I recently spent some time visiting Joshua Tree National Park. It was actually my first time camping since I was a young teenager. Joshua Tree was the third National Park that I’ve been to with hopefully far more to come. Growing up in Hawaii has caused me to fall in love with lush forest and coastal views. Because of that, I was unsure of what to expect with the desert but I instantly fell in love.
Four Incredible Things To Witness In Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is located in the Mojave Desert and is named for it’s famous, Joshua Trees. These trees are actually a member of the Yucca family and have had a variety of uses for Native Americans. The trees are densely populated in this region but they are actually throughout the entire Mojave Desert.
I think Joshua Tree National Park is a photographers dream. The landscape looks almost like something straight out of a Dr. Seuss book. The colors are even more incredible. During the day it was amazing to see the vast cactus covered landscape scattered with building sized boulders.
However, it was a dawn, dusk, and through the night where I felt the park truly came alive. The way the sun hits the rocks in the early hours and during sunset bring a whole spectrum of orange and red colors to the sky and rocks. It was actually between the hours of dusk and dawn that the park’s wildlife came to life.
Of the two, sunset was my favorite time. During winter and spring towering mountains to the west rise up over ten thousand feet and are often snow capped for a few months. The mountains offer an amazing backdrop to watch the sun go down as Joshua Trees cast shadows across the desert floor and red desert rocks.
While I loved the sunsets of Joshua Tree, night is when the park’s sky came alive. Joshua Tree is one of the darkest places in Southern California to see the night sky. Because of this, the starts are so easily visible and it is a popular destination for photographers to capture shots of the Milky Way. It’s also a great place to mess around with artificial lights which create great backdrops with the desert landscape and night sky. The Milky Way is best seen during the summer months but all times of the year can offer incredible star viewing. Other times of the year make other stars visible as well as annual meteor showers.
Joshua Tree National Park has incredible building sized granite boulders. Some of these boulders are as large as buildings. They were formed from bubbles of magma that eventually cooled and rose to the surface. The rocks can make for some awesome golden red colors during sunset. They’re also known to have arch like rock formations and can be used for climbing.
Cactus aren’t known for being the most popular plants but they do have incredible flowers. For several weeks during the Spring, the desert plants in Joshua Tree come to life. Cactus are blooming throughout the valley and have incredible bright colors to go along with them. Shades of blue, purple, red, orange, and yellow can be seen across the valley floor. The flowers are also full of nectar which draw in hummingbirds which are fun to watch also.
Summing Up My Three Favorite Things About Joshua Tree National Park
I only spent a couple days in Joshua Tree and I can only imagine how much there is to do in the park. I was there during mild spring days but there are pros and cons to going to each time of the year. For example, during the winter months, temperatures aren’t as hot as the summer but then you miss out on the Milky Way. Either way, I look forward to going back and exploring more of this beauty.