Oasis Visitor Center
Joshua Tree National Park is immense, nearly 800,000 acres, and infinitely variable. Two deserts, two large ecosystems primarily determined by elevation, come together in the park. Few areas more vividly illustrate the contrast between ‘high’ and ‘low’ desert. Humans have occupied the area encompassed by Joshua Tree National Park’s nearly 800,000 acres for at least 5,000 years. The first group known to inhabit the area was the Pinto Culture, followed by the Serrano, the Chemehuevi, and the Cahuilla. After the area became a national monument in 1936, local and regional residents were the primary park visitors. As Southern California grew so did park visitation; Joshua Tree now lies within a three-hour drive of more than 18 million people. Since Joshua Tree was elevated from national monument to national park status in 1994, however, greater numbers of visitors from around the nation and the world come to experience Joshua Tree National Park.
Joshua Tree National Park is extremely unusual because it is comprised of two very distinct ecosystems, the Mojave desert, and the Colorados. These ecosystems thrive in a beautiful environment that has been shaped by strong winds and torrents of rain. Joshua Tree is one of the most well-known locations in Southern California because of it’s beautiful geologic feature as well as the parks extensive wilderness.