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Lee Flat Joshua Tree Forest (Helpful Guide + Video)

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When most folks think about the park for Joshua Trees, Joshua Tree National Park is the one that comes to mind. Well, it turns out Death Valley has massive Joshua Tree forests. Perhaps none of them are as large as the Lee Flat Joshua Tree Forest located near the west entrance to the park.

Lee Flat is situated at a much higher elevation than the valley floors and as such has a very different feel. Temperatures can be 20 or more degrees different from what visitors find at Badwater Basin.

I first visited Lee Flat Joshua Tree Forest back in 2018 while creating a film (see below) and Death Valley National Park. Since then I’ve been back many times to see this magical spot.

Lee Flat Joshua Tree Forest Death Valley
Lee Flat Joshua Tree Forest after sunset at Death Valley

Sunset is an especially beautiful time to visit this area to watch the light turn colors and sweep across this vast landscape.

Lee Flat Map Location

Things to Know Before Visiting Lee Flat Joshua Tree Forest

Entrance Fees: $30 per vehicle OR if you plan to visit more National Parks within the next 12 months we suggest you go ahead and purchase the America the Beautiful Pass (which you can purchase here). This pass gets you into all National Parks, Forests, Monuments, and more including 2,000 sites for free after a one time $79 fee.

Sunscreen: Use it. Lots of it. Especially this one which we never leave the house without because it plays nice with our dear friend, earth 🙂

Gas: Fuel up before you enter the park (even if you’re at like 3/4 of a tank) because the park is massive (we’re talking the largest in the contiguous 48 states). You do not want to run out of gas in the desert.

Cell Service is spotty in the park at best. There is no service at Lee Flat.

Death Valley Guide Book: This is the guide book we found most helpful for visiting the park & this one for day hikes.

The Best Map: We like this map best for Death Valley.

Water: Drink it. Lots of it. Don’t forget it in the car.

Four Wheel Drive: While we saw some vehicles that definitely weren’t four wheel drive when we visited Lee Flat it’s a good idea to have a car that’s at least all wheel drive. It’s not an absolute must but we highly recommend it.

Best Time to Visit Lee Flat

The best time to visit Lee Flat Joshua Tree Forest is around sunset to watch the light sweep across the landscape. With that being said, sunrise is also a great time as the sun rises from across the valley. Another great time is at night to watch the dazzling night sky

Death Valley National Park Guide

Yep, we created a beautiful, comprehensive guide to Death Valley National Park. It’s totally free and just for you with beautiful photos, videos, and more.

Visiting Lee Flat Joshua Tree Forest

We highly recommend a 4WD or AWD vehicle for visiting this area of the park. To get there you have to leave the park from the Panamint Springs entrance and drive North up Saline Valley road for several miles on a dirt road. There are Joshua Trees all over the place up there, not just in the area known as Lee Flat.

Lee Flat Joshua Tree Forest Death Valley
Sunset at Lee Flat Joshua Tree Forest

If you keep driving past Lee Flat Joshua Tree Forest toward Hunter Mountain there are great views and more Joshua Trees. In fact, if you drive far enough down Saline Valley Road you’ll even find conifers!

This is a great spot to escape the blistering heat from the Valley floor and can feature temperatures 20 degrees cooler than what you’ll find in the valley.

Death Valley Video Featuring Lee Flat

If you’re visiting Death Valley ya just gotta take 3 minutes and watch the (award-winning) film we made based on our trips to the park.

See Lee Flat in our Death Valley Video

Death Valley Photos

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Will Pattiz

Co-founder of More Than Just Parks. Husband. Conservationist. Currently living in NYC.

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