts

The park is so large that it spans two desert ecosystems - the division is primarily delineated by elevation - and roughly divides the park down the middle,

The Mojave Desert (western park) is the high desert - and is home to the Joshua Tree. The west half of the map below is in the Mojave Desert. The Mojave extends north of the park into Nevada.. Generally, if you see a Joshua Tree, then you are in the Mojave desert. 

The Colorado Desert (eastern park), which is lower in elevation, exists in the east half of the map below. The Colorado desert extends well into Arizona and is part of the larger Sonoran Desert ecosystem. It is generally barren in comparison to the plant life of the Mojave ecosystem.. 

The Cholla Cactus Garden is near the mid point of the Park, and these two ecosystems. It resides in the Colorado desert, so you will notice the absence of Joshua Trees when you visit there.  

Stop by a

Visitor Center

Get an

Annual Pass

When you get to the park entrance, you'll need to make a decision: Do you get a "Day Pass" or do you get the "Annual Inter-Agency Pass". It's a no brainer. Get the Annual Inter-Agency Pass. Yes, it costs more, but...


Inter-Agency Pass
gets you into every National Park
for FREE for the next twelve months

Think about the possibilities!  ...and, you'll have a very good reason to come back to visit the park again soon! 

Make sure to ask for a Map and the current newsletter. Hint: Try not to arrive at "Noon" on Saturday, that’s rush hour. There can be 10-100 cars/RVs in front of you. (note: if you have an Annual Pass, sometimes you get to cut in line and pass those RVs!)

If you are entering the Park at the West Entrance, make sure to fill up your water containers there, it's your last chance. Also, if you arrive after hours (when the park entrance station is not staffed), you can still enter the park (Free maps are in the brown box). When you exit the park, you will be asked to show your receipt as proof of payment. So, if you got in free, you will have to pay upon exit.


Standard Entrance Fees

  • Auto (non-commercial)- $30 - Valid for 7 days

  • Motorcycle - $25

  • Individual - bicycle or walking - $15

  • Joshua Tree National Park Annual Pass - $55/year

  • "All National Parks" Annual (“Inter-Agency”) Pass - $80/year

  • Senior Pass (62+) - $80/lifetime

  • Current U.S. Military / Annual Pass - Free

Visit on a

"Free" Day!

As an additional incentive to visit the park - If you plan ahead, you can come on a day when there is no admission fee.

check for free days

If you're arriving at the main Joshua Tree Entrance on Hwy 62, there is a Park Visitor Center on Park Blvd.  Stop in and purchase your park pass. Pick up a book on the local plants/animals, or wildflowers, or the History of JT.

These are handy resources to have in the park and they also make great memories to share with friends. Plus, they'll come in handy when researching your next trip to the park.

There is also a Park Visitor Center near the North Entrance (in 29 Palms) on Utah Trail.

All Park Entrances

are always "OPEN" (normally!)

Normally, you can always enter and exit the park, from any entrance, at any time of day. If there is staff present, then you have to pay. If no staff is present, you can enter the park without paying. But when you leave, if the entrance is staffed, you'll need to show proof that you paid to enter the park - otherwise you will need to pay upon exit. 

Please obey the speed limits in the Park! The roads are single-lane and narrow, with lots of curves. You pay for campsites separately (see our Camping Section).  

See the

Milky Way
On a dark clear night, when the moon is not in the sky, you can see the Milky Way. This occurs every month of the year, but May thru August are the best months in the park. 

see the milky way

Every Season is Great!

Here are a few videos:

Snow Day in the Park!

Springtime in the Park!

Use the 29 Palms (North) Entrance on Busy Weekends

99% of visitors from Los Angeles use the Joshua Tree / West Entrance. I've seen lines over a mile long to get into the park on weekends (it's still a single lane road). Instead, travel about 15 miles East on Hwy 62 to the 29 Palms / North Entrance - There are typically no lines there. This saves you a lot of frustration - and about 30-45 minutes in line - plus you are now 'deep' in the park. And, after spending the day in the park, you can exit thru the Joshua Tree entrance and never have to backtrack - saving you another 1-2 hours!

Cell Phone Reception
is very limited!

There is "no cell phone reception" in the park, officially. .. For the vast majority of the park, your cellphone will be useless (remember, the park is bigger than Rhode Island). But, there are a few secrets. To get Cell Phone reception in the park, hike up to the top of one of the hills/rock piles (cell phone reception is kind of a reward for hikers). Service is very good up high.

