2 Day Itinerary Joshua Tree National Park (2023)

2 Day Itinerary Joshua Tree National Park (1)

If I’ve learned one thing about visiting America’s National Parks, it’s that each park truly offers something unique. California’s Joshua Tree National Park, home to two different desert ecosystems, the Colorado and the Mojave, is no exception. Our recent California trip to visit family gave us the opportunity to explore the park’s roughly 800,000 acres. So what’s special and what’s there to do in Joshua Tree? Experiences at the park span scenic drives, hiking and rock climbing to stargazing, ranger-guided tours at historic Keys Ranch, and unique flora and fauna. Read on to learn about our favorite Joshua Tree hikes, a two day plan for exploring the park, and tips you’ll want to save if you are planning a visit.

*This post contains affiliate links; if you purchase something familyTravelsUSA may receive a small commission. As always, opinions are my own.

Table of Contents
Getting to Joshua Tree National Park
Two Day Itinerary for Joshua Tree
Where to Stay and Eat Around Joshua Tree

Getting to Joshua Tree National Park

The park is located roughly 140 miles east of Los Angeles; if you stay in Palm Springs, home to the closest airport, it’s just under 40 miles to the Joshua Tree Visitor Center. Of the 3 park entrances, the west entrance in Joshua Tree (the town) is the most popular. Be prepared for more traffic on weekends and during the non-summer months, Joshua Tree’s peak season. If you continue heading east on Highway 62 just 15 more miles or so, you will reach Twentynine Palms and the north entrance of the park (more on Twentynine Palms later). The south entrance is an option if you are traveling via Interstate 10, but you’ll spend more time driving within the park, the more open/remote areas, to get to the majority of the popular attractions and hiking areas.

Two-Day Itinerary for Joshua Tree

Our general plan for our 2 days in Joshua Tree focused on short, easy hikes with our route based on entering the park in Twentynine Palms. While rock climbing was not included in our agenda, the park has more than 8,000 climbing routes to keep you busy, and we saw plenty of climbers and boulderers. Several local guides offer various guided climbing adventures for all levels if that’s on your list.

Day 1
Jumbo Rocks | Split Rock Hike (2.5 mile loop) | Hidden Valley Trail (1 mile loop) |
Afternoon Ranger-Led Keys Ranch Tour (90 minutes) | Barker Dam Nature Trail
(1.1 mile loop) | Sunset near the Jumbo Rocks campground

Day Two
Short stop at Skull Rock | Cap Rock (0.4 mile ) | Keys View |
Arch Rock (Heart Rock) (1.4 miles) |Cholla Cactus Garden | Cottonwood Springs (California Fan Palms) view from the overlook or short walk to fan palms
(site of Mastodon Peak and Los Palms Oasis hikes)


​If time is limited, driving on Park Boulevard (East-West) from one end to the other will take you past many of the park highlights. Pinto Basin Road (North-South) takes you to the southeastern portion of the park and the Cottonwood Visitor Center. Just know that when the park is busy, parking in some of the lots may be unavailable.

With two days to explore, we got an early start both days to make the most of our time. Plus the morning is always a nice time to take photos. The late February weather was perfect for hiking (sunny and in the 60’s once it warmed up from the early morning chill), although there had been snow the week before. We never felt like the trails were crowded, even though all of the available campgrounds in the park were full.

There was literally no traffic at the north entrance around 8:30 Sunday morning, surprising for a popular national park. Our first stop was the Oasis Visitor Center, where we picked up our Joshua Tree National Park map, sun-hat, stickers, Christmas ornament, and a park book. (As of May 2, 2022, this visitor center will close. The new Joshua Tree Cultural Center in Twentynine Palms opens on May 7, 2022, and will include a Native American Museum

.)We have found over the years it’s always worth the time to pick up a paper map, check out the displays at the visitor center, and ask any general park questions. While chatting with the ranger about the best sunset spots, we learned that overcrowding had led the park to entirely close the popular sunset parking area at Keys View early in the afternoon. Good to know in advance, as we were considering that spot for sunset. Guess we’ll have to just add that to our list for a return trip!

