Southern California

Unprecedented Number of Holiday Visitors Flood Joshua Tree National Park

The week between Christmas and the new year is usually a busy time at Joshua Tree National Park in the deserts of Southern California.

But this week's visitation is unprecedented.

The Park Service says all campgrounds were full Thursday and visitors could expect up to an hour wait at the Joshua Tree entrance. Officials recommend arriving before 9 a.m. and entering through the fee stations at Cottonwood or Twentynine Palms.

The nearly 800,000-acre park encompasses low and high deserts -- the Colorado on the east and the Mojave on the west, where the namesake Joshua Trees live.

Visitors dwindle during fiercely hot summer months and then increase as weather moderates during fall.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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