Avoid People, Enjoy The Great Outdoors? Joshua Tree National Park Bracing For Crowds

Winter holidays and the spring months are the busiest times of the year at Joshua Tree National Park. Crowded conditions create limited parking, full campgrounds, and lines at park entrances.

The three best ways to prepare for your visit to Joshua Tree National Park are:

  • Buy a digital pass ahead of time by logging onto www.recreation.gov.This pass will make entry to the park quicker and easier.
  • Avoid entering the park between 10 am and 2 pm and avoid exiting the park around sunset.
  • The most crowded days in the park will likely be the day of and around Christmas, New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, and Presidents’ Day. Every weekend in the spring is also extremely congested. Skip these days for a more relaxing visit.


Other tips to prepare for your park visit:

  • The park may become drive-through only as the parking lots reach maximum capacity during times of extreme visitation. Visitors may be turned away from popular parking areas.
  • Be flexible with plans. The best hike may be the one where parking is readily available.
  • Visitors can park along many, but not all, roadsides. Never drive over a curb to make a new parking space.
  • Weekdays are usually less crowded than weekends—consider visiting the park Monday through Thursday.
  • Make a reservation at www.recreation.gov to reserve one of the 350 reservable campsites in the park. If there are no reservation sites available, there likely will not be first-come, first-served sites available when you arrive. Look to one of the private campgrounds adjacent to the park.
  • Many campgrounds intersect with hiking trails. Campers can hike trails that connect to their campground to avoid busy parking lots.
  • Find a new favorite spot to explore in the park. There is no one best campsite, trail, or sunset spot.


Thank you all for your continued stewardship and love of Joshua Tree National Park.



FILE – In this Jan. 10, 2019, file photo, a car drives along the road at Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California’s Mojave Desert. National parks across the United States are scrambling to clean up and repair damage that visitors and storms caused during the recent government shutdown while bracing for the possibility of another closure ahead of the busy Presidents Day weekend later this month. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)


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