Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree NP, California

Joshua Tree NP, California

Southern California is a lot of desert and a lot of people, but fortunately the two co-exist.  This is due in part to an early environmental activist, Minerva Hoyt, who recognized in the early 1900s that increased auto traffic was destroying the California desert.  To read more about her efforts, click here.


This is why, when I visit in the 21st century, I can look out over an expanse of odd-looking trees and cacti, miles of desert and six mountain ranges, and see nothing but wilderness.


Joshua-Tree-NP,-rock-mtnJoshua Tree National Park is a combination of the Mojave Desert and Colorado Desert, and can be found in southeastern California.  This park, at an elevation of 4,000 feet, covers nearly 800,000 acres.  It is dominated by its namesake plant:  Joshua Trees.  In the agave family, Yucca brevifolia are endemic to southwestern United States.  For more Park info, click on Joshua Tree NP.


Because the tree trunk is comprised of thousands of small fibers or prickly spines, it does not have annual growth rings, making the tree’s age sometimes difficult to determine.  It is known, however, that they grow relatively quickly at a rate of approximately three inches per year, especially in its first ten years.


Joshua-Tree-NP,-trees-&-sanThere are many things I really liked about this park.  As a U2 fan, I smile as I have to add:  one of their greatest albums was called The Joshua Tree.


But the primary reason I enjoyed it here was the endless landscape, the quirky trees, the peace.  Between the 100 million year old rock formations, and the craggy peaks of distant mountains, are all these weird hairy-looking trees–reaching out into the spaciousness that is the desert.  It feels like you’re on another planet, and I like that.


Photo credit:  Athena Alexander


36 thoughts on “Joshua Tree National Park

  1. Having just bought U2 tickets for their concert next year, I have to admit I began grinning the moment I read your title – maybe 5 espressos before 7am is too much?! Wishing you a fabulous week 🙂

  2. The desert areas is very much different from the coastal area, that makes Cali so great. Thank you for introducing the Joshua Park, 800,000 acres is enormous. Beautiful photos, Jet. 🙂

    • Yes, this is exactly what I like most about the California landscape, Amy: the diversity. And lately I have come to enjoy the deserts of the U.S. so much more than I used to. Great to hear from you! 😀

    • Oh yes, it’s quite amazing how many early environmentalists, recent past and current ones too, have devoted their time and energy to conserving precious places in this country. We’re very lucky here in America. Thanks Bill! 😀

  3. I’m very familiar with this National Park, I loved it the first time I visited and used the name for a business I owned years ago. It’s the most beautiful dessert in the world! Thanks Jet and Athena for this holiday gift! 🙂 ❤

    • Thank YOU, HJ, for your contribution to the post. Next time I’m in so. Cal. I will definitely go back. I’m glad you liked it so much, and happy that I could freshen your memories. 😀

  4. So informative, as always. Thanks for sharing so much about this place and this tree.
    Amazingly, I was just chatting with someone this week about the Joshua Tree, and we were remarking about how neither of us really knew anything about what it looked like or where it grows (Nor did I even know there was a national park by this name!)

  5. Ah, Joshua Tree! Thanks for sharing this. I spent some time there in the late 80s and it looks like it hasn’t changed a bit. Just as it should be. We also drove through the Anza-Birrego State Desert at full bloom in April that year. Quite the sight. There is much to be said for a desert in bloom. Have a great day, Jet!

    • This is a peaceful park, very lovely. Originally I thought that U2 had been there, but I read they posed for the Joshua Tree album photos in the Badlands. In retrospect I understand that JT NP might have been a little too low-key for this popular rock band. Great to hear from you! 😀

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