March and April are traditionally the busiest times of the year at Joshua Tree National Park. Based on increased visitation last year during what was typically the slow season, the park expects even more visitors this spring. Visitors to the national park this spring should expect limited parking, full campgrounds, and a line to get into the park. Managing editor Tami Roleff offers these tips about visiting Joshua Tree National Park…
When planning your trip to Joshua Tree National Park, plan a mid-week trip. The park is most popular on weekends and holidays, which can mean significant traffic congestion. To avoid crowds, consider planning a trip Monday through Thursday.
Buy a digital pass before you arrive at recreation.gov. This pass will make entry to the park quicker and easier.
Arrive at the park entrance before 10 a.m. The busiest times at the park entrance are between 10 and 2, and avoid exiting the park around sunset.
Other tips to prepare for your park visit:
Recreate responsibly no matter what time of year you visit. For the spring, remember to respect the park’s wildflowers by taking only photos. Please walk on trails and never crush vegetation to protect these blooms for years to come.
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 your 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.
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.