Joshua Tree National Park
Visiting Joshua Tree National Park to camp, RV or just drive through? Below is some information that might be helpful.
Joshua Tree National Park is a respite melting pot. From the trendy LA 20 something’s bearing fedoras and Patagonia vests to tenting campers and fancy glampers you will find it all. One thing you will not find is service…for your cellphone or your RV. Be prepared to REALLY camp.
Sounds funny coming from someone that has been living in an RV full time…but its soo true. Camping is WAY different than living in an RV with full hook ups. More on that in a different post…but for now you can find some pro tips on how to make the most of your trip to Joshua Tree below.
You should also know there are several ways to take on Joshua Tree. You can make it a day trip or camp for up to 14 days. If you are staying outside of the park or diving deep for several days…be sure to stop by the visitor center. They will be able to tell you up-to-date information on hikes, highlights and give you a lay of the land.
If you plan to stay outside the park check out 29 Palms RV resort or stay in neighboring Palm Springs (Happy Trails) and make Joshua Tree a day adventure. If you are coming in late and need a place to stage for an early morning entry there is a Walmart very close to the main entrance as well as an Elks Club (membership required) down the street. We always like to use ALLSTAYS to help us find good places to boonedock and more when researching a new area.
Want a flashback to the 50’s, U2’s Album cover or feel like you are in a real life Dr. Seuss book? Then stay in the park! As mentioned previously, you can stay up to 14 days but you will need to be prepared as there are no hook ups for your rig. There are to camp sites in the park that accept reservations. Visit the Joshua Tree site for more info. Otherwise, it’s a first come first serve situation and the people that came to our site on Friday morning ended up flipping a coin. Get in the park early for the best luck!
Pro Tips so you are ready for Joshua Tree!
Firewood and Coal
Surprisingly you are allowed to have a campfire, on your site, in a designated ring (unless otherwise advised by park ranger). Each site (in Jumbo Rock) also comes with a grill and table so no need lug your outdoor kitchen if you are tenting it…just remember coals.
Because of the environment there is really no natural shade. If setting up an outdoor eating/hangout area is your thing…then think about brining a pop up shade structure. We have individual chair shades but noticed quite a few campers with square pop up shade over the provided picnic table.
**Most sites are bordered by large boulders making it tricky for RV’s to get close enough to use their awning.
Layers! The weather will heat up in the afternoons and down right chill your bones at night. Layer up to keep warm and you will be ready to take on the day into the night. Here’s a link to get seasonal weather for Joshua Tree. The sunset is like the call of the wild and you will see everyone climbing the rocks to soak in the best views.
Make sure to fuel up before you head into the park. Like most national parks, Joshua Tree is massive; Adding up to over 1,200 square miles of desert beauty.
Joshua Tree just might be the quietest nation park we have ever visited. So it’s nice to know that there are generator hours. If you are not equipped with a generator you will want to be stocked up with headlamps and a few solar powered lights for the table eating area. Defiantly turn all that off later in the evening so you can take in the amazing stars!
Bike, Hike, Boulder and Wheelchairs too? YES!
The park ranger said there were several places to mt. bike…however; we had a bit of a spill ending in butterfly stitches so our biking dreams ended quickly. It’s not a bad idea to check the status of your first aid kit and make sure it’s up to pair. Here are our thoughts on an RV First Aid Kit. Make sure you ask the visitor center for specific trails for all your needs. Because of the size of Joshua Tree you will want to know your plan before you head 20 miles in the wrong direction. The hiking is mostly low and windy but what it lacks in uphill vigor you will be rewarded with in exquisite displays of desert. Take time to explore all of the different plants you encounter. If you are a rock-climbing enthusiast this is your homeland! Have a blast and take some pictures of the view from up there! If you have a disability or are traveling with someone that is not able to hike etc. Joshua Tree is wonderful to explore by car as well. There is also a drive up lookout area perched high above the Coachella Valley showing off Palm Springs and the Salton Sea.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this blog to know if it adds value and something we should keep doing for each episode. Let us know what you think in the comments below and we’ll see you next weekend!
Looking for even more? Check out Tori’s take on her blog. Or check out the video below.