The National Park Service is expecting the high popularity of Joshua Tree National Park to continue this spring and is urging visitors to anticipate congestion.
March and April are usually the busiest times at the park in the Southern California desert, a drive of about 140 miles east of Los Angeles.
“A typical spring day includes limited parking, full campgrounds, and a line to get into the park,” Joshua Tree said in a recent statement.
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Recent years have seen an enormous increase in the popularity of Joshua Tree, which straddles the Mojave and Colorado deserts. Spring and fall are the best times to visit because summer brings fierce heat and intense sunlight.
Officials urge visitors to avoid weekends and holidays, buy a digital pass ahead of time, arrive before 10 a.m. and avoid trying to leave around sunset.
“The park may become drive-through only as the parking lots reach maximum capacity during times of extreme visitation,” the statement said. “Visitors may be turned away from popular parking areas.”
Spring visitors are also urged to stay on trails and avoid crushing wildflowers.