One of the most distinctive national parks in the US is Joshua Tree National Park, which is situated in southern California. It is a must-visit desert location.
Fields of distinctive Joshua Trees, magnificent and enormous rock formations, an incredible night sky, and all the desert views you could want can be found in Joshua Tree National Park.
Depending on what you’re searching for, there are better times to visit Joshua Tree National Park. Want comfortable weather suitable for rock climbing or hiking?
Were you considering your first visit to Joshua Tree? You may have a few extra days traveling through southeast California.
Whatever your motivation for traveling, you might have concerns about maximizing your adventure.
Although Joshua Tree is stunning year-round, there are advantages and drawbacks to visiting at different times of the year.
Continue reading to know the best months to go to Joshua Tree.
1. Best Time To Go To Joshua Tree
This national park may be more than just a place to observe the famous name-bearing tree.
One of the most incredible places to explore the distinctive high-altitude desert is the Joshua Tree, which is home to spiky Joshua trees in addition to volcanic rock formations, dusty paths, several types of cacti, bristly groundcover, and networks of juniper.
These traditional western trees dot the sandy plain of this national park, providing shelter and a haven for tiny desert reptiles and insects.
Also, Joshua Trees produce spindly leaves that can make clothes and baskets.
Wildfires, soaring temperatures, and changes in air quality have killed millions of trees in recent years, raising concerns about the future of Joshua trees.
If you are thinking about seeing these noble trees, you will have the opportunity to watch this tough plant struggle to survive in the harsh desert environment.
The smaller, more resourceful seedlings, which may represent the species’ best chance of survival in the future, have started to emerge on the park’s higher-elevation mountains.
A growing number of visitors to Joshua Tree National Park support the famous tree by going there and treating the fauna with care.
After a gradual increase over the previous ten years, this park’s yearly attendance reached 3 million people for the first time in 2021.
You can join in on this surge of interest in the picturesque desert, where many wide-open places fill every visitor with amazement and wonder.
But you won’t go to Joshua Tree to admire the scenery from a distance.
Without worrying about inflicting harm or altering the environment, there are many chances to use and engage with the natural landscape.
Although you should be careful around Joshua trees and cacti, even the most ardent climbers can resist the enormous rocks.
Hikes through trails, rock climbing, and mountain walks are all options for adventurous visitors.
Travelers who are more contemplative might appreciate looking for locations for sunrise and sunset, animal viewing, taking in cactus gardens, and stargazing.
Although the unique desert trees may draw you to this park, plenty of other attractions will tempt you to remain.
2. Overall Best Time to Visit Joshua Tree
You can enjoy long days of activity during the gentler spring and autumn months when the temperature typically stays between the 70s and 80s during the day and drops peacefully into the 40s and 50s at night.
The ideal months for a dry trip are spring and fall, with barely one-half inch of precipitation occurring during these two seasons, even if the danger of rain is never a severe problem in this region.
Spring’s regrowth can provide views of in-season flowers, soaring birds, and possibly even blooming cacti.
Even though these are some of the busiest times to visit Joshua Tree, braving the crowds to see the park at these crucial periods of the year can be well worth it.
You may be sure that you will be able to find quiet regions within the vast desert terrain, though, as the park as a whole span close to 800,000 acres.
You have a few airports within a 3-hour drive if finding flights during busy seasons proves challenging.
The closest airport to Joshua Tree is in Palm Springs, which is slightly more than an hour away.
In the park, the wildflower season typically begins at lower elevations in February and at higher elevations in March and April.
Numerous tourists go to the blooms to admire their beauty. Plants that bloom as late as June may be found in areas above 5,000 feet.
Of course, the weather will ultimately determine when the wildflowers bloom.
An online wildflower report lets you see what is blooming and where it is, updated by park employees and volunteers.
Making a reservation well in advance is advised if you’re considering camping because many spots fill up quickly.
The availability of the campsites varies; some require reservations, while others are first-come, first-served.
The park sees fewer tourists during the hottest portion of the year, but it’s still vital to take measures against the sweltering heat.
These include packing lots of water, dressing appropriately, and avoiding vigorous activities when it’s hot outside.
Many travelers avoid the heat, and several campgrounds close in the summer.
Visitors are attracted by good weather because they can more easily enjoy the park in temperatures between the mid-80s during the day and the 50s at night.
Winter brings significantly colder days with lows of around 60 degrees and freezing nights. In some cases, snow will fall at higher altitudes.
3. Best Season to Visit Joshua Tree National Park
Irrespective of what you’re seeking, there isn’t an ideal opportunity to travel to Joshua Tree National Park.
Want comfortable weather suitable for rock climbing or hiking?
Visit the park in the late fall (October or November), when the park is illuminated by gentle autumn light, or in the early spring (March or April) when desert wildflowers blossom.
Searching for a campsite at one of the top campgrounds while avoiding the crowds? Consider a winter trip.
Want to experience the warm nighttime temperatures while admiring the famously starry skies of Joshua Tree?
The best season is summer. But no matter when you go, you’ll never forget the Joshua trees and the enormous rock formations.