Cellphone reception is best near the Park Entrances,
Keys View, or high up on the rocks

If you don't feel like hiking/bouldering, then try this: Cell reception gets better the closer you get to one of the entrances. Look on the map and find the nearest entrance, then drive towards it. Cell phone reception is best on the West side, starting around Boy Scout Trailhead you can at least text. Also, reception is strong at the top of Keys View Road, overlooking Coachella / Palms Springs. 

Watch out for Coyotes,
The Trickster!

Coyotes are the park's spirit animal.

You're in their territory now! You'll typically see them wondering around during the twilight hour (after sunset) and very early in the morning. They are just passing thru, but remember: They are wild. 

Do not engage with them or feed them, just be happy that you got to see them. If you're lucky, and fast, you can get a picture. 

more about coyotes

Drive slow for Desert Tortoises!

Only touch a Tortoise if it is in immediate danger!

If a tortoise is on the road, it is best to stop and let it pass on its own. If it does need help, you can pick it up, just a foot above the ground, and move it in the direction it is going - to the other side of the road. Place it a few yards from the road so that it continues into the desert (and not back to the road).

NOTE: Tortoises store their annual water supply in their shells. When a tortoise gets scared, it will empty its water store. This is life threatening for the tortoise, since water is scarce in the desert! So again! Only touch a tortoise if it is absolutely necessary! Thanks!

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How Much Does It Cost to Camp at Joshua Tree? - Hipcamp Journal

The cost of camping at Joshua Tree varies, depending on where you stay. Every group entering the park, including campers with reservations, pays an entry fee: $30 per vehicle for a 7-day pass. For $55, you can get unlimited visits with an Annual Pass to Joshua Tree. Or, for $80, purchase an Annual U.S. National Park Pass that’s good for a year at all U.S. national parks and 2,000 federal recreation sites—a golden ticket for frequent park visitors.

Find Joshua Tree camping & glamping

Fees for Campsites in Joshua Tree National Park

For Joshua Tree’s in-park campgrounds, there are two price tiers. The first-come, first-served campsites you’ll find at Hidden Valley, Ryan, Belle, and White Tank cost $15 per night. Make sure you bring cash in exact change, as you’ll drop your site fee into a safe deposit box at camp to register the old-fashioned way. The campgrounds that allow online reservations, including Black Rock, Jumbo Rocks, Indian Cove, and Cottonwood, are $20 per night.

The Sheep Pass campground features large group campsites for parties of 7 to 50 people. These sites cost $40-$50 per night. RV users will find 16 group sites at Indian Cove (max length 25-foot vehicles) for $50 per night.

Backpackers camp in Joshua Tree for free, but this requires hiking in at least one mile from a trailhead with all of your water and supplies, then packing everything out in the morning. Joshua Tree has 13 trailheads with backcountry registration boards. You can find more info on backcountry camping and backpacking regulations in Joshua Tree here. 

BLM camping sites are free

Outside the national park, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) maintains two overflow dispersed camping lots for Joshua Tree visitors. These BLM sites are free to camp at, but have no facilities (running water, bathrooms, trash cans, etc). Users are expected to pack everything out, including waste. A BLM site sits just north of the town of Joshua Tree and just south of Cottonwood Springs. Find more information on dispersed BLM camping here. 

Photo by Hipcamp Photographer Nikki Neumann at Caribbean Mojave Escape

Other unique Joshua Tree camping, glamping, and RV sites

There are a number of eye-catching camping, glamping, and RV sites at a wide variety of price points available on Hipcamp in the desert communities surrounding Joshua Tree National Park. These campsites, glampsites, and RV spots are ideal sites for day trips into Joshua Tree and exploration of the area’s local restaurants, shops, and art galleries.

Find Joshua Tree camping & glamping

Here are a few of our favorites:The Pathfinder sits among Joshua trees in a gorgeous setting just 30 minutes from Joshua Tree National Park. // Photo by Hipcamp Photographer Vanessa Lamb
1. Pathfinder Tipi at Camp Temenōs

This spot will be an unforgettable part of your Joshua Tree trip thanks to the canvas-walled tipi’s queen-sized bed, the heated indoor shower, and the outdoor kitchen.

