Lovers of the desert, those who want to get to know it, and mature lovers of all ages will enjoy vacationing in Joshua Tree National Park. In southeastern California, this desert region has anything but a sterile and uniform environment.
The National Park Service posts a home page with pictures of the other worldly tree that gives the preserve its name. From dense forests and barren stretches of cactus and brush to sand dunes and lush oases, this region has native wildlife, migratory species, wildflowers after the rains, and a landscape that you will never forget.
Nature lovers keep a sharp eye out for the over twenty kinds of snakes, many different varieties of lizard, and over 250 species of birds that come, go, and stay. Mule deer and Bighorn sheep visit the oasis waterholes, and the wildflowers and flowering trees and cactus are spectacular after the rains. The Joshua tree is one of these, with fantastic blooms on its other-worldly branches.
The high Mojave Desert – where the Joshua trees are found in dense forests or as scattered individuals – contrasts with the lower Colorado Desert with its cactus and sandy soil grasslands. The wind-sculpted rocks and land shaped by savage rainfalls draws hikers and rock climbers from all over the world. There are over a thousand routes of all levels of difficulty.
Visitors can see the park in four-wheel drive vehicles in certain areas, can hike on trails that are half a mile to thirty-five miles in length, and go with the rangers on nature walks. There are nine campgrounds and backpacking is permitted with strict ‘leave it as you find it’ rules.
Those who want to sight see in comfort can stay at the near-by Twentynine Palms Inn, a luxurious but authentic resort established in 1928. Many of the original wood frame cabins are still used, along with adobe bungalows. The town of 29 Palms has many art galleries, museums, and specialty shops, and the Inn has a fine dining restaurant and all the comforts of home.
Vacationing at Joshua Tree National Park is awe-inspiring, educational, photogenic, and totally memorable. It is anything you choose – relaxing, strenuous, luxurious, spartan – but never, ever boring.
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