by Alex Gugel , all rights reserved

Joshua Tree Guide


brochure Joshua Tree Guide - 2014
Joshua Tree Guide National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Joshua Tree National Park A planning guide for visitors to Joshua Tree National Park 2014 Photo by Stacy Manson At first glance, the desert seems lifeless and barren. However, a closer look reveals a landscape teeming with life, providing a home for hundreds of species. Joshua Tree National Park is comprised of two distinct desert environments the Mojave and the Colorado deserts. Joshua trees dwell in the higher elevations of the Mojave, while creosote bushes, cholla cactus, and ocotillo dominate the lower Colorado. A changing landscape greets you at every turn. Joshua tree forests intermingle with immense boulder outcroppings. Reminders of ancestral peoples combine with the remains of mining infrastructure and pioneer homes. On your journey through the park, examine the transitions you see, feel the struggles of survival in an unforgiving place, and discover the subtle beauty of the desert. Hello and Welcome to Joshua Tree National Park! Ocotillos in bloom. NPS Photo Experience Joshua Tree National Park Take a Drive Explore Park Boulevard and the Pinto Basin Road. Take the spur to Keys View for incredible panoramic views. A park map is located on pages 4 & 5. Get Active Take a hike, walk a nature trail, ride a bike, go rock-climbing. Opportunities to get your heart pumping are almost limitless. Trails are listed on page 5. Relax, Reflect, and Recharge Take a moment to disconnect from the outside world. Think about what brought you here and what this place means to you. Emergencies Call 909-383-5651, dial 911, or contact a park ranger. Cell phone coverage in the park is limited. Table of Contents Information Rock Formations Maps, Programs, & Hiking Camping & Trip Planning Backcountry Travel & Activities Black Rock Canyon 2-3 3 4 6 6-7 7 Visitor Center Hours Oasis Joshua Tree Cottonwood Black Rock Daily (except Fridays) Fridays 9 am – 5 pm 8 am – 5 pm 9 am – 4 pm October – May 8 am – 4 pm Noon – 8 pm It is our goal to ensure you have a safe and fulfilling experience when enjoying this unique landscape. The weather varies greatly with the seasons, so be prepared and always carry water. Please keep your distance from wildlife – the animals are wild. I have found through my work here that we all can find adventures, challenges, and unforgettable experiences while enjoying the park. It is my sincere hope that you have a safe, enjoyable, and memorable time during your visit to Joshua Tree National Park. joshua tree national park 74485 national park drive twentynine palms, ca 92277 Attend a Ranger Program Interested in learning more about Joshua Tree National Park? Join park rangers and volunteers who know it inside and out. Walks and programs listed on page 4. Visiting Joshua Tree National Park will provide you with an opportunity to experience an environment completely different from what you might ordinarily see – the uniqueness, diversity and grandeur of two desert ecosystems found in the “California Desert.” With close examination, you will find subtle and intense beauty like no other. Mark Butler, Superintendent Joshua Tree National Park Important Information Park Information getting to the park The park is located about 140 miles east of Los Angeles via I–10. Entrances to the park are located off CA HWY 62 (Twentynine Palms Highway), at the towns of Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms. A third entrance is located about 25 miles east of Indio, via I–10. international visitors Park information is available at visitor centers and entrance stations in Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish. entrance fees Admission to the park is $15 per vehicle and is good for seven consecutive days. An annual Joshua Tree Pass may be purchased for $30 and a National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Pass, costs $80 (free to active US military). Both are good for 12 months. A Senior Pass may be purchased by any U.S. citizen 62 or older for $10, and it is good for life. For Your Safety food, lodging, services There are no concessions within the park. However, surrounding communities can fulfill most visitor needs. lost & found Report lost, and turn in found, items at any visitor center or ranger station. Lost articles will be returned if found. accessibility The nature trails at Bajada, Cap Rock, and the Oasis of Mara are