None of us knew quite what to expect in the park other than seeing the cartoon-looking Joshua trees. We were surprised to learn that, in fact

(Video) Itineraries to Joshua Tree National Park. 1-2 days

Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia) aren’t really trees at all but rather a member of the Agave family. But it’s not only the iconic Joshua trees that make this park special. Beginning with our first pit stop in the Live Oak and Jumbo Rocks area, we were awed by the granite rock formations, boulders, and geology. On our first hike on the 2.5 mile Split Rock loop trail, we were surrounded by massive boulders, and several new (to us) bird species set against a backdrop of crystal blue skies. A memorable way to start our day!

As we headed south on Park Boulevard towards Hidden Valley, we kept asking “where are the Joshua trees?”; it was exciting, as we turned west, to see our first iconic Joshua trees come into view. Next stop was the Hidden Valley Trail, an easy one mile loop that takes you around the valley. The story goes that this valley was the place where outlaw cowboys brought stolen cattle to graze, and one of the first homesteader’s actually dynamited the valley to improve access for his cattle. The Hidden Valley Trail was also a hot spot to watch the rock climbers. Enjoy your lunch in the picnic area before/after your hike. From here, it wasn’t far to the meeting point for our 1 p.m. ranger-led tour of Keys Ranch.

2 Day Itinerary Joshua Tree National Park (5)

The Keys Ranch Tour turned out to be much more interesting than expected. It was a break from the pace of hiking while hearing the fascinating stories about William F. Keys’ life and early impacts on the area. We saw artifacts of Bill and Frances’ life spanning over 60 years on the property, including raising five children. In 1975 the site was listed on the National Historic Register. The National Park Service rangers do an excellent job of bringing life to the colorful history surrounding the area. This tour is only offered between October and May; it’s important to make reservations in advance.

(Video) Joshua Tree Camping - 2 DAY ITINERARY

After the tour, it was a short drive to another high-point, the nearby Barker Dam Trail. This trail is another loop, about 1 mile long, with a spot to see petroglyphs and pictographs along the trail. By the time we finished, it was late, and time to find a sunset viewing spot. Following the park ranger’s advice, we settled-down atop a near-by Jumbo Rocks boulder formation to watch the orange and pink color light show close out our day. Being near Jumbo Rocks campground made for an easy exit to our Twentynine Palms rental.

Day 2 started early with a hearty breakfast at the Cactus Cafe in town before our first stop at the empty parking lot of Skull Rock. It was exciting to be the only people around at this normally busy spot. You can judge for yourself from the picture below whether the name fits the rock! Finding shapes in the rock formations is one of the fun things about Joshua Tree, and would be a great way to keep young kids entertained while hiking.

It was such a clear day we decided not to miss a chance to see the panoramic vista from Keys View. On the way, we spent about 30 minutes at Cap Rock, which was virtually empty…on a Monday. This valley was probably the best for the larger quantity of Joshua Trees in view. Cap Rock is a short loop, less than half a mile, with many interpretive signs along the way, and another good spot for lunch, with picnic tables and bathrooms.

From there, we headed down Keys View Road to the overlook. The sky was clear and the views expansive, with a fierce wind that felt like 70 mph! I was a little fearful of my phone getting blown out of my hands while trying to take photos. It would certainly be a nice place to hang out and enjoy the view under less windy conditions.

(Video) Two Days in Joshua Tree National Park || Hiking & Exploring the Surrounding Area


We backtracked to Park Road and then headed south on Pinto Basin Road to reach our last hike to Arch Rock. Start in the Twin Tanks parking lot, and head to the trail. According to the National Park app, the trail looks like a lollipop, but we definitely had a harder time following the trail markings at certain points. The good news is that we stumbled upon Heart Rock, a not-to-be-missed spot for some fun photos.Not far from Heart Rock is Arch Rock. It requires a bit of rock scrambling to get up there, so if this isn’t your thing you can view from afar like I did.

