Joshua trees in the southwest are undergoing a magnificent “once-in-a-lifetime” bloom right now, but there’s one popular day hike in Joshua Tree National Park where you’re not going to see them.
Park officials closed Rattlesnake Canyon to the public Monday because of persistent vandalism. They will reevaluate the closure on April 30, said a news release.
From their statement:
Since January, individuals have defaced the day-use and canyon area of Rattlesnake Canyon with graffiti. While this started as a few markings, social media posts appear to have sparked numerous individuals' interest in adding to the vandalism of this scenic canyon. The continued malicious desecration of Joshua Tree National Park has now affected archeological sites.
This is the most recent incident in a spate of vandalism that has plagued the park. In February the park closed access to historic Barker Dam because of graffiti etched into its face. Last year it was discovered that some unscrupulous climbers had vandalized an area known as the "Underground Chasm" by gouging steps into the rock and leaving "hundreds of illegally placed bolts, fixed rope, burnt Joshua trees, [and] stashed camping and climbing gear," according to National Parks Traveler.
Besides certain noisy reptiles of the same name, Rattlesnake Canyon is a rugged stretch known among boulderers for its "Wonderland of Rocks."