Covering almost 800,000 acres of the Southern California Desert, supporting two different desert ecosystems, The Joshua Tree National Park was given its name by a groups of Mormons in the 19th century after the Joshua Tree which thrives in the area and have a very uniquely interesting structure.
The Park itself comprises of two deserts characterized by their elevation, the Colorado desert being 3000 ft below sea level and the Mojave Desert which is elevated. This results in both the deserts having two distance eco systems as the Mojave Desert is cooler in nature than the Colorado Desert and has different flora and fauna.
Because the desert is hot, its inhabitants do not come out during the day, they prefer the cooler mornings and nights for their activities. Animals such as the Coyotes, Jackrabbits and shy Kangaroo rats come out during the evening to feed. The area is also inhabited by bob cats which may be hard to spot but certainly are amongst the inhabitants of the park.
In order to get to the park, you could travel by air or take a train to Palm Springs, which is the closest city to the park. Or you could choose to dive there by taking the Interstate 10 and Hwy 62, 140 miles east of Los Angeles.
In order to enter the park, you first need to buy a pass which can cost from $15 to $30, depending upon your mode of transportation. You could also get a $55 pass which will be valid for up to 12 months if you wish to frequently visit the area. There are other passes that can be obtained which would allow you to enter the park, but these would be the most relevant for Joshua National Park particularly.
It is advisable that you gather food, water and other provisions from outside the park. This is due to the fact that there are no spots within the park where you can acquire or purchase things other than water and beverages which are provided at the Oasis Visitor center. Anything other than must be purchased from the towns surrounding the park.
It is also wise to know beforehand that the national park itself does not have any hotels for the tourists to stay in. if you plan on staying, the nearest accommodations are along the highway 62 or the nearby towns. The park however does have a number of different camping grounds where you could set camp for the night or the duration of your stay.
The park also has a few different hiking trails for you to hike on. You can also bike along these trials if you prefer.
Other activities that you could do in the park include, rock climbing. Photography, wildflower viewing. The park association conducts classes such as painting, photography, wild life and geology which you can take if you are looking for a more guided approach to exploring the area.
The most important thing to remember is to remain safe while in the park. The most imminent threat is the weather as the desert is bound to have harsh conditions. Remember to always wear a sunscreen during the day and to keep water on you at all times. Other threats include snakes which can be easily avoided by not engaging with one if you come across it and abandoned mines which can be fragile structures and must not be entered at any cost. Other than that, the park is a good location for tourists and adventurers to visit.