Photo by Hipcamp Photographer Andrea Watson
2. The Watering Hole

This is a spacious campground just a 10-minutes drive from Joshua Tree’s northeast entrance. Not only does the Watering Hole have views for days (and nights), it has showers and a kitchen to keep you clean and comfortable at camp.

Photo by Hipcamp Photographer Brittany Stepp
3. Wendy’s Kick-it Spot

Get a taste of desert life at Wendy’s Kick-it Spot, a tent and RV site 20 minutes from Joshua Tree. Wendy’s has fire pits and a gigantic tree with plenty of shade, plus it’s close to the sound baths of the Integratron.  

4. Porte-Cochere in Joshua Tree

This is a simple cabin that will break the desert wind and keep you cozy at night. Just down the road from the West Entrance Station, it has its own patio, fire pit, and views of the Joshua Tree Mountains.

Find out more about Joshua Tree
  • The Best Spots for Camping and Glamping at Joshua Tree?
  • What’s the Best Time of Year to Camp at Joshua Tree?
  • Are There Showers at Joshua Tree?
  • Can I Sleep in My Car at Joshua Tree?
  • Is It Safe to Drink the Water at Joshua Tree?
  • Can You Enter Joshua Tree at Night?
  • Is There Cell Service at Joshua Tree?
  • Can You Backpack at Joshua Tree?
  • Which Entrance Is Best for Joshua Tree?
  • Can You Touch a Joshua Tree?
  • Are There Snakes in Joshua Tree?
  • Can You Stay in Joshua Tree National Park?
  • Do You Need a Permit to Camp at Joshua Tree?
  • Is Camping in Joshua Tree Free?
  • What Is BLM Land for Camping?
  • Is Joshua Tree Safe at Night?

Book your next Joshua Tree camping or glamping trip now

Now’s a great time to find the perfect spot in Joshua Tree for your next camping, glamping, or RV adventure. (TIP: Get $10 off your first booking when you create a new account here and use the referral code JOURNAL)

Find Joshua Tree camping & glamping

Question: Can I grow a Joshua tree indoors?


ByBenjamin Noah

Plant a Joshua tree in full sun in sandy or rocky soil where drainage is excellent. Soil pH can be acidic or slightly alkaline. You can also grow yucca in a pot for several years.

Is it legal to have a Joshua tree?

Hairy-branched, thorny-leaved trees grow in the area and are currently prohibited from being removed as they are protected under the California Endangered Species Act.

Where can I grow a Joshua tree?

Joshua trees, Yucca brevifolia, grow in the Mojave Desert of southwestern California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona at elevations of 2,000 to 6,000 feet.

Is it possible to grow a Joshua tree anywhere?

Their range is in the Mojave Desert of California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona. They only grow between 2,000 and 6,000 feet in height.

How long does it take to grow a Joshua tree?

The average lifespan of a Joshua tree is 150 years, but they can potentially live up to 1000 years! They grow very slowly, gaining only about 3 inches per year for the first 5-10 years and then 1.5 inches per year after that. It takes 50 to 60 years for a Joshua tree to reach maturity.

Why are Joshua trees so special?

This is an important part of the Mojave Desert ecosystem, providing habitat for many birds, mammals, insects and lizards. Joshua Tree Woods tells a story of survival, resilience and beauty through perseverance. It is a silhouette that reminds those of us who live here that we are at home.

Is Joshua Tree tap water safe to drink?

Due to the recent major accident at Center and Dixie Streets, the State Water Control Board, Drinking Water Division, in conjunction with the San Bernardino County Department of Health and the Joshua Basin Water District, are advising Joshua Tree residents to use boiled water. water. . tap or bottled water

How much does the Joshua tree cost?

Joshua trees cost between $150 and $600 at most nurseries for trees in the most common sizes, assuming they can be found at all. 6 feet tall with two or three branches on it.

How much water do Joshua trees need?

Water generously in the first calendar year, once a month in winter (November to March) and twice a month in summer (April to November). Then water only twice a month in summer. A bottle of Superthrive lasts for the first calendar year, after which it is no longer needed. Good luck and enjoy!

Are Joshua's trees really trees?

Joshua trees are not really trees, but succulents, a type of plant that stores water. However, in their arid ecosystems, they are considered desert trees. Joshua trees are desert plants most commonly found in the Mojave Desert in the southwestern United States.

