This is a wonderful park to visit if you have a car full of rock climbing monkeys (children, happy parents, etc.).
There are two Ranger Stations in this park. One is located at the southern entrance to the park, just east of Palm Springs. This is a small station with park information. The main Ranger Station is located in 29 Palms near the northern entrance to the park. You will find an informative, well staffed station with a nice collection of cacti outside. There is also a short paved walk leading to the palms for which this community is named.(This photo is a close-up of the blooms of an occotillo plant)
There are many turn-outs in this park, but don't expect to find tables and fire pits outside of the campgrounds. This park has free camping (other than the entrance fees) so you can picnic in any campsite you find open.
There are some really nice short hikes in this park. My favorite hike is to 'Ryan Mountain'. This trail is two miles each way. Two miles up, and two miles back down again. I made this hike with a baby in a backpack, but I wouldn't recommend taking this trail with young children. The trail is narrow in places, and there are many places with long drop-offs. If your child may want to be carried part of the way - don't do it! The view from the top is spectacular but the climb is breathtaking!
In my opinion, Jumbo Rocks is the best campground in Joshua Tree. This campground is in the center of the park and has fantastic climbing rocks for those of us who like to climb without gear. I must caution all-- I once took out my contacts in the RR (bathroom) and heard large dog sounding creatures following me back to my campsite. I found out later that there was a history of cyotes following people around. Too Scary for me! Great place----------but don't travel alone at night if you're a big chicken like I am!........Great star viewing ! There are many campgrounds in this park, but none of them have water or flush toilets. If you plan to stay for a few days and don't want to drive out to the Ranger Station frequently, I recommend you bring plenty of water.(This photo is of an occotillo plant. This particular one is about 22 feet tall)
We love this place! Directions Nearest large town to the east is Blyth. (approximately 70 miles from south entrance) Nearest large town to the west is Riverside. (approximately 80 miles from south entrance) From the east: Take highway 10 to the south entrance. From the west: Take highway 10 to state highway 62. Take 62 to Twentynine Palms and follow road signs to north park entrance or continue on highway 10 to park south entrance.