At first glance the desert appears to be vast and barren. A closer look reveals an abundance of plant life and unique animals. These natural splendors, along with some excellent hiking trails, and camping opportunities are just a few things to experience at Joshua Tree National Park. Have a look at some great activities just waiting for you to explore in one of America's most fascinating national parks.
If you're looking to venture out for half a day, start off at the visitor center. The staff and park rangers can answer all your questions, and help you plan a safe journey through Joshua Tree. Rangers will always tell you to bring a supply of water, even if you're only driving through, because if you should get stranded for any reason, this is essential to have with you.
Since you're only out for a half day, you should probably focus on the main park roads. There are a dozen self-guided nature trails to walk along, and most of them include wayside exhibits. Stop off at one of these remarkable trails and go for a leisurely stroll. You'd be amazed at some of the flora and fauna out there including the famous Joshua Tree. During the spring the Joshua Tree blossoms with unique clusters of yellow-ecru flowers. If you're still feeling adventurous after your stroll, a 20 minute drive to Key Views unveils a spectacular view of Mexico.
With a full day at your fingertips, you can explore a few more trails. If you're traveling from October to May, make a reservation for the Key Ranch guided walking tour. As a ranger leads you through Joshua Tree, you'll learn a variety of fascinating facts about the deserts ecology, plant life and animals. Did you know that Joshua Tree has been inhabited by humans for over 5,000 years? Members of the Pinto culture are the first known occupants, leaving behind artifacts such as "triangular points" used as spear tips for hunting.
If you rather venture out on your own, the backcountry is a great spot to explore. If you're looking for something a bit more rugged, there are a variety of dirt trails to bike along, in addition to rock-climb opportunities.