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.
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).
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.