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 »
Despite the impression that the desert is lifeless, many animals make their homes in deserts. Birds, lizards, and ground squirrels are most likely to be seen because they are largely active during the day. However, it is at night that desert animals come out to roam. Mostly nocturnal animals include: snakes, bighorn sheep, kangaroo rats, coyotes, and black-tailed jack rabbits. Dusk and dawn are good times for viewing many kinds of animals, both those just going to bed and those just getting up.
Animals that thrive in desert environments often have special adaptations for dealing with limited water and high summer temperatures. One does not walk far in the desert without seeing a multitude of burrow openings. The smaller mammals and all reptiles take refuge from the heat underground.
Desert mammals make more efficient use of their bodies’ water supply than does the human body. Reptiles are physiologically adapted to getting along with little water, and birds can fly to water sources when they need a drink. Nevertheless, the springs and seeps in the park are necessary to the survival of many animals.
Most of the reptiles and many small rodents and insects go into an inactive state of hibernation during the winter. However, winter is the time of greatest bird concentrations in the park, because of the presence of many migrant species.
Did You Know?
The reptiles of Joshua Tree National Park include one tortoise, 18 lizards, and 25 varieties of snakes. More...