Park Newspaper

Color photo of the sun backlighting a Joshua tree through some clouds. Desert landscape fills the foreground with mountains in the background. Photo: NPS / Brad Sutton
Sunset over Queen Valley.

NPS / Brad Sutton

 

Learn and Explore

Summer Guide: June–September 2017

Welcome from Superintendent David Smith

As the National Park Service embarks on a second century of preserving your public lands, I want to invite you to enjoy your park. For the hardy folks like yourselves who make the trek to Joshua Tree in the summer, we have quite an adventure in store for you. Summertime is the quiet season at the park. Sunrise at an oasis can be magical as the sounds of bird calls fill the air. The peace and quiet of the Pinto Basin on a hot summer day can be overwhelming. As the day draws to a close, visitors are rewarded with sunsets that stretch from one side of the park to the other. The night time skies at Jumbo Rocks campground and the clarity of the Milky Way overhead are a welcome reward for the hearty souls who spend a night out under the stars.

With a little preparation, a summertime visit to a desert park can be a very special experience. Without it, it can be very risky. If you are planning an extended hike, please plan on an early start. Leave the trail before temperatures become too excessive. Bring at least one liter of water per hour, per person. Protect your skin with big shade hats, loose-fitting clothes, and ample sunscreen. Please leave pets at home and off the trails for both their safety and the safety of wildlife. Each year, park rescuers respond to hikers in distress or even worse when they are overcome by the heat. Help us help you by not becoming a victim of a heat related injury.

I look forward to seeing you as you enjoy your park.

 

Maps

Use the map below to find key locations and facilities in the park. For hiking, climbing, and backcountry maps, visit our Maps page.
 
 
 

Explore Responsibly

  • Watch wildlife respectfully Stay at least 75 feet (23 m) from wildlife. If an animal reacts to your presence by changing its behavior, you are too close. Remember, this is home for wild animals. We are visitors.
  • Never feed any wild animals Consuming human food is unhealthy for wildlife and may encourage aggressive behavior. Food, trash, scented products, and cooking tools must be stored securely in a vehicle or hard-sided container.
  • Travel responsibly with your pet Pets must be on a leash at all times. They cannot go more than 100 feet (30 m) from roads, picnic areas, and campgrounds. Pets are not allowed on hiking trails or in the backcountry. Owners must never leave a pet unattended or tied to an object. Bag and properly dispose of pet waste.
  • No drones or remote controlled vehicles Remote-controlled vehicles, including aircraft and rockcrawlers, are prohibited. Drones and other remotely-operated craft can disturb wildlife and disrupt the visitor experience.
  • Campfires Campfires are allowed only in designated fire rings or grills found in campgrounds and picnic areas. Campfires are not allowed in the backcountry. Bring your own firewood and extra water to douse your campfire. Do not use park vegetation, living or dead, for fuel.
  • No collecting park resources Leave everything in the park as it is for others to enjoy. Do not destroy, deface, dig, collect, or otherwise disturb any park resources including plants or animals (whether they are dead or alive), rocks, fossils, or artifacts.
  • Rock climbing Climbers may replace existing bolts if they are unsafe. New bolts may be placed in non-wilderness areas in accordance with the bolting checklist, available on the park website. Bolting in wilderness requires a permit.
  • All vehicles and bicycles must stay on roads The desert environment is more fragile than it may look. Ruts and scars left by vehicles and bicycles illegally taken off-road can last for years. Red and green sticker dirt bikes, ATVs, and UTVs are prohibited in the park.
  • Watch for tortoises The desert tortoise is a threatened species that often dies from being hit by cars. Drive carefully in the park: small tortoises on the road look like rocks. Tortoises may drink from puddles on the roads after rains or take shelter from the hot sun under vehicles.
  • Protect the trees Attaching lines to vegetation, including Joshua trees and junipers, is prohibited. Hammocks, slacklines, and other horizontal ropes must be tied to rocks and climbing bolts, and are not permitted in campgrounds.
  • Firearms and weapons Firearms may be possessed in accordance with California state and federal laws. However, they may not be discharged in the park. Fireworks, traps, bows, BB guns, paintball guns, smoke bombs, and slingshots are not allowed in the park.
  • No graffiti Over the last few years there has been an increase in graffiti and acts of intentional vandalism, including carving into rocks, trees, and historic structures within the park. This is illegal, it damages resources, and costs the park significant time and money to continually remove graffiti from rocks. Report incidents of graffiti to jotr_graffiti@nps.gov.
To learn more, visit our Laws & Policies page.
 

