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Desert National Parks

Desert National Parks Overview


Death Valley and Joshua Tree are two National Parks found in California's Desert region. On March 1 1872, President Ulysses Grant signed into existence the world's first national park. Since then, hundreds more have been established. These parks are awe inspiring natural wonders and offer endless activities. California has several of these National Parks and Monuments.

TIP:The National Park Service offers FEE FREE DAYS to some National Parks on select weekends through the Summer. Use this link to view available dates.

National Parks in the Desert

Death Valley National Park photograph included

Stovepipe Wells Sand Dunes

Located east of Lone Pine via Highway 190 and north of Baker via Highway 127. Death Valley is the hottest, driest and lowest point in the United States and can reach temperatures over 120 degrees in the summer. Sightseeing, road & mountain biking, off-roading, hiking, horseback riding and camping are the major activities to be enjoyed in Death Valley National Park. Spring is the best season to see this park for its 'desert in bloom'. At the heart of Death Valley National Park is Furnace Creek where a museum, Visitor Center, Inn, ranch hotel, groceries, restaurants, golf course, fuel and much more can be found. In northern Death Valley National Park is Scotty's Castle that was built in the 1920's by Walter Scott. It is an architectural masterpiece and an oasis in an unforgiving region. Many believed the castle was funded by Scotty's secret goldmine. Visit Death Valley National Park and make your own determination.

NOTE: Please refer to our TIPS page for Desert safety precautions.

blog Check our Death Valley blog for more details.

blog See our Death Valley photo album on Flickr.

Death Valley National Park
Highway 190
Death Valley, California 92328
(760) 786-3200

Map  |   Park Map  |   Hotel  |   Camping  |   Website  |   Other Ideas

Joshua Tree National Park photograph included

Joshua Tree National Park

Located off Highway 62 just north of Palm Springs. Sightseeing, road & mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding and camping are the major activities to be enjoyed in Joshua Tree National Park. Joshua Tree is a high desert and can be a little cooler than Death Valley in the summer months. Joshua Tree National Park has picturesque rock formations that offer rock climbing for all skill levels and forests of Joshua Trees. Most of the beauty and activities are in the northwest section of the park, but the southern portion has cactus gardens that shouldn't be missed. A half-day trip from Palm Springs can be easily accomplished since a drive through Joshua Tree National Park takes approximately 2-hours including stops at sites. You'll be very tempted to rock climb, so be sure to wear hiking boots, a hat and carry plenty of water.

NOTE: Please refer to our TIPS page for Desert safety precautions.

blog Check our Joshua Tree blog for more details.

blog See our Joshua Tree photo album on Flickr.

Joshua Tree National Park
74485 National Park Drive
Twentynine Palms, California 92277-3597

Map  |   Park Map  |   Hotel  |   Camping  |   Website  |   Other Ideas

Manzanar National Historic Site photograph included

Manzanar Internment Camp

Located just outside the town of Independence off Highway 395. Manzanar is the site of a World War II relocation camp for citizens of Japanese descent. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the American government grew suspicious of Japanese-Americans and decided to place them in camps where their activities could be monitored. Little remains of the original camp. A museum contains artifacts left behind and historical facts and documents about the camp.

Manzanar National Historic Site
5001 Highway 395
Independence, California 93526
(760) 878-2932

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas

National Parks by Region