This post is part of Just Ahead’s Joshua Tree Trip Planner—our guide to everything you need to know to plan your trip to Joshua Tree National Park. Click here to see the complete series, and be sure to download our Just Ahead smartphone audio tour of Joshua Tree before you head to the park
When to visit Joshua Tree National Park? Anytime! Joshua Tree National Park is a year-round destination with four distinct seasons. Always come prepared for the unexpected. Weather in the desert can be fickle.
Spring—March through mid-May—brings delightful weather, with warm sunny days and cool nights, as well as carpets of wildflowers. It’s the most popular time of year in the park. If you’re visiting the park on a weekend be sure to arrive early on Friday—or even Thursday—to get one of the first-come, first-served campsites. Or you can reserve ahead at www.recreation.gov.
The summer months—mid-May through September—are hot. Highs are in the upper 90s to the low 100s, though the evenings are pleasant. Carry lots of water and plan your time wisely. Do your hiking and climbing early or late. During the heat of the day you can take a drive or relax somewhere in the shade. Late summer can bring brief, isolated thunderstorms that occasionally cause flash flooding and road washouts. The park posts weather alerts and road closures on its website, nps.gov/jotr. Visitors to the park in the summer are rewarded with empty campsites and wide-open trails.
October is another delightful time in the park. Brilliant warm days that can last into November, though the weather generally turns chilly as November progresses.
The coldest months, December through February, are not usually that cold. Expect highs in the mid-60s and lows in the 40s, with occasional rain. Come prepared with warm jackets, hats, and gloves, and you can enjoy everything the park has to offer. Snow is rare, and it usually melts quickly.
By the way: The park is open every day, year-round.
To see our complete Joshua Tree Trip Planner series, click here.