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Joshua Trees at DVNP??

Walnut Creek...
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Joshua Trees at DVNP??

My partner will be doing some photography for a college course when we go on our trip to DVNP, and his teacher suggested taking some pictures of Joshua trees. I don't remember any Joshua trees at DVNP. Are there any in the area?

Santa Ana, CA
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1. Re: Joshua Trees at DVNP??

I was just there between Christmas and New Year's Day. I was surprised to find Joshua Trees at some higher elevations, maybe 3,000 ft.

Specifically I saw them out on the Racetrack Road, if that's the proper name for it. Another place is Hidden Valley. To go there you take the Racetrack Road. Somewhere between Ubehebe Crater and "Racetrack" dry lake is an intersection called Tea Kettle Junction. You can't miss it because people have hung tea kettles on the junction sign. Turn left here and after you pass through the really cool Lost Burro Pass the road opens up into Hidden Valley.

Check with the visitor center on this to get proper miles and distances. Ask the ranger if your car is OK for the dirt roads. I think any passenger car can handle this but it's very wash-board.

Santa Ana, CA
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2. Re: Joshua Trees at DVNP??

Correction: it's not the Lost Burro Pass; it's called Lost Burro Gap.

San Francisco
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for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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3. Re: Joshua Trees at DVNP??

The Joshua tree is a medium-elevation plant, so you won't find it in the lowest parts of Death Valley.

There are some closer in than the Racetrack, around the roads to Ubehebe Crater. A regular car can always go there.

If you're entering the park from the west, you can find them along Hwy 190 east of Lone Pine. There are some nice specimens around Darwin and the turnoff to Saline Valley. And for those coming from the San Joaquin Valley, there are many along Hwy 178 between Walker Summit and 395. These last two areas are not within DVNP.

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Joshua Tree
Joshua Tree
California Desert, CA
Walnut Creek...
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4. Re: Joshua Trees at DVNP??

I have a Subaru Forester (4WD compact SUV). I've heard the racetrack is best seen near sunset. Is the road dangerous/difficult to see after sunset (for the return journey)? I suppose one precaution we could take is warn our hotel (Furnace Creek Ranch) to sound the alarm if we aren't back by 8 PM or so...

San Francisco
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5. Re: Joshua Trees at DVNP??

No problem with the Racetrack in the evening. The reason for 4wd is that it's a rough, rutted road. Take care just for that reason, to avoid damaging tires or undercarriage, also to avoid hitting any animals that roam at night. The road isn't real narrow and you won't fall off any 400' cliffs.

San Francisco
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6. Re: Joshua Trees at DVNP??

P.S. It's never a bad idea to let your hotel or some other responsible person know when you go to the backcountry. The Racetrack is not as "backcountry" as some areas, but if someone does break down, it can be awhile before help comes.

Just fyi, there are landline pay phones at Scotty's Castle and at Grapevine entrance station, which is on the Castle Road (a.k.a. North Highway) just south of the turnoff to the Racetrack. There isn't cell coverage in DV.

7. Re: Joshua Trees at DVNP??

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