About 32 miles from the Aqua Soleil Hotel and Mineral Water Spa is Joshua Tree National Park. This 800,000 acre park is a converging point of two deserts and their unique ecosystems, the lower Colorado Desert and the higher Mojave Desert.
The lower, Eastern half of the park is below 3,000 feet and is known as the Colorado Desert. It is part of the Sonoran Desert and home to the Creosote bush, which flourishes there. Spidery ocotillo and cholla cactus can also be found here.
The Mojave Desert occupies the higher, wetter and slightly cooler western half of the park. It is home to the Joshua tree, given its name, according to legend, by Mormon pioneers who considered the limbs of the Joshua tree to be reminiscent of the outstretched arms of Joshua leading them to the Promised Land.
The tallest Joshua tree in the park is in the Queen Valley forest. It stands over 40 feet high and is estimated be over 100 years old. Joshua trees do not have growth rings, like most trees, therefore, determine age accurately can be difficult. Dividing the height by the average annual growth rate of one-half inch will give you a rough estimation of the tree’s age.
In contrast to the arid surroundings of the park, there are a few areas where water exists close enough to the surface where five fan oases are found. Of the 158 desert fan palm oases in North America, five are in Joshua Tree National Park.
The park encompasses some of the most interesting geologic displays found in California’s deserts. Rugged mountains of twisted rock and exposed granite monoliths testify to the tremendous earth forces that shaped and formed this land. Arroyos, playas, alluvial fans, bajadas, pediments, desert varnish, granites, aplite, and gneiss interact to form a giant mosaic of immense beauty and complexity.1
The rock formations in Joshua Tree National Park take on fantastic shapes due to the intense earth forces that have shaped the land. Much of the park lies above at elevations above 4,000 feet where there are six unique mountain ranges. In the southwestern part of the park are the Little San Bernardino Mountains, in the center are the Pinto Mountains, and in the eastern part are the Eagle and Coxcomb Mountains. The northern and southern edges of the park are outlined by very steep rock rises, extending upward from the lower desert areas.
In the late 1800s cattlemen came to the desert. They built dams to create water tanks. They were followed by miners who tunneled the earth in search of gold. They are gone now, but they left behind the Lost Horse and Desert Queen mines and the Keys Ranch. In the 1930s homesteaders came seeking free land and the chance to start new lives. Today many people come to the park’s 794,000 acres of open space seeking clear skies and clean air, and the peace and tranquility, the quietude and beauty, only deserts offer.1
The Aqua Soleil Hotel and Mineral Water Spa’s location in Desert Hot Springs, California offers a great vantage point to fan out across the Coachella Valley to see the many awesome sites that reside in our desert. Other sites of interest in the area can be found here. To book a reservation, please call 760-329-4481 or book online. We are eager to serve all of your lodging needs, whether it be for business or pleasure. Escape to the Desert’s diverse destination– the Aqua Soleil Hotel and Mineral Water Spa.
1. “A Desert Park”: National Park Service website, accessed November 6, 2013,
2. Photograph Found Online: Selak, Bill. “Joshua Tree Sunset.” 2007,