accessible. Keys View is accessible and Site 122 at Jumbo Rocks Campground is wheelchair accessible. wildflowers Spring blooming periods vary with elevation, temperature, and the amount of moisture in the soil. You can find current information on the park website: visitor centers Oasis Visitor Center (9 am - 5 pm) is located in Twentynine Palms. Joshua Tree Visitor Center, (8 am - 5 pm) is located in Joshua Tree Village. Cottonwood Visitor Center (9 am - 4 pm) serves the southern entrance. Black Rock Nature Center (Monday to Thursday 8 am - 4 pm; Friday noon - 8 pm) is open October thru May at Black Rock Campground. weather Temperatures vary widely from season to season. Spring and fall temperatures are most comfortable, with an average high/low of 85 and 50°F (29 and 10°C) respectively. Winter brings cooler days, around 60°F (15°C), and freezing nights. Summers are hot - over 100°F (38°C) during the day and not cooling much below 75°F (24°C) until the early hours of the morning Park Regulations pets While pets are allowed in the park, their activities are restricted. They must be on a leash at all times and cannot be more than 100 feet from a road, picnic area, or campground; they are prohibited from trails, and they must never be left unattended. off-road driving Vehicles, including bicycles, are prohibited off established roads. The desert ecosystem is fragile. Off-road driving and riding creates ruts, upsets delicate drainage patterns, compacts the soil, and leaves visual scars for years. Plants are crushed and uprooted. Wildlife shelters are destroyed, and food and water supplies are altered or obliterated. ATVs may not be used in the park. bicycling Bicycling is permitted on public roads, both paved and dirt, but not on trails. There are no bicycle paths and many roads are narrow, so ride cautiously. campfires Campfires are permitted in campgrounds and in picnic areas where fire grates are provided. Campfires are not allowed in the backcountry. Collecting vegetation, living or dead, is prohibited, so bring firewood. food storage Store food in hard-sided containers your vehicle to prevent ravens, coyotes, and other wildlife from eating it. firearms and weapons Firearms may be possessed in accordance with California state and federal laws; they may not be used in the park. Fireworks, traps, bows, BB guns, paint-ball guns, and slingshots are not allowed in the park. 2 Joshua Tree Guide commercial filming When filming or photography involves advertising a product or service, the use of models, sets, props, or the use of a restricted site, a film permit is required. day-use and restricted areas Some areas within the park are privately owned; others protect wildlife or historical sites. Entering these areas is prohibited. Closed from dusk to dawn, day-use areas are set aside to protect sensitive populations of wildlife. keep wildlife wild Feeding coyotes and other animals weans them from their natural food supplies and turns normally shy creatures into aggressive ones as they lose their fear of humans. It is also illegal! horses Horseback riding is a popular way to experience the park. Because of the special requirements for stock in desert areas, you will want to request the publication on horse use before you come. Horse camping is available at Ryan and Black Rock campgrounds. leave no trace During your visit please pick up trash around campgrounds and trails. Your actions will inspire other park visitors. take only pictures Over 1.25 million people visit Joshua Tree National Park each year. If each visitor took just one rock or plant, the park, our national heritage, would soon be gone. Removal, disturbance, destruction, or disfigurement of anything in the park is unlawful. trash Our dry desert climate cannot quickly decompose such things as orange peels, apple cores, egg shells, and other picnic remains. Loose paper blows into bushes creating an unsightly mess, and plastic six-pack rings can strangle wildlife. Dispose of your trash in a responsible manner and recycle whatever possible. rock climbing Climbers may replace existing unsafe bolts, and new bolts may be placed in non-wilderness areas using the bolting checklist. Bolting in wilderness requires a permit. vehicle laws Park roads are narrow and winding. Some areas are congested. Speed limits are there for your safety and well-being. State and federal vehicle laws apply within the park. parking Park roads, even the paved roads, are narrow, winding, and have