Joshua Tree National Park, California (Purestock/Getty)

Rock Climbing in Joshua Tree National Park, California (Bill Hatcher/National Geographic/Getty)

Dirt Road in Joshua Tree National Park, California (Greg Dale/National Geographic/Getty)

Joshua Tree National Park, California (Robert Glusic/PhotoDisc/Getty)

Sunset in Joshua Tree National Park,California (Photodisc)

Giant Marbles in Joshua Tree National Park, California (Robert Glusic/PhotoDisc)

Coyote in Joshua Tree National Park, California (Jeremy Woodhouse/Digital Vision/Getty)

Star Trails at Night in Joshua Tree National Park, California (iStockphoto)

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What to do in Joshua Tree National Park

What was once the secret domain of rock climbers has now burst forth into the public sphere—and with good reason. The 429,690 acres that make up Joshua Tree National Park encompass the best of southeastern California, including two deserts, native forests, and rock formations that look as if they were assembled by playful giants. Rock rats (the human kind) have been drawn to the boulders and cliff faces for years, but the park’s proximity to Los Angeles and its extensive hiking trails have lured campers, birdwatchers, day hikers, and backpackers to embrace the park from a less vertiginous perspective. 

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