How to Spend a Weekend in Joshua Tree National Park

Located in the Southern California Desert, Joshua Tree National Park comprises parts of the Mojave and Colorado Deserts, two distinct desert ecosystems residing at different altitudes. Named for the iconic Joshua Tree which is prevalent in the region, you’ll want to make sure to hit all the highlights during your weekend visit to this unique national park!

What to Do


Hike to Keys View to see a spectacular sunrise or sunset at the iconic overlook. Jumbo Rocks is another popular hike in the park due to its fascinating giant rock formations. Joshua Tree boasts many exciting hiking trails, like Lost Palms Oasis Trail and Ryan Mountain Trail. 

Cottonwood Springs

This delightful desert oasis is the perfect respite from the heat of Joshua Tree National Park. Rife with birds and willows, you’ll certainly enjoy a visit to these natural springs.

Rock Climbing

One of the world’s most popular areas for rock climbing, there are plenty of established rock climbing routes in the park.


The dark night skies make Joshua Tree National Park optimal for stargazing and astronomy.


The dramatic desert geography in this national park makes for incredible photos, drawing photographers from all over to this scenic landscape.

Where to Stay 

You won’t find any hotels within the park itself, but there are plenty of overnight accommodation options in the nearby towns of Twentynine Palms and Joshua Tree. There are also several campgrounds located inside the park, though they tend to fill up quickly so making a reservation ahead of time is encouraged.

When to Go 

Spring and fall are the most ideal seasons to visit, though hot, clear days with low humidity characterize this park year round. Winter days tend to be a bit cooler and winter nights are freezing cold. Fall and spring experience the mildest daytime temperatures while summer temperatures remain hot day and night. 

How to Get There

Palm Springs International Airport is the closest airport to the park, though Los Angeles and San Diego are both only road trips away. Driving to Joshua Tree is also a good option as the park lies only 140 miles east of Los Angeles.

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WikiVoyage- Joshua Tree National Park