Joshua Tree National Park is a true desert park. It is 800,000 acres, there are 2.8 million visitors that come here every year, and so it’s quite popular. Joshua Tree National Park is located in Southern California, approximately 130 miles east of Downtown Los Angeles, two hours if you’re driving. It’s about three hours drive from San Diego, and about four hours driving from Phoenix, Arizona. Admission into the park is $30 per vehicle, as many people as you want in that vehicle, and the admission is good for a week. There are very few amenities in the park, other than the two deserts that come together. It’s the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert, and of course, this park is famous for the Joshua tree.
The second thing to know is what is a Joshua tree? This is a Joshua tree, and this park is full of these trees. Now, this is a type of yucca tree that’s in the agave family, but where did they get their name Joshua tree? Well, legend has it that the Mormon settlers, as they were coming west, saw these trees, and it was like Joshua was opening his arms, and guiding them to the west. So that is where the name Joshua tree comes from, and they aren’t just native to here.
There’s a ton of them throughout this park, and by the way, you’ll find pretty much all of them on the side of the park with Joshua tree and Twentynine Palms, not on the Palm Springs side, near the 10, so if you want to find these, make sure you’re visiting the north side of the park. Kinda looks like something out of Dr. Seuss, right? The trees come in all sizes, there are little ones, and big ones, the tallest one in the park is 40 feet tall. The average age of these trees in the park is 150 years old, so they’re quite old trees.
And the small ones, it actually takes 60 years for them to mature, so please be kind to the little ones so they can become big ones, for other people to see. So in addition to Joshua trees around the park, you’ll find lots of cactus. Now I should say respect this cactus, don’t get too close.
Some of these cactuses in the park they call jumping cactus, ’cause when it gets windy, these needles can actually fly, and jump and get you (humming). The third thing to know is about getting to Joshua Tree National Park. To get here, you’ll pretty much need to drive a car, that’s the best way to get here. And there are three main entrances to Joshua Tree National Park. One in the city of Joshua Tree, one in the city of Twentynine Palms, and then one down along the south, near Palm Springs. Each of those entrances has a visitor center, and I would encourage you to go to the visitor center and pick up some maps when you get in.
These are really handy to help you around the park. There’s one like this that’s easy to put in your pocket, but pick up this one that also looks kinda like a newspaper, because this newspaper one also has a lot of great detailed information about the hikes that are in the park, in case you wanna pick out whether you wanna do an easy hike, a medium hike or a hard hike.