From here, you can continue down Pinto Basin Road toward the Cottonwood Visitor Center. Don’t miss a stop at the Cholla Cactus Garden, with its short walking loop to stretch your legs and see the teddybear cholla. This area is also considered the transition zone between the Mojave and Colorado deserts so the landscape changes with the Joshua Trees replaced with jumping cholla cactus and creosote bushes.

While the park website mentions it’s just 12 miles from the North entrance to the Cholla Cactus Garden, the drive definitely seemed longer. Enjoy the teddybear cholla …without getting too close! While the name sounds soft and cuddly, if the spines detach and hitch a ride, it will be quite painful to remove (tip: use a comb). The zoom feature on the camera was very useful on this trail!

​Our last stops of the day were the Cottonwood Visitor Center, and then Cottonwood Springs. The trailhead parking lot was full, with easy access (or just a view from the overlook) to the tall, California fan palms and cottonwood trees found in a spring-fed oasis. There’s a few longer hikes from here that include Mastodon Peak (roughly 3 miles) and Lost Palms Oasis (roughly 7.5 miles roundtrip). Maybe next time! From this point, it was just a short drive to pick up Interstate 10 to head back to the coast!

Where to Stay and Eat Around Joshua Tree

Hotels can be found along Highway 62 in both Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms. Camping and van life are popular at Joshua Tree National Park, with reservations recommended for most campsites, and a limited number of first-come, first-served camping areas. Peak season is considered to be November through May. There are plenty of vacation rentals in the nearby towns, including the wonderfully quiet Flying Point Homestead in Twentynine Palms where we spent two nights enjoying the big, desert sky.

Related: 6 Reasons We Enjoy Vacation Rentals for Family Travel

(Video) 13 Things to Explore in Joshua Tree National Park Travel Guide ONE DAY ITINERARY

​Regarding food, there are no food options in the park so plan accordingly. If you aren’t camping, having a small cooler on hand makes it easy to store lunch and all that extra water you’ll want to have in the car no matter what time of year, but particularly in the warmer months. There are a surprising number of restaurants and small food markets in the gateway towns of Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms. On our way in the first night, we picked up lunch sandwiches for the next day from the Roadrunner Grab & Go. They offered a nice selection of hearty subs, even when we arrived close to closing time. Other highly rated spots in Joshua Tree include the Natural Sisters Cafe, Pie for the People, and the Country Kitchen (for breakfast and lunch). In Twentynine Palms, we really wanted to try the ribs at The Rib Co, but with an hour wait for take out, we opted for John’s Place for casual, family style food. The filling breakfast at the popular Cactus Cafe gave us fuel for a day of hiking. And while you might be tempted to drive past what looks like a vintage gas station, don’t miss the apple fritters from Jelly Donut. Had I known more about their popular Pho dishes, we would have stopped in for dinner as well. Definitely on our list for a future visit!

Planning Tips & Things to Know for Visiting Joshua Tree National Park

As with all national parks, planning can go a long way to maximizing your enjoyment. Knowing we were going to spend two days in the park allowed us to experience both distinct ecosystems found in Joshua Tree without rushing around from one site to another. Here’s some things to know for planning a visit.

Related:

Ideas and Resources to Plan Your Next National Park Vacation

*Figure out ahead of time if you are eligible for a discounted pass for park entry. Consider an America the Beautiful annual pass if you are going to visit several parks with entry fees over the course of a year. Don’t forget about Every Kid Outdoors if you have a 4th grader in the family.

*The busy season is typically October to May due to the cooler weather, since summer temperatures can hover close to 100 degrees. Even in late February, I was glad to have a wide brimmed hat to shield myself from the strong desert sun. Summer visits and hikes are not to be taken lightly. The lack of shade and desert heat can pose serious health threats, and bringing enough drinking water into the park with you is critical.