Do Joshua Trees Grow Fast?

The US Forest Service describes Joshua trees as "slow growing and long lived", and rightly so. During the seedling period, the Joshua tree can grow about 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) per year for up to 10 years, depending on conditions. Growth slows down after this and plants average 1.5 inches per year.

What is the difference between yucca and Joshua tree?

Yucca schidigera, rarely exceeding seven feet in height, with few trunks branching only occasionally, is easily distinguished from the Joshua tree by its much longer leaves. The leaves of the Joshua tree are usually less than a foot tall compared to those of the Mojave yucca, which can be over four feet.

Is it possible to touch the Joshua tree?

No, you shouldn't touch Joshua Trees if you care about this iconic species that gave its name to Joshua Tree National Park and the area around Joshua Tree.

What does the Joshua tree smell like?

Early American botanist William Treleese described the scent of Joshua Tree Flowers as "oppressive" and "unbearable in the room", but also noted that previous descriptions of the scent as "stinky" were not "strictly accurate". †

How old is the oldest recorded plant of the Joshua tree?

The Joshua tree is considered one of the oldest living plants in the desert. The age of a tree 60 meters high is estimated at 1000 years [1]†.

Joshua's Amazing Tree - fern flower — LiveJournal

Joshua Tree National Park, located 266 kilometers from Los Angeles. There are colorful deserts, unforgettable Cholla cacti and delightful Joshua trees. The Joshua tree looks like a cross between a palm tree and a cactus. California Mormons believed that the branches of these amazing trees, first sticking out at bizarre angles to the trunks and then rising upwards, as if in supplication, looked like prophetic signposts. It was they who very aptly named these trees in honor of the prophet Joshua.

The park got its name from the abundance of the Joshua tree from the yucca family:

Joshua Tree National Park is a tourist's dream with its mild winter climate, interesting rock formations, plants and wildlife.

The park is one of the most popular climbing spots with over 4,500 routes of varying difficulty:

Joshua trees all around. Native Americans once wove baskets and sandals from the leaves of these trees:

There are other plants in the park. For example, this is an interesting creature that sheds all the leaves during the dry season - this helps him reduce moisture loss. During the rainy season, ocotillo or lustrous fuqueria, as this plant is called, simply grows new foliage:

Lustrous fuqueria begins flowering at the end of the winter rainy season. Tubular bright red flowers, pollinated by bees, hummingbirds and other small birds:

Also, Jeolla cacti are common here:

Real cactus gardens:

Jeolla is a term applied to various cacti of this genus with cylindrical stems:


Another thorny local resident, the prickly pear cactus:

Sunset at Joshua Tree National Park:

In Joshua Park Night comes . .. And this is a natural arch from a cliff:

We return to the most unusual inhabitant of this park - Joshua wood:

At night, the bizarre trees of Joshua look especially mysterious:

Trees reach a height of 9 meters and live for about 1,000 years. In total, the park grows about 700 species of plants, including about a dozen species of cacti.

Night. Natural rock arch:

Jeolla cacti at dawn:

Joshua tree:

Dead Joshua tree. These trees do not have the usual growth rings visible on the cross cut of the trunk, so it is very difficult to determine their age. A rough estimate can be obtained from the fact that the Joshua Tree grows about 1 cm per year:

In 1994, President Clinton granted the Joshua Tree national park status. Being in close proximity to Los Angeles, the park, of course, quickly gained immense popularity. However, the impact of tourists on the environment is limited here: 75% of the territory has been declared a zone free from human presence. Joshua Tree National Park is primarily a desert park. It is located at the meeting point of the two great deserts of North America - the Mojave Desert and the Sonoran Desert.

The park has a developed network of hiking and horse trails with a total length of about 100 km and attracts a large number of lovers of walking and horseback riding. 1.25 million people visit the park every year.

At the same time, this area remains quite wild and undeveloped: within the park there are no hotels, gas stations, museums, restaurants, souvenir shops, as in many other US national parks. The entire local infrastructure consists of tent sites, paved and unpaved roads, and horseback riding trails.

The blooming desert is an unforgettable sight, but it takes perfect planning and timing to see it. Every time the spring showers become frequent enough, a fire of flowers flares up in the desert: ocotillo blooms, desert lavender, indigo shrubs, sand verbena, primroses.

Learn more