Calendar of Events

 

By Date

Upcoming Events

Showing 3 results

  Show ALL instances of recurring events
  • Joshua Tree National Park

    Evening Program at Jumbo Rocks

    • Time: 9:00 PM to 9:45 PM
    • Location: Jumbo Rocks Campground Amphitheater
    • Fees: free
    Saturday, July 29, 2017

    Every Saturday Weekly from 06/03/2017 to 09/30/2017

    Relax beneath the stars and enjoy a presentation about the park's fascinating natural or cultural history.

    View Details
  • Joshua Tree National Park

    Keys Ranch Tour

    • Location: Bring your tour ticket and meet the ranger at the Keys Ranch gate
    • Fees: Adults (12 & up) $10; Senior Pass or Access Pass holders $5; children ages 6-11 $5; children under 6 free
    Saturday, July 29, 2017

    Every Saturday Weekly from 06/03/2017 to 07/29/2017

    Explore the colorful story and numerous artifacts of this premier historical site. Tickets are required.

    View Details
  • Joshua Tree National Park

    Keys Ranch Tour

    • Location: Bring your tour ticket and meet the ranger at the Keys Ranch gate
    • Fees: Adults (12 & up) $10; Senior Pass or Access Pass holders $5; children ages 6-11 $5; children under 6 free
    Saturday, August 5, 2017

    Every Saturday Weekly from 08/05/2017 to 08/26/2017

    Explore the colorful story and numerous artifacts of this premier historical site. Tickets are required.

    View Details
 

Safety

  • Be generous in using sunscreen, and reapply often. Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Many historic mine sites exist here. Structures may be unstable and toxic chemicals are likely present. Admire, but do not enter.
  • Flash floods occur during summer monsoons. Avoid canyons and washes and move to higher ground. Don't drive through moving water.
  • GPS units and navigation apps are not reliable in the park and may direct you to unsafe roads. Refer to the park map for navigation.
  • Never put your hands or feet into rock crevices or onto ledges where you can't see. Use a flashlight at night.
  • Drive slowly to protect wildlife. When stopping to view animals or scenery use a pullout and move out of the way of traffic.
  • Stay hydrated; drink at least one gall (4L) of water per person, per day, and lots of salty snacks or electrolyte drinks when active.
  • Water is available at Oasis Visitor Center, Black Rock Campground, Cottonwood Campground, Cottonwood Visitor Center, West Entrance, & Indian Cove Ranger Station.

Emergency Phones

  • Indian Cove Ranger Station
  • Intersection Rock parking area, near Hidden Valley Campground
In an emergency, if you have cell service, dial 909-383-5651 or 911 for assistance.


Cell Phones

In most of the park there is no cell coverage. Do not count on your phone for navigation or in case of emergency.
 

What to See and Do

 
Color photo of visitors walking their leashed dogs on a dirt road. NPS / Brad Sutton

Dogs

Activities with pets are very limited in Joshua Tree. Learn how to make the most out of your visit and keep your furry friend safe.

rays of the setting sun behind a mountain, with many cactuses in the foreground

Enjoy Our Nature Trails

It's no secret to desert dwellers: our sunrises and sunsets are some of the prettiest around. Enjoy the view from a short nature trail.

night scene with the stars of the Milky Way beyond a silhouetted Joshua tree

Experience Dark Night Skies

Can't see the Milky Way from where you live? You're not alone. Joshua Tree offers outstanding stargazing.

a hiker standing high on a rock outcrop looks over a desert valley

Hiking

Joshua Tree has about 300 miles of hiking trails for you to explore. Which one is calling to you?

a girl and a boy looking across the desert toward distant mountains

Kids & Youth

Joshua Tree National Park is fun for kids of all ages! Get ideas for things to do on your visit to the park or at home.

a couple sitting at a viewpoint at night, looking toward the lights of the Coachella Valley

Places to Go

Find out about park destinations, from must-see spots like Skull Rock or Keys View to quieter areas like Cottonwood Spring and Black Rock.

Last updated: June 1, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

74485 National Park Drive
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277-3597

Phone:

(760) 367-5500

Contact Us