The fascinating Joshua Tree National Park [34 Pics]

Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree and shadow

Joshua Tree is such a surreal place. There’s really nowhere else like it. We had a great time bouldering and exploring during the day, but as the sun started to set, it was time to start playing around with the flash. Photo credit: Adam Brill

Introduction

Joshua Tree National Park is a United States National Park that is located in the Southern California’s High Desert. The name Joshua tree was given by a group of Mormon settlers who crossed the Mojave Desert in the mid-19th century. The tree’s unique shape reminded them of a Biblical story in which Joshua reaches his hands up to the sky in prayer.

The park is a gem and a must see visit if you ever travel to California to experience the multi-faced californian nature. Joshua Tree Park is a very popular camping, hiking and rock climbing spot for thousands each year. Even more breathtaking is the beautiful starry nights. It is hard to imagine a desert being colorful and beautiful however take a closer look while at the park. There are true hidden gems around each boulder. [34 pictures]

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Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree

The Joshua tree, Yucca brevifolia, is a giant member of the lily family. Spotted in Joshua Tree National Park, CA. Photo credit: Folkert Gorter

Joshua Trees

Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is a backpacker’s dream with its mild winter climate and interesting rock formations, plants and wildlife. Photo credit: Eric Allix Rogers

Cliffs at Joshua Tree Park

Intersection Rock, Joshua Tree National Park

The park is one of the most popular rock climbing areas in the world with more than 4,500 established routes offering a wide range of difficulty. Note that there are differing regulations depending on whether a climb is being done within the designated wilderness area or not; check with a ranger for current regulations. Photo Credit: Kolby

Climbing the cliffs and huge boulders at Joshua Tree

Rock Formation at Joshua Tree Park

Photo credit: Kolby

Boulders at Joshua Tree Park

Split Rocks at Joshua Tree Park

The desert. Some think it wretched and seemingly useless. For all its harshness, the desert is a land of surprising variety and complexity, a land of extreme fragility. Photo credit: Andreas Wonisch


Joshua Trees in rear side mirror

Driving throught Joshua Tree National Park with trees in the mirror

Take your time as you travel through this area. Joshua Tree National park provides space for finding freedom from everyday routines for self- discovery, and a refuge for the human spirit. Let the desert take hold of you. Photo credit: Jimmy Harris

Joshua Tree National Park - Joshua Trees everywhere

Plain of Joshua Trees

Photo credit: Eric Allix Rogers

Flower Ocotillo at Joshua Tree National Park

Flowering Ocotillo

Photo credit: Mike Simpson

Flower Ocotillo close up at Joshua Tree National Park

Flowering Ocotillo close up

Photo credit: Mike Simpson

Dead Joshua Tree

Dead Joshua Tree

Today we enjoy this yucca for its grotesque appearance, a surprising sight in the landscape of biological interest. Young sprouts may grow several inches in the first five years, then slow dow, averaging one half inch per year thereafter. The tallest Joshua tree in the park looms a whopping forty feet high, a grand presence in the Queen Valley forest; it is estimated to be over nine hundred years old. These “trees” do not have growth rings like you would find in an oak or pine. This makes aging difficult, but you can divide the height of a Joshua tree by the average annual growth of one half inch to get a rough estimate. Photo credit: Eric Allix Rogers

Cholla at the Cactus garden at Joshua Tree Park

Cholla Cactus at Joshua Tree National Park

Cholla cactus represent more than 20 species of the Opuntia genus (Family Cactacea) in the North American deserts. Cholla is a term applied to various shrubby cacti of this genus with cylindrical stems composed of segmented joints. These stems are actually modified branches that serve several functions — water storage, photosynthesis and flower production. Photo credit: Phil Price

Cactus Garden with Chollas at Joshua Tree Park

Cholla Cactus Garden, Joshua Tree National Park

This is about as close as you can get to a “teddy bear” cholla cactus without getting stuck with their stickers. This photo shows a closeup of a cholla cactus with more of the cactus garden visible behind. Photo credit: Daniel Peckham

Prickly Pear Cactus, hidden valley, Joshua Tree National Park

Prickly Pear Cactus, close up at Joshua Tree Park

Prickly pear cactus represent about a dozen species of the Opuntia genus (Family Cactaceae) in the North American deserts. All have flat, fleshy pads that look like large leaves. The pads are actually modified branches or stems that serve several functions — water storage, photosynthesis and flower production. Photo credit: Eric Allix Rogers