soft, sandy shoulders. Accidents occur when visitors stop along the road to admire a view or make a picture. There are many pullouts and parking lots, so wait until you get to one before stopping. overnight parking There is no overflow parking in the park, at visitor centers, or park headquarters. Unattended vehicles may not be parked outside of campgrounds and backcountry boards between 10 pm and 6 am. wildlife viewing It is a thrill to see wild animals in the park, but this is their home and they should not be disturbed. This includes the use of artificial light for viewing them emergency phones In an emergency call San Bernardino Dispatch at 909-383-5651. Cell coverage is very limited inside the park. Emergency phones are located at the ranger station in Indian Cove and at Intersection Rock near Hidden Valley Campground. dehydration It is easy to become dehydrated in arid desert environments. You should always carry water with you. If you are going to camp, we recommend one gallon per person per day. If hiking or biking, you will want to take along two gallons per person. Drink the water and do not economize. When the water is half gone, it is time to turn back. potable water Water is available at the visitor center in Twentynine Palms, at Black Rock and Cottonwood campgrounds, at the entrance station south of Joshua Tree, and at the Indian Cove ranger station. stay out and stay alive Mining was an important activity in this area and numerous mining sites can be found within the park. If you choose to visit them, use extreme caution and do not enter old mine workings. sun safety That old desert sun can damage eyes as well as skin. Wear a hat and sunglasses and use sunblocking lotion liberally. bees Bees may attack when their hives are threatened; listen for buzzing and stay away. Bees looking for water are attracted to any moisture source, including human perspiration. Don’t swat at them; they might sting you. Keep drinks and food inside your vehicle. Keep car windows rolled up and use caution when exiting. weather Temperatures vary widely from season to season. Spring and fall temperatures are most comfortable, with an average high/low of 85 and 50°F (29 and 10°C) respectively. Winter brings cooler days, around 60°F (15°C), and freezing nights. Summers are hot, over 100°F (38°C) during the day, only cooling at night. you are responsible You are responsible for your own safety. This is a wild place and accidents do happen. Plan ahead and be prepared. you are responsible You are responsible for knowing and obeying park rules. Complete rules and regulations are available at any visitor center. When in doubt, ask a ranger. Emergency: dial 909-383-5651 Keep it for the Future The Weather °F 110 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec 100 Increasing popularity brings more and more people to Joshua Tree National Park every year. Most visitors are respectful, but there are the few who decide to leave a lasting impact on the park. In recent years, park managers have been forced to close areas due to excessive vandalism. Some resources have been damaged to the extent that they can never be fully cleaned or replaced. Take your time and enjoy the natural and cultural resources protected here as you journey through the park. What to do if you see someone damaging park resources: All parts of the park are protected by federal law. • Do not approach them. Despite its apparent harshness, the desert is a land of extreme fragility. And remember, graffiti in a national park is not art. • Note time, location, and other details including descriptions, license plate/vehicle information, and take pictures if possible. • Contact park staff as soon as possible at the nearest visitor center or entrance station. 43.3 37.7 NORMAL HIGHS 90 32.2 80 26.7 70 21.1 Historic Barker Dam scarred by graffiti, covering nearly 500 square feet (152sq/m)of its east face. We are all stewards of this land - if we want it to be here for future generations, we must keep it safe today. °C NORMAL LOWS 60 15.5 50 10.0 40 4.4 PRECIPITATION Normal is 4.06 inches per year -1.1 30 .38 .35 .30 .10 .06 .02 .62 .68 .31 .32 .27 .46 Measurements were taken at 1,960 feet. You can expect seven to 12 degrees cooler temperatures and 3.5 inches more precipitation at higher elevations. • To report vandalism, call 911 or park dispatch toll free at 909-383-5651. The geologic landscape of Joshua Tree has long fascinated visitors to this desert. How did the rocks take