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Contact: Jennifer Albrinck, 760-367-5520
In 2020, Joshua Tree National Park was the 10th most visited national park. This was also the first time in seven years that Joshua Tree did not set an attendance record. The decrease in visitation is largely due to temporary closures in March, April, and May in response to the novel COVID-19 pandemic. March and April are traditionally the park’s two busiest months and the closures during these months had a significant impact on the park’s annual visitation. Visitation was up from 2019 during most months that the park was open to vehicles demonstrating the public’s desire to recreate in this desert park.
Superintendent David Smith reported that “during a really challenging time, Joshua Tree was a place where southern Californians could take refuge and safely recreate". He continued, "We need wild places to hike, climb, and even just to look at night skies to help keep us both mentally and physically fit during tough times.”
Joshua Tree National Park expects a busy spring season. To avoid crowds, follow these tips:
Plan mid-week trips – Joshua Tree is most popular on weekends and holidays, which can mean significant traffic congestion. To avoid crowds, consider planning a trip Monday through Thursday.
Buy a digital pass – Buy your pass ahead of time by logging onto www.recreation.gov.This pass will make entry to the park quicker and easier.
Arrive before 10 am – Avoid entering the park between 10 am and 2 pm and avoid exiting the park around sunset.
Executive Director of Joshua Tree National Park Association, Jacque Guevara, stated that her organization “[is] honored to be able to share this amazing space not just with the visiting public, but with our local community. We are grateful for the ability to continue to educate visitors on how to recreate safely and responsibly in our beautiful park.”
Overall, the national parks hosted 237 million visitors in 2020. To learn more about the national park’s 2020 visitation, see the National Park Service’s news release. For an in-depth look at 2020 visitation statistics, please visit the National Park Service Social Science website. For national summaries and individual park figures, please visit the National Park Service Visitor Use Statistics website.
Last updated: March 1, 2021