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Joshua Tree National Park (7)  


Introduction

Park History

Joshua Trees

Rock Piles

Colorado Desert

Plants of Colorado

Oases

Mojave Desert

Plants of Mojave

Mountains

Keys View

Lost Horse Valley

Quail Springs

West Entrance

Roads

Animals

References


West Entrance

There are two major entrances to Joshua Tree National Park. The southeastern entrance, is reached directly from the Highway 195 exit from Interstate 10, and leads to the Cottonwood Visitor Center in the Colorado Desert section of the park. The northwestern entrance is a bit more difficult to reach, via the Twentynine Palms Highway near the town of Yucca Valley. The west entrance sign is shown below.





Once within the borders of the park from the west entrance the visitor is in the high desert section of the park.



This section features stands of Joshua trees and a number of low mountains and hills.



The road through the area provides views of a number of the unusual rock piles characteristic of the western section of the park.



The Mojave desert at twilight is a memorable sight with the silhouettes of the giant yuccas standing silently across the desert.



Roads

Joshua Tree National Park is largely wilderness, but there are a number of paved and unpaved roads which run through sections of the park. Among the 100 miles of dirt roads is the Geology Tour Road, pictured below. This road provides the visitor with an 18 mile round trip which features many physical and historical features.



The picture above shows a south looking view of the Geology Tour Road. Below is another view looking north across Queen Valley to some mountains. The road here lies at an elevation of about 4000 feet.



In addition to a number of unpaved back roads there are 80 miles of paved roads within the park. A park road runs south from the Oasis Visitor's Center through the Pinto Basin to the south entrance to the park. The picture below shows this road as it descends into the basin with the Eagle Mountains far off in the distance.



The major road through the northwestern section of the park is Park Boulevard. It provides outstanding views of mountains, rockpiles, Joshua trees, and desert vegetation.



Animals

Despite the hot and dry conditions, the desert supports a wide variety of animal life. One desert dweller which can sometimes be spotted is the desert tarantula, pictured below. Although the spider is indisputably fierce looking, it is shy and relatively harmless.



No desert would be complete without lizards, such as the fellow shown below!



This fellow was found near the Keys View observation point.



References

Information about Joshua Tree National Park has been drawn from personal experience, data available in the park itself, and a number of other sources, including:



- First Page for Joshua Tree National Park -

  • All photographs ©Patrick Holleran, Shannon Digital Imaging, 1994-2013

  • Commercial use of the images contained in this document without express written consent is strictly prohibited.

  • Comments and other remarks can be sent via e-mail to parkvision@shannontech.com