Day In Joshua Tree


Taking its name from one of its native plants, the Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia, a giant member of the lily family), this unique wilderness area has drawn visitors from primitive native American Indians, to early California gold seekers, to present day tourists and hikers. A unique feature of Joshua Tree National Park is that it borders on two large ecosystem deserts which enables the visitor to experience both the high and low desert atmospheres of the Colorado Desert and the Mojave Desert. Five fan palm oases, which harbor and feed an abundance of wildlife, are scattered throughout the Park as are thirty-five miles of California Riding and Hiking Trails.
Joshua Tree National Park was at one time the destination of many California residents who came there, not only to experience the desert, but rob it of native plants and cacti to take back to their homes to landscape their yards. Seeing this on-going pollution and devastation of its natural beauty, a concerned wealthy society matron, Mrs. Minerva Hamilton Hoyt, appealed to President Franklin D. Roosevelt to preserve this natural jewel by proclaiming it a national monument. President Roosevelt and the Congress set aside 825,000 acres as Joshua Tree National Monument in 1936; in 1950 the Monument was reduced to 560,000 acres, however, the 1994 Desert Protection Act restored 234,000 acres and upgraded the monument to a national park.
Joshua Tree is open year-round with the peak visitation month of April. Not only hiking, but camping (nine campgrounds) and bicycling add to the allures of the park. Climbing the unique rock formations, from the huge boulders to the steep sides of canyons, is a major activity for all ages from children to adults. Access to visitors is provided in the cities of Twentynine Palms, Joshua Tree and Yucca Valley which all border the park. I first experienced the wonders of the park as a sixth grader when I joyously ruined a new pair of jeans climbing up and sliding down the giant boulders. Some forty years later, I still enjoy the clean air, blue skies and desert sun and the black nighttime sky with millions of clearly visible stars. Truly, Joshua Tree National Park is the desert at its most beautiful.