Joshua Tree National Park

landscape photo of Joshua Tree National Park

Caroline and I made it to Joshua Tree National Park late one evening, just as the sun was setting. We’d driven hours to get there (we’d been in Phoenix the night before) and were exhausted from being in the van for so long. One of our motivations for going there though was that the scenery is just incredible for taking pictures. We arrived just in time to snap a few using the Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Digital Camera and the Fujinon XF16mmF1.4 R WR. More about the photography gear we use HERE.

General Info for Joshua Tree National Park

This park is located

Visitor Centers

There are three Visitor Centers in the park and one Nature Center.

Joshua Tree Visitor Center

This one is located in the northwest corner of the park, near Yucca Valley.

Hours: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Phone: 760-366-1855
Address: 6554 Park Boulevard, Joshua Tree, CA 92256

The Oasis Visitor Center

This visitor center is located in Twentynine Palms.

Hours: 8:30 am to 5:00 pm
Phone: 760-367-5500
Address: 74485 National Park Drive, Twentynine Palms, CA 92277

The Cottonwood Visitor Center

This visitor center is located in the southern section of the park.

Open: 8:30 am to 4:00 pm
Location: Cottonwood Spring

Black Rock Nature Center

Open: October through May
Hours: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm except for Fridays.
Fridays: 8:00 am to 8:00 pm
Phone: 760-367-3001
Address: 9800 Black Rock Canyon Road, Yucca Valley, CA 92284


Pets are not allowed on the trails. They must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet long.

Drones are not allowed.

Joshua Tree National Park Contact Info


Park Website

Best Things to Do in Joshua Tree National Park

Visit the Cholla Cactus Garden

The garden is located about 12 miles south of the park’s north entrance. There’s a trail there which I’ve hiked before that is only a quarter mile long. We didn’t have the time for it on this excursion but it’s worth the trip. Wear shoes, not open toed sandals and be sure to stay on the path.

Joshua Tree Sunset
The pink colors are incredible. I shot this at ISO 800, f/4.0 and at 1/125.
Taking photos in Joshua Tree National Park at sunset.
Here’s Caroline getting a shot at sunset also using the Fuji X-T2 and the 16mm lens.

Explore the Jumbo Rocks area

There are some really stunning places in Joshua Tree, but one of our favorite places to hike and explore is the Jumbo Rocks area. Like the name suggests, there are some really incredible formations that almost seem to play tricks on your eyes. If you love to take photographs, this is a must-see and do part of the park.

landscape photo of Joshua Tree National Park
Gorgeous pink light on the rocks in Joshua Tree.
Sunrise in Joshua Tree National Park
Can you see the tiny people up on the rock?

Best Places to Stay in Joshua Tree National Park

After we took these shots darkness started to settle in and we found ourselves looking for a spot to camp. Unfortunately all of the campsites in the park were booked. Who knew it would be packed in the winter?! We certainly had no idea that it would be but it was Veterans Day weekend and lots of other people had the same idea we did. It wasn’t that big of a deal to drive out of the park (we actually ended up getting permission to stay in the parking lot of the Motel 6 in Twenty Nine Palms) but we had to get up super early to catch first light (4:15 am).

Don’t do what we did in this case. Book a campsite ahead of time.

the moon on rocks in Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park at first light.

Top Tips For Visiting Joshua Tree National Park

Carry a detailed, topographic with you as well as a compass if you are going hiking or camping in the backcountry.

In addition to carrying the proper navigational tools, also be sure to bring enough water with you.

If you plan on camping, be sure to get a campsite ahead of time.

Cell Phone Service and Wifi in Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree National Park Recap

Like this? Check out our 20 gift ideas for under $50 for the van life adventurer or traveler in your life.

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Joshua Tree National Park Recap

Have you been to Joshua Tree National Park before? If so, what did you think?

Thanks for following along on our journey! We’re currently living and traveling in our Dodge Ram Promaster City Wayfarer Van and would love to have you follow along on our journey.

Recent national park visits:

Yellowstone National Park

Devils Tower National Monument

Mount Rushmore

Badlands National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Published by Erin McGrady

Erin McGrady is a filmmaker, photographer, and writer exploring Asheville and beyond. My work focuses on sharing about LGBTQ safe spaces, camper van life, and the outdoors.

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