on such fantastic shapes? What forces sculpted them? Geologists believe the face of our modern landscape was born more than 100 million years ago. Molten liquid, heated by the continuous movement of Earth’s crust, oozed upward and cooled while still below the surface of the overlying rock. These plutonic intrusions are a granitic rock called monzogranite. The monzogranite developed a system of rectangular joints. One set, oriented roughly horizontally, resulted from the removal, by erosion, of the miles of overlying rock, called gneiss (pronounced “nice”). Another set of joints is oriented vertically, roughly paralleling the contact of the monzogranite with its surrounding rocks. The third set is also vertical, but cuts the second set at high angles. The resulting system of joints tended to develop rectangular blocks. (figure 1) Good examples of the joint system may be seen at Jumbo Rocks, Wonderland of Rocks, and Split Rock. As ground water percolated down through the monzogranite’s joint fractures, it began to transform some hard mineral grains along its path into soft clay, while it loosened and freed grains resistant to solution. Rectangular stones slowly weathered to spheres of hard rock surrounded by soft clay containing loose mineral grains. Imagine holding an ice cube under the faucet. The cube rounds away at the corners first, because that is the part most exposed to the force of the water. A similar thing happened here, but over millions of years, on a grand scale, and during a much wetter climate. (figure 2) After the arrival of the arid climate of recent times, flash floods began washing away the protective ground surface. As they were exposed, the huge eroded boulders settled one on top of another, creating those impressive rock piles we see today. (figure 3) Visitors also wonder about the “broken terrace walls” laced throughout the boulders. These are naturally occurring formations called dikes. Younger than the surrounding monzogranite, dikes were formed when molten rock was pushed into existing joint fractures. Light-colored dikes formed as a mixture of quartz and potassium minerals cooled in these tight spaces. Suggesting the work of a stonemason, they broke into uniform blocks when they were exposed to the surface. Of the dynamic processes that erode rock material, water, even in arid environments, is the most important. Wind action is also important, but less so than the action of water. The processes operating in the arid conditions of the present are only partially responsible for the sculpturing of the rocks. The present landscape is essentially a collection of relic features inherited from earlier times of higher rainfall and lower temperatures. ound Surfa c e Gr ur ound S face Gr Joint 1 2 3 Joint Rockpiles water table Ground Surface Joshua Tree Guide 3 Oasis VC How Far Is It? Cottonwood VC To Victorville and 15 53mi 85km Joshua Tree VC 247 Joshua Tree Visitor Center 62 JOSHUA TREE 65 9 Cap Rock/Keys View Road 19 40 16 Geology Tour Road 13 35 21 C 4000ft 1219m Eureka Peak 5516ft 1682m O VI UP NG PE TO N Fortynine Palms Oasis North Entrance Station B Queen Mountain 5677ft 1731m B R FL A T 62 Interstate 10 Jumbo Park Blvd Rocks Campground 12 Indian Cove Sheep Pass Campground ON FL R B White Tank Campground Avenue 30 26Queen Mountain 18 39 16 11 B 10 CATHEDRAL CITY 5677ft 1731m 19 27 29 111 INDIO COACHELLA To Mecca and Salton Sea 8mi 13km lifo Belle B North White Tank Jumbo Rocks Arch Rock Geology Tour in this Discover how humans, wildlife, and vegetation have adapted to survival Road arid landscape. Get insight into how geologic forces shapes the land we see today. 4747ft Lost Horse 1447m Learn about the past, present, and future with a knowledgable, friendly ranger. Mine Keys View B 5185ft 1581m and evening programs are just a few ways you can get Guided tours, patio talks, better connected with Joshua Tree National Park. Cholla Cactus Garden B Camp Medical facility Group B B to Road Cap Rock Evening Programs Fridays at 7 pm at Jumbo Rocks & Cottonwood campground amphitheaters. ad Ro Riding & H ikin g B Tr ai Sheep Pass B Split Rock ck Bla B Ryan C an yon For Kids Stop at an entrance station or visitor center and pick up a Junior Ranger booklet; it is free. Complete the activities and return the booklet to a ranger at an entrance station or visitor center to receive a Joshua Tree Junior Ranger badge. gle Ea ne Mi ad Ro Live Oak Jumbo Rocks l Geology Tour Keys View *Reservations are required prior to the day of the tour. Fees: adults (12 and over) $5.00, Senior and Access Pass holders $2.50, children (6 – 11) $2.50. Children under six are free. Cottonwood Visitor Center 3079ft 939m Cottonwood Spring B Mastodon Peak Lost Palms Oasis E 5 1 Bajada All Access COACHELLA To Indio and Palm Springs 86 4 Joshua Tree Guide 111 (reserv Pine City Trailhead Skull Rock Ryan Mountain P in kha m INDIO Picnic area Hiking trail ad n Berdo o C any o Saturdays at 7 pm at Indian Cove campground amphitheater. 