This park protects 800,000 acres of Colorado and Sonoran desert. I love seeing on the park website that from time to time certain areas of the park are closed to public use "due to wildlife activity." Isn't this part of why we have parks? To protect the wildlife?
On the approach to the park from the heavily populated Los Angeles Area, one drives past Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs, from which there are gorgeous views of 10,834-foot Mt. San Jacinto.
During beautiful sunny days of a visit to Joshua Tree National Park in April, with temperatures in the 70s, snow-capped peaks of the San Gabriel Mountains were still visible from a corner of the park and from nearby Yucca Valley.
Visiting the park with a biology professor who specializes in reptiles, leads to identifying numerous lizards, including these:
We even spotted a mini desert tortoise - actually a baby - a miniature of the adult, but only about 3 inches in diameter.
The scenery is spectacular, and the rocks are popular among climbers.
Cactus bloom in the spring, the vibrant color of the blossoms a striking contrast to the forbidding spines of the cacuts.
An early morning walk at the Oasis of Mara - or anywhere else - is a great time for bird watching or photography.
This Gambel's Quail posed and sang for us.
Wildflowers abound when conditions are right.
There are many hiking opportunities including a few that take the visitor to one of several oases in the park - such as the moderate 3-mile round-trip hike to the 49-Palms Oasis.
The hiker is rewarded by a lovely green oasis.