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  • Writer's pictureKathy Condon

Prepare for a Day Trip to Joshua Tree National Park from Palm Springs

Updated: Apr 16

Sunrise Near Joshua Tree National Park

After a few days of stress-free, relaxing pool time in Palm Springs, you decide it is time to explore Joshua Tree National Park The elevation in the park goes from 275 feet elevation to 4,000 feet elevation. The park stretches across 800,000 acres, and its boundaries cross the Mojave and Colorado deserts.

How Do You Plan the Trip?

• Make sure you wear comfortable shoes. The trails are easy to navigate; thus, sneakers will work just fine.

• You will need a jacket if you are visiting in the fall, winter, or early spring. The temperature can be 20 degrees cooler than it is in Palm Springs. There are also areas such as Keys Point, which can be VERY windy.

• A hat is also a necessity.

• Plenty of water is a must. Bring more than what you think you will need at any time of the year. There is no access to water throughout the park.

• If you are a coffee drinker, you might want to consider bringing it with you.

• There is NO food throughout the park. Thus, it is the perfect time to go a Palm Springs deli, such as On the Mark or Sherman’s Deli to get some sandwiches, which you can enjoy surrounded by the beauty of the park.

• Fill your car fully with gas before you head out.

Cell service is practically non-existent within the confines of the park.

The park is very child-friendly for there are lots of places to explore, including climbing on the rocks. Pets are extremely limited to access.

Which Joshua Tree National Park Entrance should I use?

The tendency is to think you need to find the town of Joshua Tree on the map and head there to begin your journey. However, there is a much easier way which enables you to go against the crowds instead of with them.

I highly suggest you go to the park on a weekday if at all possible. The weekends attract hundreds of people from Los Angeles and San Diego. Add this influx with the international visitors; you can start to understand the reasoning and wisdom behind a weekday visit.

A suggestion: Head East on Highway 10 toward Indio, California. About 40 miles from

Cottonwood Entrance in the Spring. Also called the south entrance to Joshua Tree National Park

Palm Springs you will see signs for Joshua Tree National Park, The Cottonwood Visitor Center Entrance. At this entrance you will be in the Colorado Desert.

When you use this entrance, you will not only see beautiful vistas, you will feel yourself gradually climbing in elevation. With the change in elevation, comes an apparent shift in terrain. Before long, you will see forests of the famous Joshua Trees and the gigantic boulders beckoning you to stop the car and have a close-up view of them.

Boulders and Joshua Trees in Joshua Tree National Park

There is no way to tell you how long this journey through the park, will take for it depends on the individual families. If you travel the distance of the park, you will come out at the entrance in Joshua Tree.

Thirsty? Check out Joshua Tree Saloon for a feeling as you have stepped back into the Old West. At the Joshua Tree Saloon, order some deep-fried pickles. Yummy.

Kathy Condon is a freelance travel writer and blogger. She is the Founder of the Palm Springs Insider Guide Her book It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask: It’s All About Communication was named Best Book Finalist By USA Book News

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