Winter holidays and the spring months are the busiest times of the year at Joshua Tree National Park. So, if you plan to go, prepare for crowded conditions,  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 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 Thanksgiving, 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. Always be prepared with adequate food and water, and let someone from home know you will be hiking. Cell phones do not work in the park in most areas.
  • 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 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 people visit Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California’s Mojave Desert. Joshua Tree National Park is gearing up for the huge crowds drawn to the Southern California desert during the holidays. The National Park Service says the period from late December through Jan. 1 brings some of the busiest days, and campgrounds and parking lots will likely be full. At times, the park becomes drive-through-only because there are no more parking spaces. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong,File)
Used locally Nov 24th 2021