Joshua Tree National Park

The perfect itinerary for one day in Joshua Tree National Park California including what to do, the best sites and Instagram photo spots. #joshuatree #nationalpark #california | things to do in Joshua Tree | Joshua Tree photography | one day itinerary Joshua Tree | Joshua Tree hikes | California travel | California road trip | National Park California | national parks united states

My one day guide to Joshua Tree National Park in California will have you wondering cholla cactus gardens, hiking, and discovering the different ecosystems throughout the park. The desert becomes more beautiful each time I visit. My first impression of the desert landscape, I wasn’t impressed. Coming from the Great Lakes State of Michigan where the nearest body of water is no more than 30 miles away, no matter where in the state you are.

However, when I REALLY started looking, I saw so much beauty and life throughout the desolate land. Sure deserts aren’t vibrantly colored obvious in your face type of beautiful, but if you look a bit deeper than the surface, you’ll see it. Joshua Tree National Park is made up of two very distinct desert ecosystems. The harsh and unforgiving climates are surprisingly rich in biodiversity and home to many species. We had the best weather in November on our adventure to Joshua Tree. I spent a beautiful Saturday with Logan exploring the park and frolking through cactus, it’s a good life.

The Adventure Guide to Joshua Tree National Park

How to Get to Joshua Tree National Park

I have been flying out to the Los Angeles (LA) area every 3-4 months for business the last couple years. I counted, and it came to 14 trips in total out to LA. Not bad for someone who 3 years ago had never set foot in California huh?!

At the end of the work week, Logan flew out to L.A. and we spent the weekend exploring east of the city. I finally took advantage of being that close! It was my last scheduled trip of the year with the holidays coming up and I wanted to make the most of it.

Flights

From Los Angeles International Airport LAX it is a 2.5 hour drive to get to Joshua Tree National Park. Other airports nearby include Burbank Airport, and Santa Monica Airport. Both are roughly the same distance to the park as LAX.

Car Rental

My recommendation is to rent a car from the LAX airport if you’re flying in. There are complimentary shuttles available for the different car services that will take you to the car lots.

PRO TIP* plan for a 1-2 hour car pickup once you have landed. LAX is one of the busiest airports in the United States so expect to be waiting in line to get the keys to your car. I highly recommend joining National’s Emerald Club to get expedited service & save time with their computer check in’s and key drop return.

If you’re leaving a car at your departure airport, be sure to Fall Into Instant Savings Up To 60% Off at AirportParkingReservations.com For A Limited Time!

The perfect itinerary for one day in Joshua Tree National Park California including what to do, the best sites and Instagram photo spots. #joshuatree #nationalpark #california | things to do in Joshua Tree | Joshua Tree photography | one day itinerary Joshua Tree | Joshua Tree hikes | California travel | California road trip | National Park California | national parks united states

Climate Change Impact to Joshua Tree National Park

As the temperature of our planet continues to rise, the deserts will become hotter, experiencing more droughts, and threatening the survival of the parks plants and animals. These conditions will likely affect the species that have inspired the namesake of the park itself- the Joshua tree. The bursting Joshua trees and other yuccas indicated we were still in the Mojave as we continued our drive south.

The perfect itinerary for one day in Joshua Tree National Park California including what to do, the best sites and Instagram photo spots. #joshuatree #nationalpark #california | things to do in Joshua Tree | Joshua Tree photography | one day itinerary Joshua Tree | Joshua Tree hikes | California travel | California road trip | National Park California | national parks united states

Mojave Desert

Once I took the time to really look, a palette of earth tones, calming and soothing rushed over me. As I looked even harder I could see life thriving, under the harshest of conditions. Fighting everyday to survive, never knowing when or if the next rain would bring relief from the constant heat. Our journey in the park started north, in the cooler Mojave.


The perfect itinerary for one day in Joshua Tree National Park California including what to do, the best sites and Instagram photo spots. #joshuatree #nationalpark #california | things to do in Joshua Tree | Joshua Tree photography | one day itinerary Joshua Tree | Joshua Tree hikes | California travel | California road trip | National Park California | national parks united states

Joshua Trees

The Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia) is a member of the Agave family and is a good indicator that you are in the Mojave Desert. However you may also find it growing in the   Sonoran Desert in western Arizona or mixed with pines in the San Bernardino Mountains.

Key’s View

 As we drove south through the park, we stopped to take in the breathtaking views of “Keys View”. Unfortunately in fear of being blown over the cliff by the gail force winds, we weren’t able to stay long.

It was incredible to watch the transformation of the desert as we drove through the park. Descending into the Colorado desert, you could feel the temperature rise, as we said goodbye to the Mojave. The variety of plants and animals are what make the Mojave Desert distinguishable from the Colorado as you drive throughout the park.

The perfect itinerary for one day in Joshua Tree National Park California including what to do, the best sites and Instagram photo spots. #joshuatree #nationalpark #california | things to do in Joshua Tree | Joshua Tree photography | one day itinerary Joshua Tree | Joshua Tree hikes | California travel | California road trip | National Park California | national parks united states

Colorado Desert

Climate change could affect more than just the beloved Joshua Tree. Rainfall in the desert is critical to the survival of the desert tortoise and the bighorn sheep that call the park home. Severe drought will force the animals into higher elevations where more rainfall is likely.

Cholla Cactus Garden

These species have adapted over centuries in order to survive the harsh conditions of the two deserts. It’s truly a remarkable, magical place, the desert.

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15 thoughts on “Joshua Tree National Park

  1. I loved Joshua Tree when I got to visit last year 🙂 Such unique landscapes, plants and rock formations! I also only had one day, but would love to go back and spend more time there!

  2. absolutely love Joshua Tree, I was just there for my birthday and it was incredibly breathtaking as always. If you haven’t camped here yet you definitely should!

  3. The desert has its own special beauty. I haven’t been to the Joshua Tree National Park, but have visited Death Valley which also has Joshua trees. I would love to visit the park.

  4. I dont know how long we have tried to plan our first vacation (not really, its our second trip, er’ve been a weekend to Washington) to US but our destinations keep changing, there’s just so much to see!
    Joshua Tree National Park for sure is on my bucketlist 🙂

  5. We used to live in Palm Springs, so it was only a short jaunt to visit Joshua Tree. There’s a lovely enclosed hike which is about a mile long, in the middle of the park. Easy hiking, like a circular valley, and ideal for beginning hikers.

  6. Joshua Tree is only a 2-hour drive from me, and I’ve been only once. I hope to go back! I especially like the photo of Logan holding onto his hat.

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