*If you haven’t already downloaded the National Park app, do it now! I used this as a helpful planning tool to learn about hikes, find visitor center hours, and download maps. But the best feature is the ability to download the park for offline use. This is critical, as service in the park is basically non-existent and having hiking information, maps, etc while in the park is so beneficial. You can always remove the data after your trip if storage space is a concern. Having a paper map on hand is also a good practice (I also take a photo on my phone to keep handy). Stop at one of the visitor centers to pick one up. The app also has maps, and provides details like estimated times for 25 hikes in the park.

*Park Boulevard and Pinto Basin Road are the two main roads that run through the park. There are also roads like Queen Valley Road that are unpaved (but not restricted to 4-wheel drive), along with roads that are restricted to 4-wheel drive and high clearance vehicles only.

*Read the helpful

Plan Like a Park Ranger: Top 10 Tips for Visiting Joshua Tree National Park before you go. These tips (especially 5 & 6) can go a long way in having a more enjoyable national park experience.

*If you aren’t camping in the park, consider staying in the less crowded Twentynine Palms area rather than Joshua Tree. Our neighborhood was so peaceful and the evening sky was spectacular. You won’t want to miss the 26 murals that share the story and heritage of the town. Next time we will add another day just to explore both towns and some of the quirky nearby attractions like the Noah Purifoy Desert Art Museum and the World Famous Crochet Museum.

PIN FOR LATER

(Video) 2 Days Trip in Joshua Tree National Park, hiking trails

FAQs

Is 2 days in Joshua Tree enough? ›

You only need 1-2 days to explore most Joshua Tree National Park. The trails are pretty straightforward in this park, and the views are effortless to get to. Joshua Tree National Park is a very easy weekend trip from Los Angeles.

How many days do you need in Joshua Tree National Park? ›

How much time do you need in Joshua Tree? To see the highlights of Joshua Tree National Park, you only need one day. If you want to explore the park's backcountry or off-road drives, plan to spend at least 2 to 3 days in Joshua Tree.

How long do people spend at Joshua Tree? ›

Overview of Joshua Tree
LocationSouthern California, 1 hour from Palm Springs
Entrance fee$30 USD per vehicle, $15 per person on foot or bicycle
Opening HoursAll year, 24 hours a day
Best time to visitOctober through May
Ideal length of visit1-2 days
1 more row

When should you not go to Joshua Tree? ›

Summer is the least popular season in Joshua Tree due to the scorching hot daytime temperatures. This is the desert, after all, and daytime temps in June, July and August often top 100˚F (38˚C). This makes outdoor activities like hiking and rock climbing uncomfortable and potentially dangerous.

What is the best month to visit Joshua Tree? ›

The best and most popular months to visit Joshua Tree National Park are March-May and October/November. This is because the park can get hot (and I mean hot). In the summer months, temperatures can reach over 100° F with an extremely dry, desert heat and very little shade to escape to.

Should I wear pants to Joshua Tree? ›

Clothing and Footwear

In Joshua Tree's desert environment, sun protection is essential. Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing and a wide-brimmed hat. Apply sunscreen to all exposed skin. Some trails can be overgrown, so long or convertible pants are best to avoid scratches and protect against cactus spines.

How long does it take to drive the Joshua Tree Loop? ›

Check out this 79.0-mile point-to-point trail near Joshua Tree, California. Generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 28 h 22 min to complete.

Can you drive your car through Joshua Tree National Park? ›

Driving Park Boulevard can be a great way to see a lot of Joshua Tree National Park in a couple of hours. This drive can be combined with shorts side stops and hikes along the way for longer trips. Park Boulevard will take you by many highlights, rock formations, and Joshua tree groves.

What is the big deal with Joshua Tree? ›

Joshua Trees are crucial to the ecosystem of the Mojave Desert. They provide food and habitat to local species. Additionally, new research is indicating that trees are being negatively impacted by climate change, making their protection even more important.

Is Joshua Tree a dark zone? ›

Boasting some of the darkest nights in Southern California, Joshua Tree National Park, an International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), offers many visitors the chance to admire the Milky Way for the first time in their lives.

