Explore Responsibly

What does it mean to Explore Responsibly?

Responsible visitation to public lands is all about respect. Respect for the plants and animals who live here, respect for other visitors and their experiences, and respect for yourself by ensuring you make it home safe and sound. The decisions we make can have lasting impacts, both positive and negative, on the places we love.

To Explore Responsibly is to adventure with the understanding that a responsible outdoor ethic is just as important to carry around as water. Sometimes it means skipping the perfect photo opportunity in order to protect the park.


Respect the Resource

We are visitors to this special place. Small acts, like picking a wildflower or scratching initials in a tree, by individuals are magnified if thousands of other visitors think, "It won't matter if I do it, I'm only one person."


Respect Other Visitors

The desert is a special place to many people. Some visitors come to Joshua Tree to disconnect and loud music, bright lights at night, and seeing others disregarding park rules can be disturbing.


Respect Yourself

The most important part of any adventure is making it home safely. Winging it can be fun, however it can also lead to disappointment and disaster if things go wrong. Plan ahead, be prepared, and have fun!
  • a backpack with water bottles, a hat, and sunglasses

    A safe visit is a fun visit. Get important safety information here.

  • two people sitting atop a rock outcrop with a mountain in the distance
    Things to Do

    There's so much to do! Get information on nature walks, backpacking trips, stargazing, photography, wildflower viewing, and more.

  • a hiker standing high on a rock outcrop looks over a desert valley
    Explore Our Vast Desert Wilderness

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


Why does it matter?

Each year more and more people come to experience the wonder of Joshua Tree National Park and the decisions they make during their visit can have lasting impacts. Small actions can be magnified when thousands of other make the same choice.

How do I join in?

We know you love Joshua Tree and we want to see how you choose to Explore Responsibly when you visit. Post your photos of how you enjoy the park while helping us protect it for future generations.

Make the choice. Share your photos. Use the tag #ExploreResponsibly.

color photo of five hikers with large backpacks on walking spread apart from right to left in late afternoon light through sparse desert vegetation
When hiking where there is no trail, spreading out (instead of being single file) prevents social trails from forming.

NPS/Hannah Schwalbe

Last updated: March 13, 2019

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74485 National Park Drive
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277-3597


760 367-5500

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