The main road through the length of Joshua Tree National Park is open once again. As of November 1, visitors can travel the spectacular Pinto Basin Road for the first time since violent storms cut off access September 13 (see photos of the damage here). That storm, which dumped three inches of rain on the basin and adjacent areas, created flash floods that removed the road in several places along its length, most critically in a small canyon south of the Cottonwood Springs Visitor Center.
That Visitor Center is now open as well, as are a few four-wheel-drive road spurs running off Pinto Basin Road. The Cottonwood Campground and Cottonwood Springs Oasis, both of which are still being repaired from significant damage done by the storm, remain closed for the time being.
The National Park Service cautions that though Pinto Basin Road is open once again, it is unpaved in several sections -- presumably through some of the Pinto Basin washes that carried flash floods across the old roadbed. The Park Service encourages drivers to exercise caution and drive at safe speeds through the unpaved sections, good advice even on the unimpaired sections of this winding, two-lane road. Locals taking advantage of this shorter route between 29 Palms and the Coachella Valley often drive faster than is advisable, so stay alert and take time to enjoy the freshly watered scenery.
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