3.1. Spring in Joshua Tree National Park
One of the greatest experiences of visiting Joshua Tree National Park is in the early spring.
Daytime highs are moderate, and evening lows are brisk. Stunning wildflowers are another springtime highlight.
The ideal times to visit Joshua Tree if you prefer hiking and rock climbing are in March, April, and early May.
The crowds are the only drawback.
The crowds aren’t too awful if you go during the week, but they can get crowded on weekends, particularly during school breaks and public holidays like Easter.
Additionally, there is a significant increase in visitors during the nearby Joshua Tree Music Festival, which takes place in the spring.
Although finding a campsite inside the park in the spring can be challenging, there are some excellent campgrounds close by.
3.2. Summer in Joshua Tree National Park
Summer is the least-liked season in Joshua Tree because of the high daytime temperatures.
Daytime highs in June, July, and August can approach 100 °F (38 °C), as this is a desert region.
Outdoor activities like rock climbing and trekking become dangerous and uncomfortable. Heat stroke becomes more likely as the temperature rises.
Limiting physical activity throughout the summer to the early morning or late afternoon is advisable.
Large amounts of water should be drunk. Consequently, why visit Joshua Tree in the summer?
The absence of crowds is one notable thing.
The summer months are significantly easier for finding great camping, even on the weekends. Summertime is a great time to go stargazing.
3.3. Fall in Joshua Tree National Park
Another fantastic time to visit Joshua Tree National Park is in the late fall.
September continues to be a scorching month, but October marks the beginning of a cooling trend.
Photographers will adore how the autumn’s golden light accentuates the natural rock formations.
October and November are two of the best times to visit Joshua Tree.
The weather is pleasant, and fewer people are around than in the spring.
Outside the park, there are several fantastic events to attend, such as Bhakti Fest and the Joshua Tree Music Festival in the fall.
3.4. Winter in Joshua Tree National Park
Wintertime visitors to Joshua Tree National Park are few and far between due to the chilly weather.
However, December, January, and February have recently increased in popularity.
Rock climbers, who flock to Joshua Tree while popular summer vacation spots like Yosemite are blanketed with snow, are primarily responsible for this.
Snow does fall in Joshua Tree occasionally, though. Enjoy the beautiful scenery if you’re lucky enough to visit during a snowstorm!
4. Cheapest Time to Visit Joshua Tree
September through November offer the best discounts for trips to Joshua Tree.
Between the scorching heat of the summer and the cold of the winter are the most reasonably priced times of year to visit Joshua Tree.
This time of year offers comfortable temperatures that range from the 70s to the 80s during the day and from the 60s to the 40s at night.
The number of visitors also slightly decreases during this season as the weather gets colder.
Camping inside a park is another method to save money at this time of year.
Even if there is a modest price, you will avoid paying for hotels and gas for back-and-forth travel.
Due to the pleasant daytime and nighttime temperatures, this is the best time to go camping.
Camping is still delightful in these chilly conditions, though you may need to pack more warmth as you move into the fall season.
Due to the angled sunlight, Autumn’s clear skies can produce beautiful views of the mountains and landscapes.
5. Least Busy Time to Visit Joshua Tree
There won’t be as many people at Joshua Tree in the cooler months of November through February.
Despite what you may believe, given the desert’s sunny climate, this national park occasionally has wintertime lows below freezing.
Temperatures can vary during these iciest months between the mid-30s and low-60s.
Snow along the mountains is not common, but it is a breathtakingly beautiful sight when it does happen.
If visitors go to Joshua Tree in the winter, they will enjoy the sun’s warmth.
A journey through the rocky sites can still provide just as much beauty and awe as in the warmer months of the year, with a few more garments and possibly a thermos of hot coffee.
Rock climbing is one winter activity that is becoming more and more popular in the slower winter months.
Climbers who might not be able to climb in more snowy places may find Joshua Tree a more attractive alternative due to the lower threat of snow throughout the winter.
With just over 250,000 visitors each in December and February, you may anticipate fewer crowds overall throughout these months.
6. Worst Time to Visit Joshua Tree
The worst months to visit Joshua Tree are June through August because of dangerously high daytime temperatures.
The desert can get as hot as 100 degrees during the summertime.
The dangers of heat exhaustion, dehydration, and sun exposure can quickly become life-threatening for tourists in the Summer when the average temperature ranges from the low to mid-80s.
Due to the absence of shade or water fountains around the park, the intense heat can be particularly deadly.
If you are courageous enough to venture into the park on these sweltering days.
If you are courageous enough to venture into the park on these sweltering days, Summer is the minor regular season for visitors because of these weather issues.
Despite the risks, most sites are open, so there are a few compelling reasons to consider traveling during these months.
You can take pleasure in touring the park after sunset, when the temperature is charming, in the 60s, if you avoid the heat of the day.
Since the gates to Joshua Tree are always open, you can visit the park for free after regular business hours if you like to explore at night.
Visiting Joshua Tree in the summer might be an enticing alternative if you take advantage of the warm nights and fewer visitors.
Additionally, exploring the deserted park at night may enable you to see more wildlife when it’s awake.
