Joshua Tree National Park
Twentynine Palms, California, is the main entrance to Joshua Tree National Park and home of Park Headquarters and Cultural Center. The park’s nearly 800,000 scenic acres contain a rich cultural history, surreal geologic features, monolithic rock formations, ancient Joshua trees, spring wildflowers, and abundant desert flora and fauna. World-class rock climbing, bouldering, hiking, camping, historical mine sites, ranger programs, and Keys Ranch tours are just a few of the highlights the park offers. Two important features accessed directly from the west end of the city are the scenic trail to 49 Palms Oasis, which has its trailhead south of the highway on Canyon Road; and the entrance to Indian Cove, which contains a campground, amphitheater, rock climbing area, and access to the Boy Scout Trail into the park.
The nearly 800,000-acre Joshua Tree National Park encompasses two diverse ecosystems, primarily determined by elevation: the Colorado Desert and the Mojave Desert. Here in the Mojave section, slightly higher, cooler, and wetter, is the habitat of the undisciplined Joshua tree, which gave the park its name. It is said that Mormon visitors to the area in the 1800s, seeing groves of immature two-armed plants, likened them to the biblical Joshua reaching up to God. The park may be visited year-round. Visitor centers, ranger stations, entrances, and wayside exhibits are located along main roads leading into and through the park. Rangers are on hand to help ensure an enjoyable, safe visit and to provide information about weather and road conditions, backcountry use, wildlife, and camping in the 550 campsites.
There are ranger activities such as walks, hikes, campfire talks, and tours of park sites like the historic Keys Ranch (Desert Queen Ranch) of the early 1900s gold mining era. Picnic areas are available for day use only. Those who prefer to drive through the park will drive along well-maintained paved roads.
KEYS RANCH–Step back in time and experience life in the rugged frontier desert of the early 1900s with a Keys Ranch Tour. See the historic remnants of the Desert Queen Ranch where Bill and Frances Keys made a life and raised five children in the Hidden Valley area of what is now Joshua Tree National Park. Among the many ranger programs in the park, this is one of the most popular. Bring your camera! Tickets are required for the half-mile hike and 90-minute tour. The group size is limited to 25 people. See the Ranch Tour page on the park’s website for more information.
Visitors are cautioned to carry plenty of water and to be aware of canyons and washes where flash floods can occur after sudden rainstorms. Most important–while boulder piles are attractive to children and tempting for rock scrambling, weathering can cause loosening of the rock particles.
Know Before You Go…Get the Inside Scoop!
Download the JT Inside Scoop for everything you need to know to plan your visit to Joshua Tree National Park this season and beyond! This must-have collection of resources covers an array of topics and starts with a warm-hearted welcome from Park Superintendent David Smith who shares his own pro tips for visiting the park.
Find helpful trip planning checklists, important links to the park’s hiking trails and campground maps, tips on hiking safely in the summer season, and knowing how to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness.
The JT Inside Scoop is also packed with great information about the park’s wildlife, and simple actions that you can take during your visit that will help to protect some of the park’s most iconic species like the desert tortoise and bighorn sheep. Wondering what to do if you encounter a mountain lion, tarantula, or rattlesnake? That’s covered too!
THE OFFICIAL NATIONAL PARK SERVICE MOBILE APP (download)
With cell service being extremely limited in Joshua Tree National Park it comes as great news that the National Park Service has launched an official mobile app allowing you to download park maps, lists of places to visit, and all kinds of helpful visitor information to both help you plan your visit and ensure you have access to important visitor information when in an area without cell reception!
Available for free download on iOS and Android devices, the new National Park Service app provides fantastic tools and resources to help plan your national park adventure both before your visit and during your trip and covers more than 400 national parks nationwide, including Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave National Preserve.
Here in the heart of downtown Twentynine Palms, at the newly completed Freedom Plaza space, Joshua Tree National Park has just opened a brand-new multi-agency Visitor Center!
This new multi-agency Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center is made possible through partnership with the City of Twentynine Palms, Joshua Tree National Park’s traditionally associated Native American communities, Joshua Tree National Park Association (JTNPA), and the Bureau of Land Management. This new Visitor Center uniquely features a museum exhibit space that shares the rich heritage of the many peoples who have stewarded this land for millennia. Make this your first stop when visiting the park!
A few minutes south lies the north entrance to this magnificent national park, where quail, roadrunners, and coyotes coexist with monolithic granite boulders, a variety of cacti, and forests of Joshua trees Joshua Tree National Park is known worldwide for its spectacular desert and mountain views, excellent rock climbing, bouldering, hiking trails, wildlife, rock formations, and iconic Joshua trees.
Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center
6533 Freedom Way
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277
(760) 367-5500 | www.nps.gov/jotr
Joshua Tree National Park’s new Visitor Center in downtown 29 Palms is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and is operated by the Joshua Tree National Park Association.
Entrance Fees & Passes
In addition to purchasing your pass in person at one of Joshua Tree National Park’s Visitor Centers or entrance stations, you can now purchase a digital pass in advance. This is highly recommended to help reduce wait time at park entrances, especially when visiting during the spring and fall peak seasons.
The following Joshua Tree National Park passes can be purchased at www.recreation.gov at no additional cost:
Entrance Fee: $30
7-day vehicle permit, admitting the passengers of a single, non-commercial vehicle on the day of purchase and for the next six days.
Motorcycle Entrance Fee: $25
7-day entrance permit, per motorcycle.
Individual Entrance Fee: $15
7-day entrance fee, per person on foot or bike.
Joshua Tree National Park Annual Pass: $55
Valid for 12 months from the month of purchase.
NEW Free Passes for US Military Veterans and Gold Star Families
As a way to thank America’s Military Veterans and Gold Star Families for their support of our country, and to encourage and inspire them to enjoy the recreational opportunities their public lands and waters offer, a new free access program was launched on Veterans Day in 2020. Military Veterans and Gold Star Families are now eligible to receive free access to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites, including Joshua Tree National Park. Learn more…
Visitors planning a trip to Joshua Tree National Park on the holidays and on special dates listed below can enjoy free access to the park:
• Veterans Day
• Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Day
• First day of National Park Week: 3rd Saturday of April
• Great American Outdoors Act Signing Day: August 4
• National Park Service Birthday: August 25
• National Public Lands Day: 4th Saturday of September
Also, visit these Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Centers
Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center (West Entrance)
6554 Park Blvd, Joshua Tree, CA 92252
Open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Joshua Tree National Park Cottonwood Visitor Center (South Entrance)
Pinto Basin Road, Twentynine Palms, CA 92277
Open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.