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Joshua Tree Wilderness

General Location Maps Contacts Area Management Wilderness Laws Trip Planning Images

Area Management

The Joshua Tree Wilderness is part of the 109 million acre National Wilderness Preservation System. This System of lands provides clean air, water, and habitat critical for rare and endangered plants and animals. In wilderness, you can enjoy challenging recreational activities like hiking, backpacking, climbing, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, horse packing, bird watching, stargazing, and extraordinary opportunities for solitude. You play an important role in helping to "secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness" as called for by the Congress of the United States through the Wilderness Act of 1964. Please follow the requirements outlined below and use Leave No Trace techniques when visiting the Joshua Tree Wilderness to ensure protection of this unique area.

Entrance fees are charged to enter the park.

If you will be out overnight, park and register for a FREE permit at a backcountry registration board—there are 13 within the park - or at a Visitor Center. An unregistered vehicle or a vehicle left overnight somewhere other than at a backcountry board is a cause for concern about the safety of the vehicle’s occupants. It is also subject to citation and towing.

Your wilderness camp must be located one mile from the road and 500 feet from any trail. Make yourself aware of any day-use areas in the vicinity (they are indicated on the topo maps at the backcountry registration boards) and make certain to camp outside.

There is a 30-day camping limit each year. However, only 14 nights total may occur from October through May.

Water sources in the park are not potable and are reserved for wildlife, so you will have to carry in an adequate supply for drinking, cooking, and hygiene. You will want to give some thought to the trade-off between the water required to hydrate dried foods and the heftier weight of canned and fresh foods. If you want to heat something you will need to pack in a stove and fuel as open fires are prohibited in the backcountry.

Fixed Anchors in Wilderness Areas: Fixed anchors may be replaced, anchor for anchor, in wilderness. A permit is required to place new fixed anchors in wilderness. Contact the special-use office at 760-367-5545 to request a permit application.




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