First-Time Visitor's Guide

A sign that says "Joshua Tree National Park" with yellow flowers in

The Basics

  • The park is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. You are welcome to drive in and out at any time.
  • There is an entrance fee, but sometimes the fee booth is closed. You may be asked to show your pass or pay the entrance fee on your way out.
  • Reservations are not required for entrance.

Need to Know

  • There are no gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores, or hotels. Bring all your own food, water, and supplies. There is no water available in the interior of the park.
  • Cell phone reception is very limited.
  • Pets are not allowed on trails. They must always be on a leash and can't be more than 100 feet from a road.
  • The park can be crowded on holidays, weekends from Oct–May, and during spring break season (March–mid April). Be prepared for long lines, limited parking, busy trails, and full campgrounds.

When to Visit

Temperatures are most comfortable in the fall and spring, with highs typically in the range of 70-85°F (21-29°C) and lows around 50 (10°C). In the winter, highs are usually around 60°F (15°C) and near or below freezing at night. It occasionally snows at higher elevations. Summers are hot. The highs are typically around 100°F (38°C), and lows are usually near 75°F (24°C) at night. Springtime and holidays are the busiest times of the year and the park can be very crowded.

Joshua trees and desert vegetation with mountains and a blue sky in the background

Planning Check List

  1. Purchase your pass ahead of time at This will help expedite the wait times at the entrance. Passes can also be purchased at any visitor center or entrance station.
  2. If camping, reserve your campsite in advance. Nearly 85% of the 500+ campsites in the park are by reservation only. They can be booked on up to 6 months in advance. First-come, first-serve campsites fill up very quickly on holidays, most weekends, and the springtime.
  3. Check out our current conditions webpage. This has up-to-date information on closures, restrictions, and advisories.
  4. Check the weather forecast. It can range from blistering hot to freezing cold and can include gale-force winds, heavy rain, and snow.
  5. Download the NPS app. You can find information on visitor centers, campgrounds, trails, things to do, and more. You can also download an offline map to use when you don't have cell phone reception.
Two bighorn sheep on top of a boulder formation.

NPS / Preston Jordan Jr.

Help Protect the Park

While the rangers help take care of the park, we rely on visitors to be good stewards and help take care of the place for future generations.

  • While visiting, leave only footprints and take only pictures. Do not take any plants, rocks, or cultural artifacts with you.

  • Give the wildlife space, and don’t feed them. Secure your food and trash from animals, and don't leave any garbage or food scraps behind.

  • Be considerate of others. Share the trail and be conscious of your noise level. Flying drones is prohibited.

  • To protect your pet and the native wildlife, pets are not allowed on the trail.

  • Campfires are allowed only in designated fire rings in campgrounds. Do not use park vegetation, living or dead, for fuel. When finished, completely extinguish your fire.

  • Please respect the speed limits. They are lower in National Parks to help protect wildlife, like the federally-threatened desert tortoise.

  • Graffiti is illegal. Please e-mail us to report incidents of graffiti.

  • Vehicles, street-legal motorbikes, and bicycles must remain on designated roads. They are not allowed on trails or off designated roads. ATVs, UTVs, OHVs, and dirt/motocross bikes are prohibited.

  • 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.

Ranger smiling towards the camera.
Frequently Asked Questions

Find out the answers to the most common questions about visiting the park.

A woman poses for a photo and braces against the sides of a slot canyon.
Things To Do

Hiking, climbing, stargazing, wildflower viewing, 4x4-ing, and more!

Color photo taken at night with a tent, Joshua tree, and night sky. NPS / Hannah Schwalbe

Experience camping in an International Dark Sky Park.

Joshua Tree National Park map showing the park boundary, paved and dirt roads, hiking trails, and t
Park Maps

Start your planning with a map of the park.

cars entering the national park through an entrance station

We offer a variety of passes and have discounts for military, seniors, and permanently disabled.

Sun shining through a Joshua tree.
Current Conditions

Conditions are constantly changing in the park. Find out the latest.

Last updated: April 29, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

74485 National Park Drive
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277-3597


760 367-5500

Contact Us