THE SUNSET JEWEL
61591 La Jolla Dr • Joshua Tree, CA
The earliest known residents of the land in and around what later became Joshua Tree National Park were the people of the Pinto Culture, who lived and hunted here between 8000 and 4000 BCE.
Between the 1860s and 1940s, miners worked a few hundred pit mines. The most successful of which produced gold and silver worth about $5,000,000 in today's currency.
On August 10th, 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established Joshua Tree National Monument, protecting about 825,000 acres (1,289 square miles). However, in 1950 the size of the park was reduced to about 290,000 acres (453 square miles) to open the land to more mining, only to then have 243,000 acres (365 square miles) added back when it became a national park in 1994, and additional 4,518 acres (7.1 square miles) added in 2019.
What To Do?
There are numerous trails within the park that provide amazing views and lookout points over the Coachella Valley, Salton Sea, Hidden Valley, and Palm Springs.
The park is very popular with rock climbers as it has thousands of climbing routes with varying levels of difficulty. The climbs are usually pretty short, but are easily accessible by short easy walks.
More than 250 bird species inhabit or visit the park, and about 78 of them nest and raise there young here too. Birdwatching spots include fan palm oases, the Barker Dam, and Smith Water Canyon. Queen Valley and Lost Horse Valley also provide good birdwatching, with a different range of species due to the lack of water, including the ladder-backed woodpecker and oak titmouse. A USGS bird checklist from 2006 contained 239 species in the park.
Joshua Tree is a popular observing site in Southern California for amateur astronomy and stargazing. The park is well known for its naturally dark night skies, which are far away from and largely free of the light pollution typical in the urban areas. The park's elevation and dry desert air, along with the relatively stable atmosphere in the region, often make for excellent seeing conditions.