Vandalism forces closure of Rattlesnake Canyon at Joshua Tree park

Recent vandalism to rocks and walls at Rattlesnake Canyon has prompted officials at Joshua Tree National Park to close the popular trail temporarily to protect it from further damage.

The problem has been building since January, beginning with a few spray-painted markings and scratching in the day use and canyon areas of Rattlesnake Canyon. Officials believe that the defacing has escalated as vandals have used social media to brag about their actions.

Damage has now affected archaeological sites, and park officials say they don’t have the resources to quickly clean the rocks. While the canyon is being restored, the entire day-use area of Rattlesnake Canyon from the day-use closure gate to the top of the canyon is closed to public entry until April 30.

Joshua Tree officials say they will reevaluate the closure at the end of the month.

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