The week­end of March 30–31 saw heavy atten­dance at Joshua Tree Nation­al Park, but unlike the recent peri­od of gov­ern­ment shut­down when the park entered a state of chaos, all facil­i­ties were up-and-run­ning for the many polite and con­sid­er­ate vis­i­tors.

The superbloom appears to be spread­ing into high­er ele­va­tions at this time (April 1) and is more or less peak­ing this week in the area of the T‑intersection of Park Boule­vard and Pin­to Basin Road, which is locat­ed in the norther­ly area of the park some eight or nine miles south of 29 Palms.

Joshua Tree Vis­i­tor Cen­ter

The most pop­u­lar entry into the park is through the west entrance sta­tion, tak­ing Park Boule­vard from the town of Joshua Tree, where the Joshua Tree Vis­i­tor Cen­ter is locat­ed. The cen­ter fea­tures a gift/book store with restrooms and an inter­pre­tive area with well-designed kiosks for bet­ter appre­ci­at­ing what one may see and expe­ri­ence in the park. We could­n’t help but notice inva­sive mus­tard grow­ing about the cen­ter’s grounds, and as hard as it is to con­trol once it has spread, it’s a les­son see­ing this and can be added to what can be learned from the kiosks and the rangers with­in the build­ing.

The towns of Joshua Tree and 29 Palms are nation­al park towns and they show as much pride in their offer­ings as can be imag­ined, espe­cial­ly after their efforts to main­tain the park them­selves dur­ing the recent park shut­downs. Excel­lent accom­mo­da­tions and restau­rants are found along High­way 62 from Yuc­ca Val­ley to 29 Palms, where there is access to anoth­er for­mal park entrance (we did­n’t vis­it the vis­i­tor’s cen­ter in 29 Palms, known as the Oasis Vis­i­tor Cen­ter).

Joshua trees near Quail Springs

Once in the park and dri­ving respect­ful­ly along Park Boule­vard, you can appre­ci­ate the near-pris­tine, immac­u­late set­ting. Most of the facil­i­ties (park­ing, restrooms, points of inter­est) enjoy spa­cious-by-day, astral-by-night set­tings and are spaced with envi­ron­men­tal aware­ness over a ten mile stretch in the gen­tly slop­ing, upper val­leys of the park. It is this north­ern area of the park, tra­versed by the main road Park Boule­vard, that one sees the Joshua trees and, indeed, what can be described as remark­able Joshua tree forests. Park Boule­vard even­tu­al­ly inter­sects Pin­to Basin Road com­ing from the south area of the park, and it is around the area of this inter­sec­tion where the Joshuas begin to give way to the dom­i­nant tree in the south, the yuc­ca tree.

Maps? Since this is a nation­al park, the best maps are already on the park’s web­site. In addi­tion to the typ­cial­ly beau­ti­ful map ren­der­ings cre­at­ed for nation­al park brochure maps, the Joshua Tree Nation­al Park web­site con­tains clear maps of the indi­vid­ual camp­grounds, as well as impor­tant advi­sories. Brochure maps are also stan­dard hand­outs at entrance sta­tions, and the Joshua Tree brochure is par­tic­u­lar­ly infor­ma­tive and imme­di­ate­ly applic­a­ble to a more enjoy­able time in the park.

This page con­sists of three sub-pages with pho­to­graph­ic con­tent. More pho­tos of this year’s superbloom at Joshua Tree Nation­al Park can be seen at anoth­er pho­to site we have, greenearthplanet.com.

A geo­ref­er­en­tial map is locat­ed below the slideshow on this page, and shows a few of our favorite areas.

To enter the first man­u­al slideshow, locat­ed on this page, click on any image.

To enter the sec­ond or third man­u­al slide show on the sec­ond or third page, click on the “2” or “3” numer­al at the bot­tom of this page. All pho­tos by Lee McComb.