Wild Lands of the West | The BLM, National Geographic Magazine: Joshua Trees In Virgin River Gorge

Tall desert plant stands stately with pink clouds in the evening blue sky.

Joshua trees dot the high desert landscape in the Virgin River Gorge in southwestern Utah. Pastel pink clouds signal the last minutes of daylight in the rugged wilderness. The gorge connects the southwestern rim of the Colorado Plateau with the northeastern edge of the Mojave Desert.

The fast-growing Joshua tree is a native plant related to the Yucca and has an extensive root system that can extend 36 feet from the main plant. It is difficult to determine the age of a tree due to the small fibers that lack annual growth rings.

The location is near the border of Utah in Arizona’s Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument.