Joshua Tree National Park is located in southeastern California. Declared a U.S. National Park in 1994 when the U.S. Congress passed the California Desert Protection Act, it had previously been a U.S. National Monument since 1936. It is named for the Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia) native to the park. It covers a land area of 790,636 acres– an area slightly larger than the state of Rhode Island. A large part of the park, some 429,690 acres, is a designated wilderness area.
Viewed from the road, this desert park only hints at its vitality. Closer examination reveals a fascinating variety of plants and animals that make their home in this land shaped by strong winds, unpredictable torrents of rain, and climatic extremes. Dark night skies, a rich cultural history, and surreal geologic features add to the attraction of this place.
Joshua Tree National Park Panorama of the view south from the popular Keys View in the Little San Bernardino Mountains, Joshua Tree National Park, California. Visible landmarks are the Salton Sea (230 ft or 70 m below sea level) at rear left, along towards the center the Santa Rosa Mountains behind Indio and the San Jacinto Mountains behind Palm Springs. In the valley floor, the San Andreas Fault is clearly visible. At the rear right is the 11,500 ft (3,500 m) San Gorgonio Mountain.