Joshua Tree National Park.
Desert of Ancient Life.

For a first-time visitor, the desert may appear bleak and drab. Viewed from the road, the desert only hints at its vitality. Closer examination reveals a fascinating variety of plants and animals. A rich cultural history and surreal geologic features add to the attraction of this place.

Two deserts, two large ecosystems whose characteristics are determined primarily by elevation, come together at Joshua Tree National Park. Below 3,000 feet, the Colorado Desert encompasses the eastern part of the park and features natural gardens of creosote bush, ocotillo, and cholla cactus. The higher, moister, and slightly cooler Mojave Desert is the special habitat of the Joshua tree. In addition to Joshua tree forests, the western part of the park also includes some of the most interesting geologic displays found in California’s deserts. Five fan palm oases also dot the park, indicating those few areas where water occurs naturally and wildlife abounds.

Joshua Tree National Park:
U.S. National Park Service website for Joshua Tree National Park.


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A brief description of Joshua Tree National Park, including weblinks for the U.S. National Park Service site as well as other sites of interest regarding the park.

Official NPS Web site:
Joshua Tree National Park

When you go out in the desert and actually look at the plants, and I mean sit and look at them, you begin to see the diversity and complexity this land has to offer. When you walk next to the plants and rocks of the desert, you begin to feel connected to them, as your grandparents would have felt, if they had lived here. It is not a harsh place, if you slow down and listen.

Curt Sauer, Superintendent
Joshua Tree National Park