Joshua Tree National Park braces for crowds amid holidays

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Joshua Tree Crowds

FILE - In this Jan. 10, 2019 file photo people visit Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California's Mojave Desert. Joshua Tree National Park is gearing up for the huge crowds drawn to the Southern California desert during the holidays. The National Park Service says the period from late December through Jan. 1 brings some of the busiest days, and campgrounds and parking lots will likely be full. At times, the park becomes drive-through-only because there are no more parking spaces. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong,File)

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) — Joshua Tree National Park is gearing up for the huge crowds drawn to the Southern California desert during the holidays.

The National Park Service says the period from late December through Jan. 1 brings some of the busiest days, and campgrounds and parking lots will likely be full.

At times, the park becomes drive-through-only because there are no more parking spaces.

Visitors are advised to avoid driving in between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. because entrance station lines are at their peak during those hours.

The park says using the Twentynine Palms entrance is a way to avoid the line at the entrance near the town of Joshua Tree.

Recent years have seen a big increase in annual attendance at Joshua Tree National Park, which straddles the Mojave and Colorado deserts 140 miles (225 kilometers) east of Los Angeles.

A similar alternative destination is the Mojave National Preserve, which lies to the north.