4-wheel-drive road Ro Cottonwood Canyon Hike Satudays at 2 pm (45 minutes) Interp Wall Street Mill Trailhead 3820ft 1165m Hidden Valley Cap Rock Discovery Hike Sundays at 2 pm (45 minutes) Ranger station si n Ba ad Unpaved road n Pi Program schedule for February through May: Ro Cholla Cactus Garden Talk Wednesdays from 10 am to noon (A ranger will be present giving 15 minute talks.) Barker Dam Hidden Valley Dill on Keys Ranch Tours* Fridays and Saturdays at 10 am & 2 pm; Sundays at 10 am (2 hours) 5 Miles Pinto Mountain 3983ft 1214m Keys Ranch Ocotillo Patch Quail Springs Availability varies with the season and weather conditions. Check at any visitor center for a complete list of programs and events. 5 Kilometers 0 0 Dal e Ca ing and Hik ing T rail Ranger Programs Ryan 111 111 86 Sheep Pass R id Road PALM DESERT FL A T rn ia n nyo Ca Old Dale Mining District RANCHO MIRAGE 4562ft 1391m See inset map for details 37 n Berdo o C any o Old N AT PE TO 8 Hidden 16 Valley PALM SPRINGS 150ft 46m North Entrance Station 34 Ro ad ad 38 Fortynine Palms 21 Oasis Dill on Ro 0 16 Cholla Cactus Garden wn T NG VI O UP NG 45 Oasis of Mara 111 Cro d Ryan Campground Canyon 23 Road B44 24 Pinto Basin Road/Park Blvd. oa C ail t Tr ou B oy S c Keys View West ntrance Station Oasis of Mara TWENTYNINE PALMS 63 To 40 48miB77km 5185ft 1581m 1960ft 598m To Los Angeles 98mi 158km ld 22 Keys View Go Keys Ranch Tour 7 Indian Cove 34Rd Arch Rock Geology Tour Road 4747ft Lost Horse 1447m To Amboy 30mi 48km Mine Amboy Road Oasis Visitor Center Utah Trail Dr 45 8 White Tank Jumbo Rocks Ryan P inkham HUA TREE 48 DESERT HOT SPRINGS ing and Hik ing T rail Belle B Road 10 Joshua Tree Visitor Center 62 R id R oa d Indian Cove 14 rn ia Indian 42 Adobe Rd 20 Sheep Pass lifo Hidden Valley 4562ft 1391m See inset map for details Hidden Valley Ca 56 LO W ER Oasis of Mara AT 0 Ro a FL 38 nt en ta C Cottonwood Spring B Black Rock Canyon 36 West Entrance Station ON 20 High View T NG VI O 18 ine tyn en Tw s lm Pa B Palomar Ave Joshua ay hw Hig Indian Cove Park Blvd Alta Loma Dr d Cholla Cactus Garden MORONGO VALLEY Trail 1960ft 598m Canyon Road Utah Trail 25 Yucca Indian Cove Rd ail t Tr ou Black Rock Canyon YUCCA VALLEY Oasis Visitor Center TWENTYNINE PALMS B oy S c 28 Co 28 La 9 Avalon Ave Lane Belle Campground Adobe Rd Emergency: dial 909-383-5651 10 To Desert Center and Blythe Emergency: dial 909-383-5651 Amboy Road To Amboy 30mi 48km NATURE TRAILS To 40 48mi 77km Go ld Mileage Starting Point Arch Rock .3-mile loop (.5-km) White Tank Campground, opposite site 9 Bajada AllAccess .25-mile loop (.4-km) South of Cottonwood, onehalf mile from the southern entrance to the park Barker Dam 1.1-mile loop (1.8-km) Barker Dam parking area Cap Rock .4-mile loop (.6-km) Cap Rock parking area, at the junction of Park Blvd. and Keys View Road Cholla Cactus Garden .25-mile loop (.4-km) 20 miles north of Cottonwood Visitor Center Hidden Valley 1-mile loop (1.6-km) Hidden Valley picnic area Hi-View 1.3-mile loop (2.1-km) Northwest of Black Rock Campground Indian Cove .6-mile loop (1-km) West end of Indian Cove Campground Keys View .25-mile loop (.4-km) Keys View Oasis of Mara .5-mile loop (.8-km) Oasis Visitor Center, Twentynine Palms Skull Rock 1.7-mile (2.7-km) Jumbo Rocks Campground Cro Trail wn Ro ad Old Dale Mining District 62 To Parker 60mi 96km Aqua Peak 4416ft 1346m Pinto Mountain 3983ft 1214m R oa d Ocotillo Patch n Pi Dal e B si n Ba Old to 3820ft 1165m Ro ad B ck Bla gle Ea ne Mi 2957ft 902m ad Ro Kaiser Road See inset map for details Cottonwood Visitor Center Eagle Mountain 5350ft 1631m 3079ft 939m 177 Cottonwood Spring B Lost Palms Oasis To Blythe 35mi 56km 10 CHIRIACO SUMMIT 195 To Mecca and Salton Sea 13mi 21km Restrooms pretive Trail pground p Campground vations required) DESERT CENTER Bajada All Access B Backcountry board Drinking water HIKING TRAILS Trail Round-trip Mileage Time Starting Point Trail Description Boy Scout Trail 16 miles 25.8 km 1-2 days Indian Cove backcountry board or Keys West backcountry board 0.5 mile (0.8 km) east of Quail Springs Picnic area Scenic trail through the western most edge of the Wonderland of Rocks. See backcountry board for information on overnight use. Moderate. 