Back to Top


Park Info

Always Carry Water in the Desert

Always Carry Water in the Desert | Photo by NPS/Kurt Moses | Public Domain | Source

Your Safety

When visiting Joshua Tree National Park, never underestimate your responsibility when it comes to your safety. Although the park has gained popularity, it is still a large park that experiences many different types of extremes. With the appropriate knowledge, anyone can experience the park for all it has to offer. Consider visiting our online shop to pick up a book and/or a map to better educate yourself on anything from survival tips to worthwhile destinations easily accessible from a few steps from your vehicle.

Visitor Center COVID-19 Safety Protocols

We are pleased to announce that our Visitor Centers will re-open on Sunday, June 14, 2020! As we open our doors, the safety of our staff, partners, and visitors is our main concern. We have taken the following steps to ensure that we provide each of those groups the safest environment possible in our 4 locations -

  • Plexiglas shields in front of the registers at each visitor center
  • Redirected traffic flow at each visitor center
  • Face coverings required for all JTNPA staff
  • Face coverings required for all visitors at Joshua Tree Visitor Center; requested at other visitor centers
  • Social distancing indicators at each visitor center
  • Self-service membership stations at each visitor center
  • Indoor restrooms designated as staff use only
  • Increased cleaning and sanitization schedules at each visitor center
  • Increased airflow at each visitor center
  • Hand sanitizer available to all visitors at the entrance to each visitor center
  • Hand sanitizing and hand washing mandatory for all staff throughout each shift
  • Limited number of visitors admitted to each visitor center at a time
  • Touchless, self-service transaction options at each visitor center
  • Downloadable maps available at the JTNPA website
  • Individual styluses issued to each staff person for credit card transactions
  • Individual laser pointers issued to each staff person for outlining trails on maps
  • Limited handling of merchandise at each visitor center
  • Staff provided with training on COVID-19 symptoms and self-assessment, hand washing, cleaning guidelines, methods of transmission, proper PPE usage, and reporting requirements
  • Staff mandated to stay home when ill
  • Rotating duties for staff to limit continual interactions with visitors
  • Telework options as appropriate for staff
  • Warehouse and office redesign to enable social distancing in common areas

Bring Plenty of Water

It is very important that visitors bring plenty of water with them into the park even if the weather is cold outside. The high desert portion of the park can experience extremely dry air that can lead to dehydration. The sweltering summer months can be quite humid in addition to blistering hot. It is difficult to find shade once in the park. Staying hydrated will help keep your experience safe.

Replenish Energy with Food

Hiking in Joshua Tree National Park is a wonderful experience. However, some hikes can be quite extreme. Elevation gains of several thousand feet (hundreds of meters) are not uncommon. It is important to keep track of your caloric intake on these extreme hikes. Salty foods can also help keeping your body's electrolytes in check. So be sure to bring plenty of food.

Sun Damage

The ultraviolet rays of the sun have damaging effects on the body's skin. Although there are plenty of trees, one might discover very little shade available. A wide brimmed hat, sunglasses, and long sleeve shirts may help protect from prolonged sun exposure.

Wild Animals

There are a variety of animals that roam, crawl, and slither throughout Joshua Tree National Park. If you encounter an animal, your best option is to leave them alone, never touch them, and give them space. Animals that encounter humans regularly may potentially become aggressive over time. Be sure to read up on the appropriate methods to best avoid the wild animals of the park.

When It Rains, It Pours

Flash flooding is a common occurrence in the desert due to sparse vegetation and soil that doesn't absorb the rain as quickly as it falls. Floods may look mild, but have enough power to destroy roadways and flip over vehicles. If you see moving water, turn around and wait it out.

Stay Warm

Although the winter is an ideal time to visit Joshua Tree National Park, it can get relatively cold. Snow, hail, and below freezing weather are not uncommon even if the area is known for the heat during the summer. Be sure to bring plenty of layers to be prepared.