Nowhere else in the world will you find the namesake of Joshua Tree Park. Literally, nowhere. Only this sundrenched and sprawling stretch of nearly 800,000 desert acres in can sustain the specific environment required for the “Joshua” to survive. It is said to be a combination of extreme heat and just the right elevation that give birth to these distinct trees with tasseled arms outstretched like the legendary biblical leader.
Situated in southeast California under unblocked sky and shared by the Mojave and the Colorado, Joshua Tree Park has stood for centuries as a pass-through for wealth-seekers, a fruitful pasture for ranchers and a bucket-list destination for adventurers and climbers. Come along as we dive into all that Joshua Tree Park has to offer. Be sure to bring your sunscreen!
History and evolution in Joshua Tree Park
The tale of Joshua Tree Park as mankind knows it begins with the Mormons, who stumbled upon the clusters of fruit-bearing yucca brevifolia (the Joshua is actually a member of the lily family) on their way across the Mojave. To them, the “trees” pose like Joshua pointing the Israelites westward.
When the Mormons moved on, they made way for gold-hungry 49ers, most of whom left promptly after hitting rich or striking out. Those who remained settled and became ranchers. Visitors to Joshua Tree Park can explore the ruins they left behind by hiking to fascinating spots such as Wonderland Ranch, Wall Street Mill and Skull Rock. Or if rancher remains don’t cut it, you can opt for a walk to the Oasis of Mara, where a year-round trickle attracts an array of bird species, including the speedy (but not as noisy as the cartoons depict) roadrunner.
Its bare rock hills have gently eroded over the course of eons, making them appear seemingly old and experienced as time itself, yet the golden monoliths of Joshua Tree Park will continue to attract appreciators so long as their faces have ridges to grab hold of. Once a barren wasteland that provided little but an avenue to the coast and safe pasture, Joshua Tree Park is now a world-renowned climbing destination, offering itself up as a complex obstacle for beginners and veterans alike. If you crave a challenge or seek to uncover a piece of the old west, you’ll find it by venturing to Joshua Tree Park.