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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.