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Old 08-03-2010, 11:07 PM   #1
Lorelai
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Help...Joshua Tree National Park Questions

Has anyone here ever been to Joshua Tree National Park? We want to take a day trip there on our first trip to California in November. It is about a two hour drive from where we are staying in Newport Beach.

Here are my questions:

Is it a day trip type of adventure, or more like a few hours...or more like a few days needed to experience what the park has to offer? I really have no idea. Also, is there a fee to visit and what do you actually do there?

Thanks & I am seriously embarrassed by how little I know about this area of our beautiful country. This will be the first time I've ever been west of Michigan!
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Old 08-04-2010, 12:37 AM   #2
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If you feel fairly able to hike. You should go to the Lost Horse Mine. It made a look maybe 5 miles, but you can do the side the mine is on and walk it back to cut down the distance.

Joshua Tree will be shocking to see if you have never left the woods before. That much I can tell you.
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Old 08-04-2010, 11:21 AM   #3
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We are staying beside Joshua Tree now, in Yucca Valley, do not know much about it, but we re going on a walk in it today, along a trail with a large lake in it.
i think there are a different places to enter the park, and the one beside us ,is where a lot of people camp and bring their horses with them
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Old 08-04-2010, 05:53 PM   #4
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There is one entrance on the south area of the park. There are also two entrances on the north side of the park at Joshua Tree (the town) and 29 Palms. Both of these entrances have visitors centers which are outside of the park and do not require a fee to visit. There is a camping area called Indian Cove between the two towns (much closer to 29 Palms) that you can access without a fee but you cannot access the rest of the park from there. There are a couple of short trails and some good climbing rocks. I can't remember the entrance fee since we use a pass, but I'm sure that is no more than $20 (maybe $10?). There are no facilities inside the park, just some campgrounds, picnic areas and a few port a potties (bring your own water). It can be easily driven in a couple of hours and there are a few hiking areas. Hidden Valley has plenty of rocks to climb. The landscape is so unique and it is worth a visit. Crossroads Cafe (sandwiches, burgers, etc) at the corner of Highway 29 and Park Blvd in Joshua Tree (the JT entrance to the park, the visitor center is a half a block up Park Blvd) is very yummy! I'm much more well versed in the Joshua Tree town area because my in laws live there, but I'll try to answer any questions you have.
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Old 08-05-2010, 10:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by liesel View Post
There is one entrance on the south area of the park. There are also two entrances on the north side of the park at Joshua Tree (the town) and 29 Palms. Both of these entrances have visitors centers which are outside of the park and do not require a fee to visit. There is a camping area called Indian Cove between the two towns (much closer to 29 Palms) that you can access without a fee but you cannot access the rest of the park from there. There are a couple of short trails and some good climbing rocks. I can't remember the entrance fee since we use a pass, but I'm sure that is no more than $20 (maybe $10?). There are no facilities inside the park, just some campgrounds, picnic areas and a few port a potties (bring your own water). It can be easily driven in a couple of hours and there are a few hiking areas. Hidden Valley has plenty of rocks to climb. The landscape is so unique and it is worth a visit. Crossroads Cafe (sandwiches, burgers, etc) at the corner of Highway 29 and Park Blvd in Joshua Tree (the JT entrance to the park, the visitor center is a half a block up Park Blvd) is very yummy! I'm much more well versed in the Joshua Tree town area because my in laws live there, but I'll try to answer any questions you have.
Wow, I truly appreciate all of the replies. We will be going to Joshua Tree Thanksgiving week and are looking to spend the day exploring. My older sons (16 & 12) love to hike and climb, so this is perfect for them. We are all nature buffs and are really looking forward to seeing the beauty of the west.

I guess my main question is, is Joshua Tree Nat'l Park open daily year-round? And, if so, what are the hours that they allow visitors?

Secondary questions...are there interesting things to do around the outskirts of the park as well. Or would we not even need to think about that because the park itself could fill a nice day trip? So thankful for the Crossroads Cafe info., was wondering where to eat or if food was allowed in the park.

Thanks ~
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Old 08-09-2010, 11:44 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorelai View Post
Wow, I truly appreciate all of the replies. We will be going to Joshua Tree Thanksgiving week and are looking to spend the day exploring. My older sons (16 & 12) love to hike and climb, so this is perfect for them. We are all nature buffs and are really looking forward to seeing the beauty of the west.

I guess my main question is, is Joshua Tree Nat'l Park open daily year-round? And, if so, what are the hours that they allow visitors?

Secondary questions...are there interesting things to do around the outskirts of the park as well. Or would we not even need to think about that because the park itself could fill a nice day trip? So thankful for the Crossroads Cafe info., was wondering where to eat or if food was allowed in the park.

