March and April are traditionally the busiest times of the year at Joshua Tree National Park. The park expects high visitation during spring 2021 based off recent visitation trends. A typical spring day includes limited parking, full campgrounds, and a line to get into the park. The three best ways to prepare for a visit to Joshua Tree National Park are:
- Plan mid-week trips – Joshua Tree 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 – Buy your pass ahead of time by logging onto www.recreation.gov.This pass will make entry to the park quicker and easier.
- Arrive before 10 am – Avoid entering the park between 10 am and 2 pm 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 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.
Thank you all for your continued stewardship and love of Joshua Tree National Park.
The data – Visitation was up 11% from June 2020 to October 2020, the park’s off season, and up 20% in November 2020. The park did not consider data from spring or winter 2020 to exclude months when the park was closed or under a stay at home order. Americans avoiding long distant travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, may explain why the park is experiencing higher than expected visitation. Visitation data was compared to 2018.