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The intriguing beauty of Joshua Tree National Park

  • Nov 2, 2016

In the southeastern deserts of California is an expansive area that ranges from arid, sandy plains to rugged mountain outcrops. Joshua Tree National Park is found in this region, and at nearly 800,000 acres, the park is slightly larger then the state of Rhode Island. The U.S. National Park Services reported that half of this space is designated wilderness area.

Joshua Tree offers visitors all sorts of landscapes to explore and a number of ways to enjoy this unique region. Here's what you need to know about this fantastic area:

Outdoor adventures
Though the park straddles some of the country's most forbidding deserts, there is plenty for visitors to enjoy. Pack a bag, grab your Pro Trek PRG600YB-3 triple sensor watch and get going.

Camping is one of the best ways to fully enjoy the spirit of the desert. The park is home to nine established campgrounds. Some may require a reservation, though others can be booked the day of. There are also areas for backcountry camping, meaning adventurers of all types can comfortably spend a night or two at Joshua Tree.

Hiking is another common way to see the area, and there are many miles of trails. These keep visitors safe from the more dangerous threats the desert may hold, and because survival in this region can be so difficult, it is best to stick to preapproved areas. This shouldn't be a problem, as some of the most traveled trails are also among the most spectacular. Explore intimate valleys and summit unforgettable outlooks as you navigate this fantastic landscape.

There are also many opportunities for both rock climbing and bouldering at Joshua Tree. The uneven landscape and interesting geologic features make for many different challenging rock faces and other features. Because it has a mild climate even in the middle of winter, the park also services outdoor adventurers year-round. As a result, Mountain Project stated that Joshua Tree National Park is among the best locations in the world for rock climbing.

Wonderful wildlife
The park is named after the Joshua tree, also known as a yucca palm. These spiny plants have imposing bark and sharp leaves. This makes them well-suited to a harsh desert environment and these trees dominate the land. Cacti and other species are found throughout the park as well.

Despite the conditions, there are many species of animals that call Joshua Tree home. Visitors may see a number of different snakes, birds and rodents, including the golden eagle or the famous roadrunner. 

Larger mammals can be found in the park in surprising abundance. Mule deer roam the land, while javelina, a species of pig, and the desert bighorn sheep are also native to the area. Predators such as the black bear and puma also stalk the hills, along with the desert bobcat.

In any outdoor adventure, it is best to exercise caution in any animal encounter and to treat each creature with respect. When camping, be sure to take steps to keep food and other items secure to minimize the risk of a dangerous situation.

Unrivaled stargazing 
The crisp night sky is rarely cloudy in Joshua Tree, and as a result, there are opportunities for unrivaled stargazing. Although the park is just a few hours from Los Angeles, one of the largest cities in the country, the area is devoid of any light pollution that would otherwise diminish the scenery.

Each year, the Night Sky Festival invites visitors to turn off their lights and enjoy the spectacular display of natural beauty. Throughout the year, however, Joshua Tree still hosts some of the best stargazing in the country.

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