Joshua Tree National Park Photo Gallery

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Famous for its Yucca brevifolia, the Joshua trees for which the park is named, Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California encompasses a uniquely strange and beautiful desert landscape.  
Credit: Purestock/Getty 
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Joshua Tree actually encloses parts of two deserts—the Mojave and the Colorado—each with a distinct ecosystem. The Mojave side, to the west, is home to the namesake Joshua trees and the boulder formations that climbers love. At lower elevations, the eastern Colorado Desert portion of the park features ocotillo, scrub, and dense patches of cactus and reaches into the lower Coachella Valley with its dunes and desert grasslands.  
Credit: Robert Glusic/Photodisc/Getty 
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Named by 19th-century Mormon settlers reminded of the Biblical Joshua reaching to the sky in prayer, the Joshua tree is not actually a tree but a species of desert plant in the Yucca genus. Hardy and fast growing, Joshua trees can grow to more than 40 feet tall with roots stretching almost as far underground, and some live for hundreds or even thousands of years.  
Credit: Photodisc 
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A coyote prowling the scrubland. Coyotes, along with mountain lions, bighorn sheep, and mule deer are among the few large mammal species that can survive Joshua Tree's harsh desert environment.  
Credit: Jeremy Woodhouse/Digital Vision/Getty 
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A solar halo in the sky above Coachella Valley  
Credit: Wing-Chi Poon/Wikimedia 
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Built by cattlemen in 1900, Joshua Tree's Barker Dam now serves as a watering hole for wildlife, including a number of bird species and bighorn sheep.  
Credit: Wang-Chi Poon/Wikimedia 
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The stark desert beauty of Joshua Tree  
Credit: thirteenthbat/Flickr 
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Cactus blooms offer a rare burst of color  
Credit: Alex E. Promios/Flickr 
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Joshua Tree's otherworldly landscape makes for a beautiful drive.  
Credit: Robert Glusic/Photodisc/Getty 
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The odd rock piles on Joshua Tree's Mojave Desert side are not only beguiling and beautiful but justify the love of climbing, scrambling, and bouldering enthusiasts for whom the park offers a treasure trove of sites.  
Credit: Photodisc/Getty 
 
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