Stop here at the Cottonwood Visitor Center to start your adventure into Joshua Tree. The staff here is very knowledgeable about the entire park and can recommend hiking trails based upon the dynamics of your party. Get a free map here and check out the small store of souvenirs.
Down the road from this visitor center is the Cottonwood Springs campground and also a few trails. Older kids should have no problem hiking the Mastodon Peak Loop Trail. At 2.6 miles, it is not too long and has some fun geology. There is even a small gold mine, the Mastodon Mine.
Very helpful rangers at Cottonwood Visitor Center off Interstate 10. The Cottonwood Visitor Center is located 9mi inside the South Entrance of Joshua Tree National Park which is just north of Interstate 10 and about 25mi east of Indio. This visitor center is actually located 32mi south of the North Entrance near Twentynine Palms. There is little reason to stop here due to the indefinite closing of the very worthwhile trails that start near this visitor center; Cottonwood Springs, Mastodon Peak and Lost Palm Oasis, unless one is entering from the south or camping at the nearby Cottonwood Campground which remains open. This is the desert. Be prepared. Bring lots of water.
If looking for perfect stay while visiting this place check out our Twentynine Palms Hotel – Harmony Motel and book your stay on the Hotel’s Website for the lowest possible rates.