Oasis of Mara | Joshua Tree

The Oasis of Mara is a cool little stop just outside of Joshua Tree National Park near the northeast entrance. Though this hike technically lies in the town of Twentynine Palms, it was deeded to the park and used as the Visitor Center. More recently, the Visitor Center was moved into town, and the old building became administrative offices for Joshua Tree National Park. Luckily, you can still stop and walk between the buildings to access the Oasis of Mara.

The trail begins behind these buildings.

There aren’t many hikes in Joshua Tree that are wheel-accessible. Oasis of Mara is one of the few that has a paved trail. The hike runs about a half-mile to an oasis of trees that can easily be seen from the highway. These aren’t the Joshua trees that the park is named for, but towering palm trees that grow thickly together and to a much greater height.

We like to look at all of this beautiful desert flora.
The path is paved and easy.
This is the main area of the Oasis or Mara.

We enjoyed the hike because we learned the story of the oasis. Native American legend tells about a group of people that were lacking male babies. A medicine man taught the people to plant a palm tree each time a baby boy was born. These trees sprung up strong and straight, and many more babies were born to the people.

We thought these signs were very interesting and informative.
The palm tress get much taller than Joshua Trees.

There was also some good wildlife to see at the Oasis of Mara. We saw quite a few birds, including the phainopepla, or “black cardinal,” that is native to the area. We also spotted hummingbirds and a spotted towhee.

Anna’s Hummingbird
Phainopepla
Cactus Wren
Oasis of Mara is a great family stop.

This hike is a great place to get out of the car and stretch your legs before you enter the park and the longer hikes begin. Just don’t confuse the administrative offices for the Visitor Center! There are restrooms here for public use. And if you are looking for other family friendly trails in Joshua Tree, check out this post.

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