Thanks ~
Yes, food is allowed-there is nowhere to purchase food in the park. There are also many fast food places along highway 29 in Yucca Valley and Joshua Tree (not as many in 29 Palms). The nearest sights are in the Palm Springs/Palm Desert area-about 45 minutes away. There is the living desert (a zoo), a waterpark, and the arial tramway (tram to the top of a small mountain). Just driving to Joshua Tree and exploring the park is a full day. The park is open daily year round. Last time we were there was the Monday after Thanksgiving 2009 and the weather was a pleasant 65 degrees and sunny (it does not rain often). There were a few visitors to the park enjoying the holiday, but it is pretty uncrowded.
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Old 08-27-2010, 10:23 PM   #7
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Joshua Tree National park is a special place, It is where two different deserts meet (Coloradan and Sonoran), so one 'side' of the park is different than the other. You can see the park quickly in one day, but you'll need a bit more time to go on a hike. It's worth spending some time in the Cholla Cactus Garden and in a roadside ocatilla patch. Make sure you visit an oasis.

The arial tramway mentioned in the previous post is not to a small mountain. it is one of the most dramatic cable cars in the US, up MTt. San Jacinto. From the top, there is a great easy hike on top to the left. It is a loop trail that allows for access to many great lookouts. The weather up at top is about 40 degrees cooler than down low ! So you are in a completely different climate on top.

Enjoy!
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Old 08-28-2010, 07:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shelemm View Post
Joshua Tree National park is a special place, It is where two different deserts meet (Coloradan and Sonoran), so one 'side' of the park is different than the other. You can see the park quickly in one day, but you'll need a bit more time to go on a hike. It's worth spending some time in the Cholla Cactus Garden and in a roadside ocatilla patch. Make sure you visit an oasis.

The arial tramway mentioned in the previous post is not to a small mountain. it is one of the most dramatic cable cars in the US, up MTt. San Jacinto. From the top, there is a great easy hike on top to the left. It is a loop trail that allows for access to many great lookouts. The weather up at top is about 40 degrees cooler than down low ! So you are in a completely different climate on top.

Enjoy!
Thank you so much...these wonderful ideas just keep coming. I am really getting excited to visit
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Old 09-06-2010, 03:32 PM   #9
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We spent a little less than a day there last May. Drove up from Ahaheim, visited the one garden, took a small hike or two, looked around and stopped off at the visitor center.
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Old 09-23-2010, 10:19 PM   #10
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My family spent two days at Joshua Tree in June during our cross country trip. Ohio-CA and many stops in between.
Joshua Tree was one of our favorite places! Beautiful place, great rock climbing. Make sure you bring food & water into the park. Their are no restaurants or gift shops within the park. Since we were there in June it was "off season" we were the only people in the campground.
Even the office was closed for the season.

Have a great trip!
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Old 09-24-2010, 05:36 PM   #11
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My family spent two days at Joshua Tree in June during our cross country trip. Ohio-CA and many stops in between.
Joshua Tree was one of our favorite places! Beautiful place, great rock climbing. Make sure you bring food & water into the park. Their are no restaurants or gift shops within the park. Since we were there in June it was "off season" we were the only people in the campground.
Even the office was closed for the season.

Have a great trip!
Thanks for the reply! Is off season in the summertime because it is so hot? I guess I just assumed that June/July/August would be peak season since school is out and so many folks vacation in summer. But I have never been to California/Arizona/out west... so I really don't know much at all. So exactly how hot was it, and did you save most of your rock climbing for the cooler parts of the day?
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Old 09-24-2010, 10:32 PM   #12
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Thanks for the reply! Is off season in the summertime because it is so hot? I guess I just assumed that June/July/August would be peak season since school is out and so many folks vacation in summer. But I have never been to California/Arizona/out west... so I really don't know much at all. So exactly how hot was it, and did you save most of your rock climbing for the cooler parts of the day?
Yes, Summer time is considered off season due to the high temps. I didnt realize this until we got there We were fortunate to arrive mid June, we were told we had a great week, as it was a cool spell as it was only mid to high 80's most days. The evenings it was extremely windy though! Very difficult to sleep in a tent! We were able to hike & rock climb all day in Joshua Tree.
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Old 09-25-2010, 02:23 PM   #13
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Lucky that you had such wonderful weather ...well, I am getting very excited now! Can't wait!!
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Old 09-26-2010, 07:20 PM   #14
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j-tree is awesome you'll love it. I've done a lot of rock climbing and camping there very special place it has it's own unique beauty.

meet some climbers they will show you some cool areas walk through and explore.
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Old 09-27-2010, 08:37 AM   #15
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Thanks...what a great idea. We will absolutely ask the climbers/other vistors for some suggestions. It sounds like everyone who visits really loves Joshua Tree. I am sure we will too.
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