Joshua Tree National Park is located in south-eastern California. The park includes parts of two deserts, whose characteristics are determined primarily by elevation. Below 3,000 feet, the Colorado Desert encompasses the eastern part of the park and features natural gardens of creosote bush, ocotillo, and cholla cactus. The Little San Bernardino Mountains run through the southwest edge of the park.
The higher, moister, and slightly cooler Mojave Desert is the special habitat of the Joshua tree from which the park gets its name. In addition to Joshua tree forests, the western part of the park includes some of the most interesting geologic displays found in California's deserts. The dominant geologic features of this landscape are hills of bare rock, usually broken up into loose boulders. These hills are popular amongst rock climbing and scrambling enthusiasts. The flatland between these hills is sparsely forested with Joshua trees.