The park has three entrances, two along the north and one at its south (picture an upside-down triangle). We entered through its main gate, the West Entrance. The drive took us a little over an hour from Palm Springs to the actual gate.
+ Unlike developed national parks like Yosemite, Joshua Tree does not have any restaurants or shops within its gates, so bring all food supplies with you. There are picnic grounds scattered around the park with tables. We grabbed sandwiches from The Sandwich Spot in Palm Springs and brought them with us.
+ There are restaurants, cafes and shops in the cities just outside each park entrance (Joshua Tree, CA or Indio, CA).
+ Check out the Visitor Center – it’s located near the park’s West Entrance. This is a great place to learn about how this landscape was formed and the type of life that live there. You can also ask one of the employees for advice on your itinerary. We told the staff that we only had a few hours and their advice was perfect for our family. You reach the Visitor’s Center about 15 minutes before you officially enter the park itself.
+ Hike – We chose to walk the Hidden Valley trail, an easy 1-mile loop. The best part is that the kids could climb on EVERYTHING. They loved climbing up all the boulders and had such a great time. See a list of trails here.
+ Climb – we saw rock climbers everywhere. Some bouldered without equipment and others were traditionalists. And, as I just mentioned, my kids favorite activity was scampering up all the boulders and rocks.
+ Camp – we didn’t camp this trip but would love to come back. I can’t imagine how unreal the sunrises and sunsets would be at a place like Joshua Tree. More info about camping can be found here.
Joshua Tree was really magical, you could feel how special and unique it is. We’re hoping our next visit includes camping, followed by a trip with swimming in Palm Springs.