49 Palms Oasis 3 miles (4.8 km) 2-3 hours Parking area at end of Canyon Road, 4 miles (6.4 km) west of Twentynine Palms off Hwy 62 Several stands of fan palms, evidence of past fires, and pools of water are found at the oasis. The plants in this area are especially fragile, so walk lightly. Moderately strenuous. Lost Horse Mine/Mt. 4 miles (6.4 km) 3-4 hour Parking area 1.2 miles (1.9 km) east of Keys View Road Site of ten-stamp mill and foundations. Summit elevation: 5278 feet (1609 m). Moderately strenuous. Ryan Mountain 3 miles (4.8 km) 2-3 hours Ryan Mountain parking area or Sheep Pass Campground Excellent views of Lost Horse, Queen, and Pleasant Valleys. Summit elevation: 5461 feet (1664 m). Moderately strenuous. Thirty-five miles of the California Riding and Hiking Trail pass through the park. Access to the trail is at its junction with Covington Flats, Keys View, and Squaw Tank (Geology Tour) Roads; at Ryan Campground; south of Belle Campground; and near the north entrance to the park. This allows for shorter hikes of 4, 6.7, or 11 miles (6.4, 10.7, or 17.6 km). Two to three days are required to hike the entire length of the trail. Temporary Closure of Cottonwood Trails Due to a heavy flash flood in 2011 and again in 2013, tailings from historic mining were churned up, exposing heavy metals that are a health and safety issue to people. The following trails are temporarily closed: Alternate Cottonwood Area Trail Options: Cottonwood Spring Oasis Silvia’s Wash (1.5mi/2.4km roundtrip) Lost Palms Oasis Pinto Dunes (2mi/3.2km roundtrip) Mastodon Peak The Joshua Tree Guide is produced by the employees and volunteers of Joshua Tree National Park and Joshua Tree National Park Association. Joshua Tree Guide 5 Emergency: dial 909-383-5651 Campgrounds Group Group Campgrounds Elevation Sites Fee Sites Fee Horse Camp Water Flush Chemical Fire Dump Toilets Toilets Tables Grates Station Campsites are limited to six people, three tents, and two cars. Group sites accommodate ten to 60 people. Obtain reservations up to six months in advance for sites at Black Rock, Indian Cove, and all group sites by calling 1-877-444-6777. Other campgrounds are first come-first served. Camp only in designated campsites. Belle 3800’ 18 $10 * * * Black Rock 4000’ 100 $15 * * * Cottonwood 3000’ 62 $15 * * * * Hidden Valley 4200’ 45 $10 * * * Indian Cove 3200’ 101 $15 $25/40 * * * Jumbo Rocks 4400’ 125 $10 * * * Store food in containers capable of preventing access by wildlife, or in your vehicle. Any scented or odorous items must be similarly stored. Ryan 4300’ 31 $10 $10 * * * All vegetation is protected. Do not collect firewood. Sheep Pass 4500’ 6 $25/40 * * * Quiet hours are from 10 pm to 6 am. Generator use is limited to six hours a day: 7 to 9 am, noon to 2 pm, and 5 to 7 pm. White Tank 3800’ $10 * * * There is a 30-day camping limit each year. However, only 14 nights total may occur from October through May. 15 3 13 $15 * $30 * * There are no hookups for RVs. RVs may not exceed 25 feet in length at Hidden Valley, Indian Cove groups sites, or White Tank. At White Tank, the 25-foot limit includes the towing vehicle. RVs are prohibited at Sheep Pass and Cottonwood group sites. Water is available at Oasis Visitor Center, Indian Cove Ranger Station, West Entrance, and Black Rock and Cottonwood campgrounds. Showers are not available. Be an inspiration to others; leave your campsite cleaner than you found it. What To See And Do Viewed from the road the desert may appear bleak and drab. Closer examination reveals a fascinating variety of plants and animals and surreal geologic features. Joshua Tree National Park offers visitors endless opportunities for exploration and discovery. Depending on the number of hours you have to spend, your interests and energy, here are some ideas to consider: IF YOU HAVE FOUR HOURS OR LESS, begin your tour at a park visitor center. Park staff will be happy to provide you with current information about conditions in the park as well as answers to your questions. With limited time you may want to confine your sightseeing to the main park roads. Many pullouts with wayside exhibits dot these roads. A list of nature trails and short walks appears in this publication. Consider experiencing at least one