February 9, 2012 -
Joshua Tree National Park announced the reopening today of the Cottonwood Campground for camping and visitor use. Cottonwood Campground was closed last September due to flash flooding from an intense rainstorm. The localized flooding damaged Cottonwood Campground as well as many local trails. In addition to Cottonwood Campground, the interpretive trail from Cottonwood Campground to Cottonwood Spring Oasis was also reopened today. A small portion of Cottonwood Canyon below Cottonwood Spring remains closed for visitor safety, but all Cottonwood-area maintained trails and other visitor facilities are now open for public use.
On September 13, a thunderstorm dumped more than three inches of rain on the Cottonwood area leading to extensive damage to Pinto Basin Road as well as damage to Cottonwood Campground and cultural and historic resources near Cottonwood Spring. The road was reopened in late October and Cottonwood Visitor Center opened on November 3. Trails to Cottonwood Spring, Lost Palms Oasis, and the Mastodon Mine Loop Trail were reopened to park visitors on February 3.
One benefit from last fall's rain is the presence of early spring wildflowers in the southern part of Joshua Tree National Park. More than 60 species of desert wildflowers are blooming in the area. Information on park wildflowers can be found on the park's website at: http://www.nps.gov/jotr/planyourvisit/blooms.htm.