After a 2-hour scenic drive from Los Angeles, we arrived at the Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center just before noon on a Good Friday. Just when we thought we had reached the Park, it turns out we were still another 30-40 minutes away from the actual walking trail, not including the wait to get in (if there were any).
Distance from Los Angeles (Central LA Area) to Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center is 134 miles (216 kms).
The amazing scenic drive through the Desert (Twentynine Palms)
It helps to pay a visit to the Visitor Center before going inside the National Park so you can decide which hiking / walking trail is suitable for you.
You can also purchase your Entry Tickets ($20 per car) at the Visitor Center.
Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center
6554 Park BoulevardJoshua Tree, CA 92256
The Park has several entrances, the one closest to the Joshua Tree Visitor Center is the West Entrance.
Easter Weekend turns out to be the busiest time of the year at the Park so we were advised to take the North Entrance to avoid a 60-minute wait just to get through the West Entrance.
We were glad we took the nice lady’s advice to drive another 20 minutes to the North Entrance – because there was barely any wait/line when we got there.
The friendliest walking trail for families (of all ages) are the Barker Dam Trail (1.5 miles / 2.5 kms loop) and Cap Rock (0.4 miles / 0.7 kms loop).
Cap Rock Trail is wheelchair/stroller accessible. There are also allocated parking lots around these trails.
After a good 13-minute drive from the North Entrance, we finally reached the Skull Rock which had spectacular features of the desert, tree and giant rocks.
The views from the top of the rocks were absolutely stunning.
All views from any angle of the National Park were nothing but amazing.I would say though it was a bit challenging exploring the Park with our 1.5 year old as he was too eager to walk around the desert by himself – climbing every rock and touching all the dirt, rock & plants, fearlessly.
This park would be much more suitable for older kids age 6+, like my 8 year old who was able to guide himself through the rocks and trails without us having to worry every 2 seconds that he might trip. Overall, was it worth the drive, heat and visit? Absolutely.
If you think a day-trip from LA is too exhausting, plan to spend a night or two in Palm Springs (it’s only a 45-min to a 1-hour drive from Joshua Tree National Park) – a very popular vacation spot for locals & tourists where there are way too many resorts to choose from, at least this is what we chose to do.
For more information on Joshua Tree National Park including other hiking/walking trails and camp sites, please visit: