Joshua Tree National Park: Cottonwood Campground Reopens, Wildflowers Bloom Early

Watching the sunset at Cottonwood Campground | Photo: °Florian/Flickr/Creative Commons License

Cottonwood Campground in the low desert region of Joshua Tree National Park is once again open after a five-month closure. The popular camping area was badly hit by a monsoon-like thunderstorm in mid-September that buckled Pinto Basin Road and flooded campsites (see photos of the damage here).

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Additionally, an interpretive trail from Cottonwood Campground to Cottonwood Spring Oasis has reopened. The only area that remains closed is a small portion of Cottonwood Canyon below the spring.

Despite the damage, all that water created some winter scenery. "One benefit from last fall's rain is the presence of early spring wildflowers in the southern part of Joshua Tree National Park," read a press release. "More than 60 species of desert wildflowers are blooming in the area," including a notable amount of - at least as of a February 6th bloom report - desert star vine, chuparosa, burroweed/white bursage, bladderpod and brittlebush.

For more on wildflowers in the desert, check out this story.

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About the Author

Zach Behrens is KCET's Director of News, Region and State, working on digital and on-air news products that relate to Southern California and beyond.
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