Cornforth Images

Joshua Tree National Park

Viewed from the road, Joshua Tree National Park only hints at its vitality. Closer examination reveals a fascinating variety of plants and animals that make their home in this land shaped by h1 winds, unpredictable torrents of rain, and climatic extremes. The park includes parts of two deserts, each an ecosystem whose characteristics are determined primarily by elevation. Below 3,000 ft (900 m), the Colorado Desert encompasses the eastern part of the park and features natural gardens of creosote bush, ocotillo, and cholla cactus. The higher, moister, and slightly cooler Mojave Desert is the special habitat of the Joshua tree, from which the park gets its name. In addition to Joshua tree forests, the western part of the park includes some of the most interesting geologic displays found in California’s deserts. The dominant hills of bare rock, usually broken up into loose boulders, are popular amongst rock climbing and scrambling enthusiasts.

Photography in Joshua Tree National Park is very easy due to the road bisecting the park. Cap Rock, Skull Rock, Jumbo Rocks, White Tank, and Arch Rock are all great locations where an image can be framed with the namesake Joshua trees and the rounded boulders that make up the park. Cholla Cactus Garden is best photographed at sunrise, but watch out for their shark spines.