Here are 12 Animals We Saw When Hiking in Joshua Tree National Park

The Joshua Tree National Park is a great place for hiking. There are many locations which provide good facilities and the opportunity to enjoy some spectacular views. Fall makes the experience that much more magical!

On a recent hike in Joshua Tree National Park I had the rare privilege to see some rarely-seen wildlife. During my hike through Hidden Valley, I saw two adult coyotes while hiking on one of the many trails. There are several other wildlife species that can be seen here as well such as foxes, bobcats, hawks, deer and rabbits.

Here are 12 animals we saw while hiking in this stunning part of America!


The coyote is a medium-sized carnivorous mammal native to North America. It occurs throughout much of the continent, save for the Pacific Northwest, Great Basin and arid regions of the southwest.

Coyotes are found in every major type of American habitat from tundra to tropical rainforest, including urban areas. They also live in close association with humans, who provide abundant food through waste disposal practices that may be detrimental to the coyote’s health.

In Joshua Tree National Park, coyotes are most often observed near campgrounds and picnic areas where people feed them. Coyotes are scavengers and will eat almost anything – carrion (dead or decaying flesh), fruit from trees and bushes, birds’ eggs, small rodents and reptiles.

Desert Cottontail 

Desert Cottontail are native to the Mojave Desert and can be found throughout the Joshua Tree National Park. They are rabbits that live in burrows, so they don’t need to drink water like other desert animals do. They eat grasses, seeds and other plants. Their fur is brown with black spots on their back and white on their belly.

These rabbits can often be found near streams or other sources of water where they will dig for roots or tubers.

The cottontails in the park will spend most of their time underground during summer months when temperatures are highest. They may be seen above ground during cooler parts of the day or at night while they feed on vegetation close to their burrows or shelter sites such as logs or rocks.


The bobcat is a medium sized wild cat that weighs between 20 and 30 pounds when they are fully grown. They can grow up to 3 feet long from their head to the tip of their tail, which is longer than most house cats! Their fur can vary from yellowish gray to brown, with spots on their coat depending on where they live.

The bobcat is one of the most common animals found in the joshua tree national park because it’s very adaptable, meaning that it can live anywhere regardless of how harsh conditions are like in the desert or how cold it gets at night in colder areas during winter months.

The bobcats diet consists mostly of small animals like rabbits, birds, insects and other mammals such as raccoons, squirrels and mice.

Gray Fox

Gray Fox are seen in the Joshua Tree National Park. They are nocturnal animals, so you will only see them at night.

You can see them on the road side at night, though they are more active during dawn and dusk hours.

Gray Foxes are omnivorous animals that feed on many types of food including fruits, vegetables and insects as well as small mammals such as mice and rabbits. They will also eat carrion if it is available and even human food scraps if necessary!

Desert Kit Fox 

Desert Kit Fox are seen in the Joshua Tree National park. These foxes are one of the smallest known fox species, with a body length of about 300mm and weighing only 500g.

They have long legs and large ears, which help them retain heat in the hot desert climate. The fur is white with black stripes on the back and tail, which help them blend into their surroundings.

The Desert Kit Fox lives in burrows dug under bushes or in rock crevices, where they are well hidden from predators such as coyotes or mountain lions.

The foxes usually hunt at night when they can see better than during the day. They eat small rodents, lizards, frogs and insects such as beetles or grasshoppers.

California Black Bear 

The California black bear is a subspecies of the American black bear. It is the largest land mammal in California, and it can be found in the state’s mountain ranges.

The California black bear has a wide range of habitats, including forests, mountains and meadows. It is also found in coastal scrublands and semi-deserts. The color of its fur can vary greatly.

California black bears are omnivores and eat both plants and animals. They’ll eat roots, berries, insects, fish, small mammals and carrion (the dead bodies of other animals). They’ll also raid campsites looking for food – they love a good bag of potato chips or candy bar!

American Badger  

The American badger is nocturnal and spends most of its time underground or in burrows. It is solitary except for mothers with young and occasionally during mating season.

They are found in a variety of habitats, including deserts, prairies, open woodlands, grasslands and forests. They dig extensive systems of tunnels and dens. These tunnels are used to store food and provide shelter from extreme temperatures. The entrances to these tunnels are often marked by mounds of dirt or debris on the surface above them.

