Brush Stroke

13 Best Things To Do in Joshua Tree National Park

By: Sahil Luthra

The desert landscape of Joshua Tree, which spreads across nearly 800,000 acres, attracts everyone from stargazers to rock climbers. Despite its somewhat stark and imposing landscape, plenty of plants and animals call 

Climbers flock to Joshua Tree from around the world to tackle the literally thousands of routes open to them. There are challenges for all ability levels, with more than 8,000 climbing routes, 2,000 boulder 

Rock Climbing


With some of the darkest nights in Southern California, Joshua Tree National Park offers visitors the chance to see the stars, planets, meteors and even the Milky Way without much in the way of light pollution. 

Joshua Tree Visitor Center

The main visitor center to the park houses a bookstore, cafe and restrooms. It's a good place to start your visit, pick up maps and find out what might be happening in the park that day.  

Keys View

This viewpoint is not to be missed as it offers a sweeping overview of the Coachella Valley from an elevation of 5,185 feet. A 0.2-mile loop trail leads up to the ridge, where you'll be able to look for sights including the Salton Sea, 

Cholla Cactus Garden

The Cholla Cactus Garden, located about 12 miles south of the park's North Entrance, is home to one of the few stands of cholla cactus in the park. The short, quarter-mile Cholla Cactus Garden Nature Trail is a flat loop,  

Ryan Ranch Trail

This is a short and sweet 1-mile loop trail located east of the Ryan Campgrounds. The hike takes visitors along an old ranch road to see remains of a historic adobe buildings from the 1800s.  

Cottonwood Spring

Cottonwood Spring Oasis, located 7 miles from the park's South Entrance, served as an important place both for Cahuilla Indian Tribe and gold miners who depended upon its water.  

Cap Rock Trail

This short trail is an easy 0.4-mile loop which takes visitors through Joshua tree woodlands and between unique rock formations. The trail is located at the junction of Park Boulevard and Keys View Road. 

Keys Ranch Tour

Staircase, located in the southeastern corner of Olympic National Park, is dominated by enormous Douglas firs. You'll find a variety of hiking trails along the Skokomish River and the nearby forests.  

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