Why is Joshua Tree so special? ›

It is an important part of the Mojave Desert ecosystem, providing habitat for numerous birds, mammals, insects, and lizards. Joshua tree forests tell a story of survival, resilience, and beauty borne through perseverance. They are the silhouette that reminds those of us who live here that we are home.

What is the best way to enjoy Joshua Tree? ›

Plan Like a Park Ranger: Top 10 Tips for Visiting Joshua Tree...
  1. Leave No Trace. ...
  2. Always Leave a Note. ...
  3. Pack Your Patience. ...
  4. When Two Roads Diverge, Take the Road Less Traveled. ...
  5. BYOW—Bring Your Own Water. ...
  6. The Early Visitor Gets the Parking Spot. ...
  7. Plan for Your Pet. ...
  8. There's no Bad Sunset Spot in the Desert.
9 Feb 2022

Should I wear shorts to Joshua Tree? ›

For when you go hiking in Joshua Tree, it's best if you dress more practical than stylish. In the summer it gets really hot in the national park, therefore wear some shorts and a light t-shirt. A tank top or athleisure wear works well too.

How much does it cost to drive through Joshua Tree? ›

Per vehiclePer person
Current$25$12
(June 1) 2018$30$15
13 Apr 2018

Is it better to enter Joshua Tree from the North or South? ›

From the south end, the park is full of desert wildflowers and cacti. As you drive north, the iconic Joshua Trees and boulder rock formations begin to populate and take your breath away.

What time can you see the Milky Way in Joshua Tree? ›

The Milky Way is horizontal in the east. The “Core” is visible midnight to sunrise. This is an amazing time to see/photograph the Milky Way. You have to get up early (or stay up all night!) but that means no one else will be there!

What is the darkest part of Joshua Tree? ›

The Ocotillo Patch: Located on Pinto Basin Road within the park, this is one of the darker areas for stargazing.

Is Joshua Tree worth the trip? ›

There are so many stunning and best things to do in Joshua Tree National Park that you really can't miss. Around a 3-hour drive from the city of San Diego, it's technically possible to visit Joshua Tree for a day but I'd definitely recommend longer.

Is Joshua Tree a hard hike? ›

This moderately strenuous hike will take two to three hours to complete. 49 Palms Oasis is your top Joshua Tree hike if you are looking for challenging terrain and some rock scrambling. The trail immediately heads uphill to a ridge punctuated by barrel cacti.

Why is Joshua Tree closed? ›

Extreme drought prompts closure of Joshua Tree trail to ensure water for bighorn sheep. Bighorn sheep roam inside Joshua Tree National Park. Extreme drought conditions prompted the open-ended closure of a popular hiking trail in Joshua Tree National Park to ensure water access for bighorn sheep.

Can you drink alcohol in Joshua Tree National Park? ›

Can you drink alcohol in Joshua Tree National Park? You can have alcohol at your campsite, but you cannot bring an alcoholic drink into a building (which is true of most places, national parks or not).

Do I need hiking shoes for Joshua Tree? ›

Pack your favorite pair of hiking shoes.

A trip to Joshua Tree is all about trekking trails and exploring the great outdoors. You'll want a solid pair of supportive hiking shoes. If you plan on doing any climbing, bring a separate pair of climbing shoes, too.

What is the easiest hike at Joshua Tree? ›

Located on the eastern side of the park, Cholla Cactus Garden is one of the easiest and most well-known hikes in Joshua Tree National Park. The main attraction of the hike is the deceptive Cholla Cactus (also known as the Teddy Bear cactus and Jumping Cactus).

How far apart are Death Valley and Joshua Tree? ›

The distance between Joshua Tree and Death Valley is 252 miles. If you haul it, it will take about 4.5 hours to get from Joshua tree to Death Valley. But don't be in too much of a hurry because there are a few cool stops along the way.

Do you need reservations for Joshua Tree National Park? ›

No advance reservations are needed to enter Joshua Tree National Park. Reservations are required for ranger-led tours of Keys Ranch. Reservations can be made on recreation.gov. Some campgrounds are first come, first served, whereas others require reservations during the peak season.

