Animals & Artifacts

Wildlife Habitat

To allow the desert bighorn sheep and other animals to visit water sources without being disturbed, certain areas of the park are closed to overnight use. You can review the day-use-only boundaries at backcountry registration boards before heading out to camp.

Never approach wildlife. Admire animals from a distance then let them be. If an animal moves or reacts as a result of your presence, you are too close.

Climbing can have adverse effects on nesting raptors. If you spot an active nest, please notify park staff so that the area can be temporarily closed and the next generation of raptors ensured.

Cultural Sites

Climbing within 50 feet of rock art is prohibited. Particularly vulnerable are the many pictographs and petroglyphs that are found in popular climbing areas. These painted and etched images are easily damaged and should not be touched, because skin oils, chalk, and rubber speed up the deterioration of these irreplaceable rock-art treasures.

If you're not looking for rock art, you probably aren't going to see it. Not only is it hard to see to begin with, we've made it worse by covering it with chalk. So, even when you can't see the image, if the sign says: "No Climbing," don't climb there!

Joshua Tree National Park has a rich cultural history and is dedicated to the protection of significant prehistoric and historic sites. Many of the same natural areas that attract people today were also appealing to those of the past. The earliest known inhabitants of Joshua Tree, the Pinto Culture, date back over 8,000 years. Prehistoric sites may include art, shelters, pottery sherds, and flaked stone from tool making. More recent inhabitants left behind houses, mines and mills, cow camps, dams, and two-track roads. If you are fortunate enough to find yourself surrounded by traces of the past, take a moment to appreciate this rich history and leave it undisturbed for others to find.

Help keep Joshua Tree National Park a welcoming climbing destination by becoming a voice for the plants and animals who live here now and the people who lived here in the past.

Last updated: April 24, 2017

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74485 National Park Drive
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277-3597


760 367-5500

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