Mojave Desert Beauties, Part 2: Joshua Tree National Park

By Rachel Puryear

The Mojave Desert in Southern California is a harsh place to live – but boy, does it have some amazing beauty that makes it well worth the visit.

Here are gorgeous places to check out within the park. Be sure to also see the previous post on Death Valley National Park, which is also within the Mojave Desert:

Throughout the park, you will find haunting landscapes with Joshua trees, and a diverse array of hardy yet beautiful desert plant life. Different times of day will offer new color schemes as the sun moves, and the reflections change.

Joshua Tree National Park, landscape filled with Joshua trees. By Cedric Letsch.

Want to get away from big crowds? Head down to Cottonwood Springs, near Indio, CA. It’s a less traveled part of the park, yet just as worthy of visiting. You can climb rocky trails and see awesome vistas, plus an abandoned mine shaft. You can also easily get to a small oasis in the area, with impressively huge palm trees.

Joshua Tree National Park, fan palm oasis in Cottonwood Springs area.

The park offers several lookout points, with 360° views that will give you a whole new perspective.

Joshua Tree National Park, vista point. By Ronan Furuta.

Of course, as with many desert skies, the park offers terrific views of the cosmos in its night sky. If you’re camping or boondocking here overnight, be sure to get out and look outside after dark.

Joshua Tree National Park, desert night sky with shooting stars, and silhouettes of Joshua trees.

See here for more about visiting the amazing Joshua Tree National Park.

When visiting a desert climate, it’s important to be well-prepared. With a little planning and bringing the right equipment and supplies with you, you’ll help have more time to enjoy the sights and relax.

Accordingly, here are some recommended items to pack with you. Please note that we at Free Range Life are Amazon affiliates and therefore earn a small commission from your purchases made through these links – this helps support the blog you love, so we thank you in advance for considering the linked products!

  • A full canteen – be sure to drink plenty of water in a dry climate!
  • A good hat that covers your face and neck. Your clothes should also cover your skin (but be lightweight if it’s warm), to protect you from excessive sun exposure. Don’t forget sunscreen and sunglasses, too.
  • First aid kit – desert vistas can be remote, so if something happens, you want to be prepared until you can get further help.
  • Portable shade – a pop-up umbrella can help you sit outside and enjoy the outdoors, while giving you protection from the sun.
  • Headlamp – if you’re camping in the desert, it will be dark at night. These can help you find your way around – yet thanks to the green and red lighting options, you won’t compromise the beautiful night sky views!

Thank you, dear readers, for reading, following, and sharing. Here’s to great national parks. If you enjoyed this content and want to see more of it, please hit “like” and subscribe, if you have not done so already. xoxo

Check out my other blog, too – Free Range Life, at It’s about road trips, parks and cool places to see, van and RV life, making money remotely, and improving financial independence so you can do more of what you want in life.

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