How long is the drive through arches? ›

You can spend a couple hours or the better part of a day driving the 36 mile (round trip) road through Arches National Park. With plenty of places to stop and snap pictures and panoramic views for miles, you can enjoy the brilliant artistry and majesty of Arches without having to leave your vehicle.

Do you need a 4x4 in Joshua Tree? ›

Joshua Tree National Park has a limited number of backcountry trails. Most of them are merely dirt roads that are accessible to everyone, but there are a few which require high clearance and four-wheel drive. Geology Tour Road is an 18-mile loop trail on the western side of the park.

How do you get into Joshua Tree for free? ›

Entrance to Joshua Tree and all other national park sites are typically free on these days:
  1. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Day.
  2. 3rd Saturday of April: First day of National Park Week.
  3. August 4: Great American Outdoors Act Signing Day.
  4. 4th Saturday in September: National Public Lands Day.
  5. November 11: Veterans Day.
4 Jan 2022

Why are people obsessed with Joshua tree? ›

And there's plenty to love about the prickly Joshua trees and the unique landscape they inhabit. The views are breathtaking, the wildlife is diverse, and the endangered nature of the Joshua trees means this destination is a must-visit for a variety of travelers.

Is Joshua tree Near Grand Canyon? ›

Northwestern Arizona High Desert

The Arizona Joshua Tree Forest can be found near the west end of the Grand Canyon just east of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

Why do they call it a Joshua tree? ›

Joshua trees were named for the biblical figure Joshua by 19th-century Mormon settlers who felt the outstretched tree limbs guided them along their westward journey.

Are there cougars in Joshua Tree? ›

Otherwise known as cougars or pumas, mountain lions have long been a part of the natural landscape of this area. They are incredibly solitary animals that avoid humans and interact with one another solely during mating season or when females raise their cubs.

Are there vortexes in Joshua Tree? ›

OK, time to get really deep: Vortexes are real and they're right here on Earth. A vortex is a place of increased energy, and Joshua Tree is said to be chock-full of them. People have been flocking to the site for centuries to channel the desert's energy.

What time can you see the stars in Joshua Tree? ›

The best time to stargaze is around the time of the new moon. This way, the light of the moon doesn't compete as much with the stars. But if you're looking for a special treat, you can get a fantastic look at the Milky Way in the summer at Joshua Tree National Park, California!

Can you touch the trees in Joshua tree? ›

No, you should not touch the Joshua trees if you care about this iconic species that gives Joshua Tree National Park and the area around Joshua Tree its name.

What did Native Americans call Joshua tree? ›

Southern Paiute called the Joshua tree sovarampi. Cahuilla Indians referred to it as humwichawa and the Western Shoshone knew it simply as umpu. For thousands of years many Indian groups embraced the tree as a spiritual reference and valued resource.

Why do people visit Joshua tree California? ›

You can go hiking, bouldering/rock climbing, nature walking, stargazing, and experience some amazing photo opportunities. Plus, the small towns that neighbor Joshua Tree National Park are full of quirky art, great places to eat, and fun shops.

Is it worth visiting Death Valley? ›

Is Death Valley worth visiting? Death Valley is absolutely worth visiting! The landscapes are so unique that you'll forget you're still in the US and you can see insane natural phenomenons in just 1 day here. We would absolutely recommend a visit!

Does Joshua Tree get crowded? ›

He offers the following tips for maximizing your enjoyment even during the most crowded months: Joshua Tree's greatest visitation occurs in spring, when temperatures are moderate and wildflowers are blooming. From March to May, the number of monthly visitors is 150,000 and up.

Can you do Joshua Tree in a few hours? ›

If planned ahead of time, it is possible to see most, if not all of these sights with just one day in Joshua Tree. It takes less than 2 hours to drive through the entire park from the West Entrance to the South Entrance and with just 5 stops I have faith you can do it.

