The Joshua Tree National Park is a desert landscape in southeastern California, which forms the transition between the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert. The park is named after the eye-catching, in English " Joshua Tree " said Joshua Yucca (Yucca brevifolia ), the largest species of the genus of yucca (Yucca ), which is also called Joshua.

In addition to Joshua tree forests, the park offers one of the most interesting geological formations that are found in the California desert. It is dominated by bare rocks that are broken up usually in individual rock formations.

Joshua Tree National Monument in 1936 and 1994 declared a national park. It is awarded annually by over a million people - including thousands of rock climbers from around the world - visited.

Geography, Geology and Climate

The Joshua Tree National Park is located in Southern California, about 225 kilometers east of Los Angeles near Palm Springs. The national park has three entrances, the main entrance near the town of Twentynine Palms, the western entrance to Joshua Tree Village, and the south entrance to Cottonwood Springs. The heights within the 3196 km ² large park range from 305 meters in the Pinto Basin up to 1,772 meters on the tops of the Quail Mountain. The area connects two desert types - separated by their different elevations - produce two different types of ecosystems. Below 900 m in the eastern part of the park, the Colorado Desert landscape whose bushland, cacti and fan palms features. Higher altitude and therefore cooler and wetter is the Mojave Desert in the northwest. Here is the home of the Joshua tree (English Joshua Trees ) which gave its name to the park.

The in the park vorzufindenden Monzogranit formations arose after magma cooled and solidified below the surface and was exposed after millions of years of erosion at the surface. The most fascinating and spectacular rock formations to discover at Jumbo Rocks, Wonderland of Rocks and Indian Cove.

The climate in Joshua Tree National Park is generally very dry, however, differs depending on the altitude. On average reign around 25 % humidity. The temperatures in the spring and fall are during the day around 20 ° C at night to 10 ° C. In the summer are 35 ° C and more are not uncommon. During the winter months the temperatures drop at night, slightly below the freezing point, but during the day they can reach up to plus 15 ° C.


Mormons who once crossed the Mojave Desert, Joshua Tree gave the park its name. They recognized in the trees the figure of the prophet Joshua, the Israelites pointed the way to the promised land with arms outstretched. On August 10, 1936, the park was declared a National Monument on October 24, 1994, he was upgraded by the Congress of the United States to the status of a national park.

Flora and Fauna

Overall, the park has about 700 different plant species. There are five natural water points where concentrated animal life. The largest animal is the Desert Bighorn Sheep, also many species of birds can be observed. As in most desert areas, the wildlife is mainly active at night, too.

The most striking plants are the strange -looking Joshua trees (English Joshua Tree ), which occur only in the Mojave Desert in the northwest part of the park and gave it its name. The Joshua Tree is an important part of the regional ecosystem and provides many desert animals food and shelter. The plants that look like cacti, but belong to the lily family, are up to 18 meters high and up to 900 years old. Their bloom time is in April and May. In the Mojave Desert, there are very many of these trees, but at lower altitudes the vegetation is rather dominated by creosote bush. The name got the Joshua Trees of Mormons who moved into the 1840s through the area of the park and said that they showed them the way to the west.


The tourist infrastructure of the park is very well developed. The only place to stay, some primitive campsites, but generally do not have running water. In the surrounding villages, there is the possibility of hotel accommodation. Roads and trails are not very numerous.

The park is accessible by car, there is not but many roads. The " Basin Road " leads from the south in the center of the park and provides opportunities to stop and exit. From the north you reach the park via the North and the West Entrance to the Park Boulevard. One of the places to be visited can be found in Lost Horse Valley. It is located in the center of the park and shows the flora and fauna in an impressive way.

A non- paved road in the south of the park provides an overview of the geology. The lookout point at Keys View offers a view of the Coachella Valley and the Salton Sea. There are also guided tours to an abandoned gold mine. Weather-wise the visit, especially in winter is recommended. Many spend New Year's Eve. During the summer the park is very empty - and aged nine clock morning boiling hot.

Through the park, among others, also accessible only to four-wheel driven vehicles road. It can be reached from the south of Interstate 10, leading to the Park Boulevard in the center of the park.

There are three visitor center providing information on the Joshua Tree National Park. There are exhibits about the ecosystem of the park, its fauna and flora, geological formations as well as the first people who inhabited this area. Recreational activities at the park include hiking, camping, cycling, climbing, ranch tours and information sessions of Ranger.

The park is very popular with climbers ( these are often referred to as " J- Tree" ). Originally the park was more of a fallback area for the winter, while the areas were snowed in Yosemite National Park and the Sierra Nevada, but with time, the park has developed its own attraction. There are thousands of climbing routes of all classes. The routes are typically quite short, because the rocks are rarely higher than 70 meters, but the access is usually pretty easy. The rock consists of rough granite, as there is never ice or snow, which could polish him, as is the case in more northern areas. Most are secure itself.