of these walks during a short park visit. On clear days the vista from Keys View extends beyond Salton Sea to Mexico and is well worth the additional 20-minute drive. IF YOU PLAN TO SPEND AN ENTIRE DAY, there will be time to walk several nature trails or take a longer hike; several are listed on page 7 of this publication. A ranger-led program will add enjoyment and understanding to your visit. Check at visitor centers and on campground bulletin boards for listings. Or, call ahead and reserve a spot on the popular Keys Ranch guided walking tour. Some visitors like to experience the desert from the seat of a mountain bike. The park offers an extensive network of dirt roads that make for less crowded and safer cycling than the paved main roads. A selection of road trips is included in the article titled Backcountry Roads in this publication. Joshua Tree has gained international attention as a superb rock-climbing area. Many visitors enjoy watching the rock climbers in action. WITH MORE THAN ONE DAY IN THE PARK, your options increase. There are nine campgrounds and backcountry camping is permitted. You will find information concerning camping and backcountry use elsewhere in this publication. Books and topographic maps give information needed for longer hikes. For “peak baggers,” the park has ten mountains over 5,000 feet (1,524 m) in elevation. Or make it your goal to hike to all the park oases. Other trails lead you to remnants of the gold mining era, a colorful part of the park’s cultural history. Whatever you choose, your time will be rewarding. The desert holds much more than what is readily apparent to the casual observer. A note of caution: The desert, fascinating as it is, can be life-threatening for those unfamiliar with its potential dangers. It is essential that you carry water with you—even if you are only driving through. Cars break down; keys get locked inside; accidents happen. 6 Joshua Tree Guide Backcountry Roads for mountain bikes and 4-wheel-drive vehicles Mountain bikes and 4-wheel drive vehicles are welcome in the park. For your own safety and for the protection of natural features, stay on established roads. Tire tracks on the open desert can last for years and will spoil the wilderness experience of future hikers. Paved roads in the park are narrow with soft shoulders. Curves, boulder piles, and Joshua trees restrict the vision of bikers and motorists. The unpaved roads in the park are safer for bikes and offer many opportunities to explore the area. Here is a sampling: Pinkham Canyon Road This challenging 20-mile (32.4-km) road begins at Cottonwood Visitor Center, travels along Smoke Tree Wash, and then cuts down Pinkham Canyon. Sections of the road run through soft sand and rocky flood plains. The road connects to a service road next to I-10. Black Eagle Mine Road Beginning 6.5 miles (10.5 km) north of Cottonwood Visitor Center, this deadend dirt road runs along the edge of Pinto Basin, crosses several dry washes, and winds through canyons in the Eagle Mountains. The first nine miles (14.5 km) are within the park boundary. Beyond that point is Bureau of Land Management land and a number of side roads. Several old mines are located near these roads. Use extreme caution when exploring old mines. Old Dale Road This 23-mile (37.3 km) road starts at the same point as Black Eagle Mine Road. The first 11 miles (17.8 km), cross Pinto Basin, a flat, sandy drylake bed. Leaving the basin, the road climbs a steep hill, then crosses the park boundary. A number of side roads veer off toward old mines and residences. The main road leads to ca hwy 62, 15 miles (24.3 km) east of Twentynine Palms. Queen Valley Roads A network of roads, totaling 13.4 miles (21.7 km), crosses this valley of boulder piles and Joshua trees. A bike trip can begin at Hidden Valley or the dirt road opposite Geology Tour Road. Bike racks have been placed in this area so visitors can lock their bikes and go hiking. Geology Tour Road An 18-mile motor tour leads through a fascinating landscapes. The road turns south from the paved road two miles (3.2 km) west of Jumbo Rocks Campground. There are 16 stops and it takes approximately two hours to make the round trip. The distance from the junction to Squaw Tank is 5.4 miles (8.8 km) This section is mostly downhill but bumpy and sandy. Starting at Squaw Tank, a 6-mile (9.7 km) circular route explores Pleasant Valley. A descriptive brochure that

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