• Sunrise at the Cholla Cactus Garden

    Joshua Tree

    National Park California

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  • Pinto Basin Road Under Construction; Expect travel delays up to 30-minutes

    The ongoing construction project to improve Pinto Basin Road will impact travel between the northern portion of the park and the Cottonwood/I-10 area. Please plan accordingly. The project is expected to be completed in August 2014. More »

  • Deteriorating conditions of Black Rock Canyon Road

    The road leading to Black Rock campground has deep potholes, is deeply rutted, and can be difficult to negotiate, especially in large vehicles. Please drive with caution.

  • Access to some Cottonwood trails remains closed

    Trail access remains closed to Cottonwood Spring Oasis, Lost Palms Oasis, and Mastodon Peak. More »

Cowboys

cowboy gear
Cowboy gear in the museum collection
Gary Garrett
 

Cattle grazed throughout the park from the 1870s until 1945. The grazing ratio was about one adult animal to 17 acres. Old-timers noted that the grass was tall and abundant. The cattle companies located springs, dug wells, and developed rainwater impoundments called “tanks,” which can be seen today at places like White Tank and Barker Dam.

 

In the early years the desert was open range and cattlemen moved their animals seasonally from one area to another in search of adequate food and water. “In those days, if you were a cowpuncher, you had a pair of chaps, a horse and a pack horse, a bedroll, salt, staples, a six-shooter, and a big chew of tobacco.” according to Jim Hester, an early area cowboy.

Did You Know?

49 Palms Oasis

Five of North America's 158 desert fan palm oases are located in Joshua Tree National Park, where fault lines force water to the surface. More...