Cactus in Boom, Joshua Tree Park

Claret Cup Cactus Blooms

Joshua Tree National Park Claret Cup Cactus Blooms. Claret Cup Cactus blooms between May – July and produces red to red-orange cup shaped flowers with a bright green stigma in the center to 1.5 inches in width. Flowers are followed by a 1 inch fruit. Photo credit: Mikaku

Pink Cactus, Joshua Tree park

Cactus

The life force is patient here. Desert vegetation, of times appearing to have succumbed to a harsh and unforgiving environment, lies dormant, anxiously awaiting the rainfall and mild weather that will trigger its growth, painting a profusion of colors. At the edges of daylight and under clear night stars is a fascinating multitude of generally familiar desert wildlife. Photo credit: sandwichgirl

Scull Rock at Joshua Tree National Park

In the Eye of Skull Rock
It began long ago when rain drops accumulated in tiny depressions and started to erode the granite. As more rock eroded, more water accumulated, leading to more erosion until, as time passed, two hollowed-out eye sockets formed and the rock began to resemble a skull. Located along the main east-west park road, Skull Rock is a favorite stop for park visitors. A parking spot is located just across the road from the rock. Photo credit: Adam Brill

Orange Skies over Joshua Tree National Park

Sunrise near Keyes View, Joshua Tree National Park

A brief flash of colour over the desert. Photo credit: Jono Hey

Dusk turns clouds to blood red in the sky over Joshua Tree Park

Boulders at Joshua Tree National Park at Sunset

Photo credit: Adam Brill

Red sky behind Joshua Tree Silhouette at dusk

Lonely Joshua Tree against Red sky
Photo credit: Adam Brill

Arch Rock in Joshua Tree National Park

Arch Rock at Joshua Tree National Park

This is Arch Rock in Joshua Tree National Park. It’s just a short 0.3mi walk off the White Tank Campground parking area. This area is very rocky and I was out in the complete darkness (it was new Moon) for about 2 hours. I kept freaking myself out thinking I was hearing a mountain lion wandering around out there with me – not that there was, I was just being a chicken, ha ha. Taken about a hour after sunset, 2min 50sec exposure. The bright cluster of stars in the center is the Pleiades and just below that is Taurus and the star Aldebaran. Photo credit: Joe Ennesser

Joshua Trees bathing in car headlights at night

Joshua Trees congregating at night

Lit by a passing car’s headlights. Photo credit: Kolby

Goroka - The singsing group of Mount Hagen from the front

Joshua Tree with starry sky

Photo credit: Kolby

Starry sky above Joshua Tree National Park

Starry sky above Joshua Tree

Photo credit: Pinoyphotographer

Starry sky above cliffs in Joshua Tree National Park

Starry sky over Rock in Joshua Tree National Park

Photo credit: Pinoyphotographer

Arch Rock, Joshua Tree National Park in Infrared

Arch Rock, Joshua Tree National Park in Infrared

Photo credit: Robert Plaskota

Teddybear Cholla Cactus at sunset

Cholla cactus at sunset in Joshua Tree National Park

Called the Teddybear Cholla Cactus, you would not want to get cuddly with this plant. Photo credit: Ralph Combs

Sunrise at Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree Sunrise Silhouette

Never miss a chance to drive through J-Tree around sunrise. We drove down from SF the night before and failing to find a campsite spent our first night in a Walmart car park. Fortunately, it was just a short one as we had this sunrise to look forward to. Photo credit: Jono Hey

Sunrise in the desert - Joshua Tree, Yucca and a rocky mountain

Sunrise in the desert – Joshua Tree, Yucca and a rocky mountain

Early morning light hits a rocky hillside in Joshua Tree National Park, with Joshua Trees and Yucca plants in the foreground. Photo credit: Daniel Peckham

Moon over Joshua tree daytime

Joshua Tree and Moon

Photo credit: Grauke/0

Strange red fruit at Joshua Tree National Park

Strange Red Fruit in Joshua Tree Park

Photo credit: Eric Allix Rogers


Climbing on Rocks at Joshua Tree National Park

Stairway rocks

Photo credit: Eric Allix Rogers

Joshua Tree against blue sky

Joshua Tree against blue sky

Photo credit: Amanda Scheliga

5 year old boy next to a Joshua Tree

My 5-year old son next to a small Joshua Tree

Photo credit: Marcus Hirn

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