Joshua Tree NP


(updated Thr., Mar 15, 2018)

On several of our visits to Palm Desert / Palm Springs, we have visited Joshua Tree National Park.  The park is named for the trees that only grows in this part of the country... the Mormons named the tree for the prophet because they thought it looked like he was stretching his arms out, encouraging them to cross the Colorado river and continue westward.  You can learn more about them in this article on the NPS / National Park Service site.

JOTR is one of the largest in the National Park system, 15th largest overall and 8th largest outside Alaska: .

As the Post-Dispatch’s Travel Section article shares, “Franklin Roosevelt made Joshua Tree a national monument in 1936, and Bill Clinton elevated it to a national park in 1994.”

We typically drive west on I-10, to the Cottonwood entrance, and drive NE to one of the two northern park entrances.

This route takes us through the turkey flats, a runoff extension of Pinto Mountain...

... and to the cholla (choy-a) cacti garden.

Joshua spans two of the North America’s four deserts, the Mojave and the Sonoran (the other two are the Grand Basin (Nevada, Utah, and several other states), and the Chihuahuan (Mexico, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona).

Our earlier trips were in September, by which time almost any colorful flowers were long gone.  With our spring trips, we came to see how colorful a desert can really be.

It was on our first spring trip that I realized our
12-megapixel camera had much better photo
quality than our print film... and that replacing
the camera, if we broke it, would cost less than
developing all the film we had.  So we switched...
and took 10,000+ pictures on that Kodak camera
and 10,000 on each of its two Kodak replacements. 
From ~ 3 feet away, the camera showed the
hairs on the bug’s legs!

A flowering ocotillo (oka-tee-yo)

Once you rise from the Colorado to the Mojave, you’ll reach Jumbo Rocks, which are made of granite... just like Johnson’s Shut-ins and many other places in Missouri.

This page shares a video of our best understanding how these rocks were formed:

We captured these photos of Jumbo Rocks in April, 2008:

We captured these photos of Jumbo Rocks in November, 2011:

This is one of the Jumbo Rocks, which we think looks like the bottom of someone’s foot:


And this one, while clearly not of the same caliber, was inspired by Ansel Adams’ photos, especially those when he developed his black and white prints so that the sky was black.

We “discovered” this view on our first visit and have seen it on other visits.

To us, it looks like the frog from Frogger, jumping toward the sky... left arm raised toward the upper left and legs extended from a big jump to get over this hill.  So we named it “Frogger Hill.”

Some additional photos...