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  • Lindsey Johnston

Joshua Tree: Know before you go

Updated: Sep 24, 2018

Some tips and tricks to help you make the most of your time in this magical desert destination.


With my fellow desert adventurer. Featured here: REI sun hat, bandana and sun shirt, and Under Armour quick dry shirt.

I did some research before I went on this trip, but it was also a learning experience since this was my first time going to Joshua Tree. Here are some tips to help make your trip extra enjoyable:

Stop by the Visitors' Center: When you get to the park make a pit stop at the visitor's center. Not only can you pick up maps of the park and some pretty cool t-shirts, but the super knowledgable park rangers will give you advice on which trails to hike depending on what you want to see, how long you'll be in the park, and how far you want to hike.

Get a map of the whole park: I didn't do this, but you should. I found out later a lot of the trailheads are connected by roads that aren't marked by the signs you'll see throughout the park. This will also help you better plan out your days before you hike. It is best to hike the park in sections as it is a huge area with lots to see. I used an app called All Trails that gave some good information about different trails in the park, but you can't see what parts of the park they're located in.

Park entrances: There are two entrances to the park. One in Twentynine Palms and one in the town of Joshua Tree. I stayed in Twentynine

Spotty cell service: Most of the park is a dead zone. You can sometimes pick up a couple bars by the campgrounds, but other than that you will have NO CELL SERVICE in the park so plan accordingly.

Water sources: There are no water sources in the park. You will see some small reservoirs, but those are for wildlife only so make sure you have plenty of water with you when you go. It's best to not only have some type of hydration pack, but to also bring bottled water.

Pay attention to trail signs: On some of the trails signage is scarce so pay attention to the signs that are there. In certain areas it's easy to lose track of the trail and you do not want to get lost out there.

Bring a buddy: I almost went on this trip alone, but ended up inviting a friend and am glad I did. Not only is it more fun to share the experience with someone else, but it's also nice to have an extra set of eyes and ears when your out on the trails.


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