National Park? More like nature’s playground
The United States boasts some pretty unbelievable landscapes but perhaps none more so than the ones found on our tours in Joshua Tree National Park. We’re talking towering cliffs, winding canyons, billion-year-old rock formations and desert vegetation for as far as the eye can see. And that’s just the top of the (Joshua) tree. Get your feet dusty on famous walks such as the Willow Hole Trail and The Maze. Summit soaring mountains and check out sparkling, naturally created oases. Learn about the park’s Native American history and good ol’ gold mining days. Excited yet? We’re just getting started.
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Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).
However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.
The best way to get to Joshua Tree National Park depends on where you're travelling from. If you live in a neighbouring state, driving to Joshua Tree National Park is relatively easy and won't take too long. If you're coming from further afield, the closest international airport to the park is Palm Springs International Airport (60kms away from the park itself); however, it only offers flights to and from other states in the US. If you're coming from overseas, you'll likely have to fly into bigger airports in California, such as LAX in Los Angeles or SFO in San Francisco, before catching a connecting flight to Palm Springs. Once at Palm Springs airport, you can rent a car to reach your final destination with the journey from the airport to the park taking about 50 minutes.
Even though Joshua Tree National Park is open year-round, the best time to visit is during the shoulder seasons of spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November). This is when temperatures are at their most enjoyable for spending long periods of time outside and when rainfall is kept to a minimum. As the park is situated in the California desert, you shouldn't go hiking by yourself in the middle of summer - temperatures can reach a staggering 37°C and conditions can become dangerous if you're not well equipped.
Packing for Joshua Tree National Park is much like packing for any holiday where you know you'll be in the elements. A wide-brimmed hat is a must (a cap will also do), plenty of sunscreen (we recommend two bottles just to be on the safe side), a reusable drink bottle, comfy walking shoes (ones you've already broken in before your trip), a camera and a day bag/backpack that's big enough to carry the essentials but not too big that it'll get in the way and slow you down.
Compared to bigger cities in the US, the internet connection in Joshua Tree National Park is slow and often patchy, especially in remote areas within the park. However, WiFi is readily available in the Black Rock Visitor Center, the Joshua Tree Visitor Center and the Joshua Tree Cultural Center if you need to Google maps your hike before you set out.
There is plenty to explore in Joshua Tree National Park and the best way to do it is by lacing up your hiking boots and hitting the trails. Luckily for you, Joshua Tree National Park has several that are well worth the effort. Here are a few of our favourites:
- Skull Rock Hike
- Willow Hole Trail
- The Maze
- Ryan Mountain climb
- Arch Rock Hike
- The Lost Palms Oasis Hike
Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. However, we’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.