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Joshua Tree Tour
One of the Best Activities in the California Desert!
Joshua Tree National Park preserves over 793,000 acres of the Mojave Desert country in Eastern California (established 1994). It is located immediately northeast of Palm Springs, the best place to check for nearby accomodations.
Of particular note are the many unusual plants found here including Joshua trees, cactus, ocotillo, smoke treess, palo verdes, pinon pins, yucca plants. The best time to visit is early spring when a big array of desert wildflowers reach full bloom.
There are many Rock Formations of diverse size throughout this park. They make for a popular destination for Boy Scouts and Experienced Rock Climbers. Over 100 million years in the making, these plutonic intrusions are a granitic rock called monzogranite.. Molten liquid, heated by the continuous movement of Earth’s crust, oozed upward and cooled while still below the surface.
The Joshua Tree, which stands nearly 40 feet tall, is not really a tree at all but the largest member of the Yucca family of plants. It was so name by early Mormon pioneers crossing the desert who found the angular branches to resemble the outstretched arms of Joshua leading the Israelites into the Promise Land.
Desert wildlife includes many resident and migratory birds. It is also home to bighorn sheep, coyote, bobcat, badger, desert tortoise and burro deer. Also found within the park boundaries are many noteworthy landscape formations of granite rock and spiked peaks.
Joshua Tree was originally designated as a national monument in 1936 primarily through the efforts of Mrs. Sherman Hoyt of Pasadena, "friend of the desert". However in 1950, mining concerns successfully lobbied to eliminate a full one-third of the preserve. Only recently (1994) did it reach national park status and again expanded to cover important regions.
Oasis Visitor Center - located in Twentynine Palms - several exhibits on flora, fauna and history of the desert park.
Park Wilderness Camping
Overnight campers must observe Day Use Area restrictions, which limit camping to the west side of the Boy Scout Trail. There are no maintained backcountry campsites along this trail. Speak with a Ranger for detailed information on backcountry camping zones, permits and regulations.
Boy Scout Trail
This moderately challenging day hike trail takes you across several habitat changes as you transition from the Mojave High Desert to Low Desert. It is a showcase of an extraordinary range of plants, cacti, trees and terrain as well as enjoying immense views of the great Mt San Gorgonio in the background.
The southern portion travels through an archetypal Joshua Tree forest, then edges higher into the lower reaches of a pinyon-juniper ecosystem. Moving north, the trail drops sharply into a rugged canyon, emerging in a bajada that supports a variety of plants and succulents from the low Mojave and Colorado deserts.
The trail's ecological and topographic diversity appeal to many of the Park's mammals and reptiles. Bighorn Sheep are known to inhabit the Wonderland of Rocks area.
The Boyscout Trailhead (south) is located approximately 6.5 miles south of the West Entrance Station on Park Boulevard.
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park has nine primitive campgrounds most of which require you to carry in your own wood, gas, water and other essential supplies. Camping, hiking and picnic trails are found at many locations.
Joshua Tree is most popular from early November to late April. Outdoor climate is usually quite pleasant during this time of the year. Springtime is popular because desert wildflowers are in bloom.
Keep in mind that summer temperatures can easily hit 120-plus degrees with little cooling in the nightime. Always carry extra water. Summertime activity should be significantly restricted or even avoided.
If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996)
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