American badgers eat mostly insects such as beetles, caterpillars and ants; they also eat small mammals such as mice, squirrels and rabbits. They will sometimes feed on dead animals that they find lying around on the ground or in their burrows.

Western Spotted Skunk 

Western Spotted skunks are seen in the Joshua Tree National Park. The species is a native to Southern California and Northern Mexico. They are small and have nocturnal behavior, preferring to be active at night. They have a wide variety of diets including insects, small mammals and plants.

The Western Spotted Skunk is one of three species of skunk found in California (the other two being the Striped Skunk and Hognose Skunk). It has a dark brown coat with white spots on it’s back and sides, giving it its name. The tail is bordered with black fur, while the underbelly is lighter colored than the rest of the body. Their average weight is about 1 pound (0.45kg).

Southern Mule Deer

The southern part of Joshua Tree National Park includes the Pinto Basin Wilderness Area, where you might see these deer in open areas as well as along trails through rocky canyons.

The northern part of Joshua Tree National Park contains several mountain ranges that have higher elevations than those found elsewhere in the park, so they tend to be cooler during summer months.

This area also has a greater diversity of plant life than other parts of the park, which attracts more animals such as mule deer and bighorn sheep.

Black-Throated Sparrow 

The Black-Throated Sparrow is a small sparrow native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. It is one of the most common birds in Joshua Tree National Park, and is often heard singing its song from atop a Joshua tree or scrub oak.

The Black-Throated Sparrow has a white belly, black throat and black breast bordered with white stripes. The back is brownish gray with black streaks on top. The tail is long and pointed. Both sexes look alike but males are slightly larger than females.

Gambel’s Quail 

Gambel’s Quail are seen in the Joshua Tree National Park.

The Gambel’s Quail is a small bird native to North America. It is a ground-dwelling species found in desert shrub lands, open woodlands and grasslands. The scientific name honors William Gambel, an American naturalist who collected specimens for John James Audubon. It is the only species of quail that can be found in the United States.

The quail is about 12 inches long and its wingspan is about 15 inches. It weighs around 200 grams. Its body plumage is mostly brown with black barring on its backs and flanks, chestnut cap and white face markings. Its wings are marked with black bars as well as white patches on its primary feathers. The tail feathers are dark brown with white tips at their ends. Its bill is short and black while its legs are pink-colored like those of other perching birds such as hawks or turkeys.

The Gambel’s Quail has a variety of vocalizations including alarm calls, contact notes, chattering sounds made by females during nesting season, and territorial calls made by males during mating season or when intruders enter.

Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vultures are seen in the joshua tree national park. They are scavengers, which means they eat dead things. They often hunt with other Turkey Vultures and even other animals like coyotes to find food.

Turkey Vultures are black and white with a bald head. They are very large birds but only about 20 inches tall. The turkey vulture is found all over North America and can be seen nesting in Joshua Tree National Park.

Turkey vultures have a very keen sense of smell, which helps them find their meals. When they find something dead, they land and sit on it until it’s ready to eat!


Joshua Tree is a stunning national park, with visitors and locals alike flocking to its many hiking trails throughout the year. The variety of flora and fauna found here is staggering, and it’s hard not to fall in love with this beautiful and unique place.

Hopefully, this post has given you some insight into the myriad of wildlife that can be found in Joshua Tree National Park. This park is a haven for animal lovers everywhere.

2 thoughts on “Here are 12 Animals We Saw When Hiking in Joshua Tree National Park”

  1. I love the beautiful pictures, however, is this article saying these people saw all of these animals on one hiking trip? I’ve hiked many of our National Forest, I’ve seen many extraordinary animals……but I’ve never seen everyone a forest might have to offer in one day. Eh, just asking, seemed a bit of a brag, smile

    1. Thanks for the comment Kathy. Glad you liked the photographs!! Always encouraging to hear something nice 🙂
      Oh absolutely not on a single trip!! haha. Iv spent a month there and seen nothing, at times. Sorry if it came out that way. This is maybe over 2 summers worth of exploring 🙂

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