How much time should I spend in Joshua Tree National Park? ›

You can easily spend three full days seeing the sights in Joshua Tree, much less getting out and hiking or exploring the surrounding region doing some of the other activities I recommend here. You can also use the America the Beautiful pass for entry, which can save in the long run if you love visiting National Parks.

Does Joshua Tree have only one entrance? ›

There are three park entrance stations:

The West Entrance is located five miles south of the junction of Highway 62 and Park Boulevard at Joshua Tree Village. The North Entrance is in Twentynine Palms, three miles south of the junction of Highway 62 and Utah Trail.

Is Palm Springs near Joshua Tree? ›

Joshua Tree is only about an hour outside of Palm Springs, and is more than worth the trip. We recommend starting at the West entrance into the park, and continuing through the South entrance, before heading back to Palm Springs.

How do I spend 3 days in Joshua Tree? ›

The Ultimate 2 to 3 Days in Joshua Tree Itinerary
  1. Day 1 – Barker Dam, Desert Queen Mine, Cholla Cactus Garden & More. Barker Dam Trail & the Hidden Petroglyphs. ...
  2. Day 2 – Hall of Horrors, Hidden Valley Trail, Ryan Ranch & More. Hall of Horrors. ...
  3. Day 3 – Lost Horse Mine, Joshua Tree Saloon & Crochet Museum. Lost Horse Mine.
7 Jul 2022

How long does it take to drive around Joshua Tree? ›

Check out this 79.0-mile point-to-point trail near Joshua Tree, California. Generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 28 h 22 min to complete.

Is two days in Zion enough? ›

Ideally, you need at least two to three days to visit Zion National Park. This gives you enough time to hike the longer, more popular trails, such as Angels Landing and the Narrows, and you can also add in a few of the shorter, easier trails, such as the Riverside Walk and Canyon Overlook.

Is there a scenic drive through Joshua Tree? ›

Driving Park Boulevard can be a great way to see a lot of Joshua Tree National Park in a couple of hours. This drive can be combined with shorts side stops and hikes along the way for longer trips. Park Boulevard will take you by many highlights, rock formations, and Joshua tree groves.

Is it worth it to drive through Joshua Tree? ›

If planned ahead of time, it is possible to see most, if not all of these sights with just one day in Joshua Tree. It takes less than 2 hours to drive through the entire park from the West Entrance to the South Entrance and with just 5 stops I have faith you can do it.

Do you need a car in Joshua Tree? ›

The best way to get around Joshua Tree National Park is by car. To reach Joshua Tree, most visitors fly into Palm Springs International Airport (PSP), which is about 50 miles east, or via Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), which is about 150 miles east. You can easily rent a car at either airport.

What shoes should I wear to Joshua Tree? ›

Pack your favorite pair of hiking shoes.

A trip to Joshua Tree is all about trekking trails and exploring the great outdoors. You'll want a solid pair of supportive hiking shoes. If you plan on doing any climbing, bring a separate pair of climbing shoes, too.

What is so special about Joshua Tree? ›

It is an important part of the Mojave Desert ecosystem, providing habitat for numerous birds, mammals, insects, and lizards. Joshua tree forests tell a story of survival, resilience, and beauty borne through perseverance. They are the silhouette that reminds those of us who live here that we are home.

What is better Zion or Bryce? ›

Both of these Parks offer great outdoor activities for all ages. For canyoneering and rappelling, Zion beats Bryce. You'll find world-class hiking in either Park, but in Zion you can find yourself hiking through streams or on sandstone ledges, like Angels Landing – one of the scariest hikes in the world!

Can I do Zion and Bryce in one day? ›

Normally, people visit Bryce and Zion National Parks together since they are only 62 miles apart. Although it is recommended to spend a day in Bryce and at least one day in Zion, you can visit Bryce and Zion in one day, hiking one trail in each of the parks.

Can you do Zion and Grand Canyon same day? ›

The total Zion to Grand Canyon drive time without stopping is just over four hours, but you should plan for at least a full day to enjoy some of the incredible scenery on the way.

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