AAA Travel Tips / Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

By AAA Travel Editors
December 16, 2021
AAA/Inspector 76

Joshua Tree National Park

Twentynine Palms, California
The Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert, two dissimilar desert ecosystems, merge in Southern California’s Joshua Tree National Park. With elevations from 536 feet on the desert floor to 5,814 feet at Quail Mountain, the park’s nearly 800,000 acres provide habitat for 813 higher plant species, 46 reptile species, 57 mammal species and more than 250 bird species.
Petroglyphs and pictographs from Native American groups who lived in the region can be found among the rocks, along with remnants of ranches and mines. The Barker Dam Loop is a popular hike leading to a small reservoir (which tends to disappear in the dry season).
Now about that name. The story goes that Mormon settlers traveling through the Mojave Desert thought the Yucca brevifolia, with its branches pointing skyward, resembled the biblical character Joshua with his pleading hands raised in prayer. The Mormons were not listening to U2’s album “The Joshua Tree” when they first spotted the ubiquitous plant. (Rumor has it that the tree pictured on U2’s famous album cover was located 200 miles from Joshua Tree National Park.)

Start Your Next Vacation with AAA

AAA Travel provides peace of mind when you travel — before, during and after your vacation! Members enjoy the advantages of membership including exclusive benefits, map routing, savings with the AAA Discounts & Rewards® program as well as recommendations for AAA Diamond-designated hotels and restaurants across the U.S. and Canada. Let AAA provide the rest of your travel needs with AAA Travel Guides, TourBooks®, access to travel agents and counselors and travel insurance. Your next vacation starts with AAA — your complete travel solution. Visit