This Popular California National Park Trail Is Temporarily Closed Due to Extreme Heat — What to Know

·2 min read
Fortynine Palms Oasis
Fortynine Palms Oasis

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A trail at Joshua Tree National Park trail has temporarily closed amid severe drought conditions in an effort to allow the park's bighorn sheep to have "undisturbed access" to the park's surface water.

The 49 Palms Trail was closed on June 1 while the park's wildlife biologists monitor the situation, according to the National Park Service.

"The park is under extreme drought conditions and herds in the area are increasingly reliant on the oasis spring to survive the hot summer months," the NPS wrote in its advisory. "The closure will remain in place until summer monsoons provide adequate rainfall to increase water availability."

Hikers are still welcome to access other trails in the park, but the NPS warns they should practice "extreme caution" and plan their trip wisely since temperatures can reach more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit on exposed parts of park trails. Officials recommend people start a hike before sunrise and end by 10 a.m., or don't hike until after 4 p.m.

An excessive heat warning was issued for several areas in Arizona and southern California, including Joshua Tree National Park, through 8 p.m. local time on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. Visitors should expect "dangerously hot conditions" with afternoon temperatures reaching up to 117 degrees Fahrenheit.

"An Excessive Heat Warning means that a period of very hot temperatures, even by local standards, will occur," the NWS wrote. "Actions should be taken to lessen the impact of the extreme heat."

Joshua Tree National Park sits at the meeting point of the Colorado Desert and the Mojave Desert, offering visitors nearly 800,000 acres of desert animals and namesake spiky Joshua trees just over two hours east of Los Angeles.

Visitors to the park can take advantage of amazing stargazing, glamping, and even biking opportunities throughout the desert.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.