4 Essential Things to Do in Joshua Tree National Park

Updated: Mar. 21, 2024

Explore nature and discover four things to do at Joshua Tree National Park. Get the most out of your visit and see more birds and those famous Joshua trees.

1. Go Birding at Joshua Tree National Park

There are many great things to do in Joshua Tree National Park, but be sure to watch for birds at Cottonwood Spring. It’s one of the few water sources in the park, which sits on the edges of the Mojave and Colorado deserts. Spot southwestern birds like the phainopepla or greater roadrunner, or hike any of the trails that start in the area.

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2. See the Geology

Visit one of the many geological highlights of this park filled with rugged terrain and ancient rock formations. The most impressive may be Skull Rock, a morbid-looking formation just off Park Boulevard. For more, drive the 18-mile-long Geology Tour Road.

Psst! See our tips for watching birds from your car.

3. Appreciate the Joshua Trees

Mojave Desert natives, Joshua trees thrive in temps from 120 to -13 degrees and can grow up to 30 feet tall and wide (or larger). They are found from Southern California into Utah and are present in most areas of the park. The trees are important for local wildlife—birds such as cactus wrens, American kestrels and northern flickers use the spiky branches as a protected perch, and the yucca moth pollinates the creamy white flowers.

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4. Go Rock Climbing

True adventure seekers can scale the rocks in the park. Beginners can hire a climbing guide or take a day class, while more experienced climbers may pick from more than 8,000 routes. Hidden Valley Campground is popular for its proximity to climbing sites.

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