Most visitor centers and the Desert Institute will be closed for the duration of the government shutdown. The Joshua Tree Visitor Center is open.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.