Entering the Mojave Desert, driving on dirt roads, and catching glimpses of the amber light playing with shadows on the mountainsides make you feel as though you’re traversing an entirely new world. The sight of rare Joshua trees instantly creates a sense of exclusivity, too, as if their branches are posing just for you. Heading through this desert floor is a dream come true for me; though I grew up in this very same desert, in a town not far away, the unique rock formations, unusual Joshua trees, and widespread respect for this land make Joshua Tree stand out from the rest.
Before you dive into your Joshua Tree itinerary, there are some critical preparation tips and tricks to help your Joshua Tree trip go off without a hitch. Empower yourself with knowledge before leaving so you can enjoy your vacation.
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Planning a visit to Joshua Tree National Park was several years in the making. While I moved away from the desert nearly a decade ago and had never visited the national park, there was always something that connected me to Joshua Tree. There is a sense of mystery and an inkling of home that come to mind at the mere thought of traveling to this ruggedly remote destination that calls to my adventurous nature. After spending many years thinking about the possibilities, looking at pictures on Instagram, and imagining being there, it was finally time to go see it for myself.
While Joshua Tree is known for many things—such as the special yuccas called Joshua trees that are only found in a few regions around the world, the protruding rock formations that beg to be climbed, the seasonal gardens that bloom, and the warm desert air that encompasses it all—to me, it screams of summer nights, carefree days, and the adventure of a lifetime.
A trip to Joshua Tree requires surprisingly little planning compared to other national parks, especially since the Black Rock Campground is available on a first-come, first-served basis between June 10 and August 29. Roughing it in nature takes its own kind of planning, but when it comes to visiting this park, there are very few calls to make. After booking a flight to the nearest airport and reserving a rental car for the drive from Palm Springs to Joshua Tree, all that’s left to do is pack.
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