Over 2.5 million people visited Joshua Tree National Park in 2016. We hope that our Joshua Tree National Park Travel Tips help you plan your trip to the park and make the most of your time.
Don’t miss our post on the top things to do in Joshua Tree National Park!
Joshua Tree National Park Travel Tips
Please do not try to pick up a piece of Cholla Cactus!!! Tammilee had to help a family in the parking lot of the Cholla Cactus Garden remove a chunk of cactus from their hands. The cactus not only has spikes but barbs at the end of the spikes that really do not feel great being pulled out. The visitor center showed us a photo of someone who was covered in cactus head to toe. I can’t imagine how much this would hurt.
Ranger-led Keys Ranch Tours require reservations and cost $10 per adult.
Visit the Joshua Tree National Park current conditions page to get up to date information on road closures and weather.
Joshua Tree National Park is always open and can be visited year round. Be prepared in the summer for the hot weather by bringing more water than you think you will need.
Cell phone coverage is poor within the park
There are snakes in the park! Be cautious where you place your hands and feet! Joshua Tree is home to seven species of rattlesnakes, as well as venomous scorpions and spiders.
You can view Joshua Tree park newsletters and guides online prior to your trip here.
No drones or remote controlled vehicles, including aircraft and rock crawlers, are prohibited in Joshua Tree National Park
On any desert hike, remember the Ten Essentials
There is a $5 minimum charge for credit/debit card purchases in the store. Make sure and have cash with you if you only plan to purchase a postcard or small purchase. They do sell water and water bottles in the park store.
How big is Joshua Tree National Park?
How much does it cost to visit Joshua Tree National Park?
Entrance Fee $30
This covers a 7-day vehicle permit, admitting the passengers of a single, non-commercial vehicle on the day of purchase and for the next six days.
For each motorcycle or bicycle – $25
For people walking in – $15
Joshua Tree National Park Annual Pass – $55
America the Beautiful—National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass: $80
Annual pass covering the entrance and standard amenity fees for national parks and other federal fee areas. This replaces the National Parks Pass and Golden Eagle Pass.
Annual 4th Grade Pass: Free
Annual pass covering entrance fees for 4th-grade students
Annual Pass for US Military: Free
Annual pass covering the entrance and standard amenity fees for all active military personnel and their dependents. (For active duty military personnel and dependents with proper identification (CAC Card or DD Form 1173).)
Access Pass: Free
Lifetime admission and discount pass for US citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities.
Senior Pass: $80
Lifetime admission and discount pass for US citizens or permanent residents who are age 62 or older.
Free Entrance Days in 2019
The National Park Service offers the following Entrance Fee Free Days this year:
- January 21: Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
- April 20: First day of National Park Week
- August 25: National Park Service Birthday
- September 28: National Public Lands Day
- November 11: Veterans Day
Other fees such as reservation, camping, lodging, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties are not included unless stated otherwise. Learn more about US National Park Passes.
How do I get to Joshua Tree National Park?
Joshua Tree National Park is located about
- 140 miles east of Los Angeles,
- 175 miles northeast of San Diego,
- 215 miles southwest of Las Vegas, Nevada, and
- 222 miles west of Phoenix, Arizona.
Where are the Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Centers?
Located one block south of Hwy 62 (Twentynine Palms Highway) at 6554 Park Boulevard, Joshua Tree, CA 92252.
Located at park headquarters: 74485 National Park Drive, Twentynine Palms, CA 92277, at the junction of Utah Trail and National Park Drive.
Located eight miles north of Interstate 10 at Cottonwood Spring.
8 am to 4 pm except on Friday; Noon to 8 pm on Friday
Located at 9800 Black Rock Canyon Road, Yucca Valley, CA 92284, in Black Rock Campground.
Where can I find out about staying/camping in Joshua Tree National Park?
There are nine campgrounds within Joshua Tree National Park. Camping fees vary by the campground.
Check out all of the Joshua Tree Camping options, there are 9 campgrounds to choose from.
There are no lodges or hotels within the park. The park is close to Palm Springs and Twenty Nine Palms which both have lodging available.
Is there a Junior Ranger Program at Joshua Tree National Park?
Yes! You can even download the Joshua Tree Junior Ranger Booklet before your trip if you would like. Visit the Joshua Tree National Park Junior Ranger page to learn more about this great program.
Joshua Tree also participates in National Junior Ranger programs like Junior Paleontologist, Junior Ranger Night Explorer, and Wilderness Explorer.
Can’t make it to a park? Learn how to become a WebRanger!
Can I bring my Dog/Pet with me to Joshua Tree National Park?
Pets are not allowed in buildings, on hiking trails, or anywhere in the backcountry.
There is only one exception: you may take leashed pets on the paved Oasis of Mara Trail near the visitor center in Twentynine Palms.
Pets must be leashed at all times when outside a vehicle. Pets may accompany visitors in picnic areas, developed campgrounds, and “anywhere your car can go”—in parking lots and along roads.
What birds can I see in Joshua Tree National Park
Over 250 species of birds have been identified at Joshua Tree, Some of the birds you may find in the park include
Western Scrub Jay
Joshua Tree National Park Facts
The highest point in the park is 5,814 ft (1,773 m) at the summit of Quail Mountain
The lowest point in the park is 536 ft (163 m) at the southeastern boundary of the park
Joshua Tree became a National Monument in 1936. In 1994 as part of the California Desert Protection Act, Congress renamed Joshua Tree a national park.
More than 80% of the 792,510 acres of the park are wilderness.
The park covers where the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert converge.
Joshua Tree National Park is named after the Joshua tree, an iconic plant of the Mojave Desert
The tallest Joshua tree in the park is called the “Barber Pole.” It stands about 43 ft (13 m) tall along the park road in Queen Valley
A Joshua tree has spiky, succulent leaves, but it is not a cactus. It is a member of the agave family
Some researchers think a typical lifespan for a Joshua tree may be 150 years.
The cover photo for the 1987 U2 album The Joshua Tree was not taken in Joshua Tree National Park, but closer to Death Valley.
Additional Resources Information
Twentynine Palms Chamber of Commerce: 760-367-3445
Joshua Tree Chamber of Commerce: 760-366-3723
Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce: 760-365-6323
Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce: 760-325-1577
Desert Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce: 760-329-6403
Indio Chamber of Commerce: 760-347-0676