Joshua Tree National Park – California
Joshua Tree covers a stunning 800,000 acres in both the Colorado and Mojave Deserts. It’s long been visited by intrepid travelers who pilgrimage out to scramble its towering boulders and hike deep into its blazing desert sunsets.
Within the boundaries of eastern California’s Joshua Tree National Park, the Sonoran and Mojave deserts meet. In the higher Mojave portion of the national park, a forest of the strange Joshua Trees and a number of unique rock formations called Inselbergs are protected. In the lower Colorado portion, the Pinto Basin exhibits the typical plants of this hotter Sonoran Desert.
Many newcomers among the 1.3 million visitors who pass through each year are surprised by the abrupt transition between the Colorado and Mojave ecosystems. Above 3,000 feet, the Mojave section claims the park’s western half, where giant branching yuccas thrive on sandy plains studded by massive granite monoliths and rock piles. These are among the most intriguing and photogenic geological phenomena found in California’s many desert regions.
For all its harshness, the desert is a land of surprising variety and complexity, a land of extreme fragility. Viewed from the roadside, Joshua Tree National Park only hints at its hidden vitality. To the close observer, however, a tiny flower bud or the lizard’s frantic dash reveals this desert park as a place of beauty and life.
This is a fantastic national park, with lots to see and do. The desert landscape is diverse and interesting, and Joshua Tree is a good showcase of just how varied and awe-inspiring the desert can be. From joshua trees, to cholla cacti, to boulders and rocks and palm trees, this park offers much more than what you’d imagine a desert would have. It’s so much more than one’s image of a cartoon desert with cacti and tumbleweed.
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