7. 10 Things to do in Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree, one of the most famous locations in the American West, provides tourists with various experiences, including peaceful desert sunsets, hiking trails, saloon dining, and horseback riding.
Your journey to Joshua Tree will undoubtedly be one to remember, regardless of whether you’re a devoted fan of U2, an outdoor enthusiast, or a tourist who has never been to the desert.
Below is the list of the best things to do in Joshua Tree National Park.
7.1. Jumbo Rocks
At Jumbo Rocks, a sea of enormous boulders is waiting to be explored.
You have two options for traveling through this Joshua Tree National Park area: independently or on one of the trails that pass through it.
The rock climbing and photography opportunities at these boulder clusters are fantastic.
There are names for some of the iconic boulder formations in this area.
Joshua Tree’s night sky is ideal for stargazing. The desert offers a night sky that is so clear that it is easy to identify constellations because it is far from hazy Los Angeles.
Beautiful nighttime views are available to those staying in or camping at Joshua Tree National Park.
For information on the best places to stay in Joshua Tree, consult McKenna’s guide.
Visitors can see the Milky Way while stargazing in Joshua Tree, which is an unforgettable experience.
7.3. Rock Climbing
Climbers come to Joshua Tree from around the world to have fun and test their limits.
You can climb highlining, bouldering, and slacklining inside the national park.
The park offers over 8,000 different climbing routes and 2,000 bouldering challenges.
Novices and experienced climbers can sign up for one of the many rock-climbing classes.
7.4. Forty-nine Palms Oasis Trail
Finding a green oasis in the middle of the desert is pleasant, and this walk shouldn’t be missed.
This trek is cost-free because the Forty-nine Palms Oasis Trail’s trailhead is located outside the park’s entrance.
Just over three miles long, this trail presents some difficulties. While hiking the trek, you’ll get panoramic views of the valley and symmetrical rock formations.
Tall, shaggy palm trees that seem a little out of place will greet you as you get closer to the oasis.
Watch out for toads and other animals searching for water at the oasis.
7.5. Arch Rock
The crown jewel of the Jumbo Rocks, Arch Rock, is one of the most well-known sights in Joshua Tree National Park.
As its name suggests, this 30-foot-wide natural feature is shaped like a gigantic arch.
Numerous additional strange formations along the short, relatively easy walk get you to the arch.
The entire family can fit underneath for a fun vacation shot!
7.6. Joshua Tree Music Festival
Consider attending the Joshua Tree Music Festival if you enjoy desert-themed music festivals.
This event, held in May and October, provides much more than live music.
While you’re there, take a yoga session, a sound bath, a workshop on mindfulness, or a songwriting class.
Creatives and music lovers can gather and unwind in the desert at the Joshua Tree Music Festival, a special occasion.
Thanks to the wide range of musicians and performers, there is something enjoyable for everyone; you might even discover a new favorite band!
While it is possible to tour Joshua Tree on foot, some people do it while riding in a vehicle.
The national park has many dirt roads accessible to substantial mountain bikes and four-wheel drive cars.
Drive through Covington Flat to see some of the giant Joshua Trees in the park or take on the arduous 20-mile Pinkham Canyon Road.
On wheels rather than on foot, you can explore more of the park and take in more desert scenery!
7.8. Cholla Cactus Garden
Cholla cactus can be found in the desert, but Joshua trees usually take center stage at this national park.
Teddybear cholla cacti organically dominate the landscape in the Cholla Cactus Garden.
About a quarter mile in length, the Cholla Cactus Garden trail is perfect for families with young children.
Additionally, the garden is home to wildflowers and scented creosote bushes, which bring color to the desert in the springtime.
7.9. Horseback Riding
Visitors can ride horses in the Mojave Desert at Knob Hill Ranch, just west of Joshua Tree National Park.
The ranch is open to everyone, even those who have never ridden a horse before, for guided excursions.
Knob Hill Ranch invites visitors to warm up on their horses in pens and provides instructions to ensure that you are at ease when riding.
Once you’re at ease, ride into Joshua Tree to see the vistas of the mountains and desert!
7.10. Desert Hot Springs
Desert Hot Springs, just west of Joshua Tree, is home to underground hot springs that surge and create pools.
This is the place to go if you’re seeking somewhere to relax and recharge.
There are lots of resort and spa properties close by where you can unwind and relax.
People go to this city to soak in the therapeutic waters of natural mineral springs.
The eight mineral pools of Mineral Springs Resort & Spa, each accessible twenty-four hours a day and with varying temperatures, are available to visitors.
8. Final Words
The seasons of spring and fall are ideal for visiting Joshua Tree.
The most favorable daytime hours can be spent here in the spring and fall. These pleasant temperatures could, however, result in larger crowds.
You may expect to encounter recognizable trees amid plains, mountains, and the rare oasis everywhere.
This dessert is filled with rampant life, including lizards, insects, snakes, and wildlife, which can be found among the hardy cacti. There are no dull areas in this desert.
You will be almost ready to embark on your journey once you have decided which crowds, lodging, weather, and common activities you prefer. Only remember to bring your hiking boots!