Joshua Tree National Park
Your Ultimate Weekend Guide //
Out of LA and into Joshua Tree, CA
Whether you need to get Out of LA for the weekend, are visiting from abroad, or are on an epic road trip, this desert oasis offers travelers a chance to reconnect spiritually with the beautiful natural world around them.
From majestic sunsets, to seeing the Milky Way, and simply soaking in the all the spiritual-feels and good vibes, you will have the opportunity to accept life at its simplest at Joshua Tree National Park.
This desert oasis offers travelers a chance to reconnect spiritually with the beautiful natural world around them. From majestic sunsets, to open sandy stretches, you will have the opportunity to accept life at its simplest.
There is a lot of cool history to be discovered in Joshua Tree. Whether you stumble upon an old miner’s house, discover Native American relics left behind in the granite, head out to enjoy nature, or are on a journey to find yourself spiritually, you will certainly be grateful to have experienced the awesome anthropology of J-tree.
125 miles east of Los Angeles lies the otherworldly landscape and artist haven of Joshua Tree, California. Three hours door-to-door (with a stop at In-N-Out along the way), this unique desert charm is the perfect setting for creative inspiration, a spiritual retreat, or just a fun weekend getaway.
How To Get To Joshua Tree//
Head East on the 10 freeway to Palm Springs. Then you’ll take the 62 East to Joshua Tree. Joshua Tree National Park is easily accessible off Highway 62 via Park Blvd, which becomes Quail Springs Road and runs straight to the gate.
When To Go //
Peak Season: Spring & Autumn
Low Season: Summer
Tips For When You Are There //
The entrance fee is $20 per vehicle and is good for re-entry for 7 days.
There little to no cell service in the park, so if you plan on meeting up with friends make a plan to meet up with them at the ranger station.
You could always plan on meeting at a specific camp ground; however, if you can’t get a spot and you move along to the next campground, you run the risk of not finding them.
What To Do // Explore
The main attraction of a visit to Joshua Tree is the awe-inspiring nature of the US National Park. The unique terrain is full of dramatic rock formations, wandering trails, and vast expanses of Joshua trees. Make sure you climb up some boulders to find ample opportunities for photo-ops.
Chill Trails //
These trails are not strenuous and can be completed with any sort of footwear.
Barker Damn Loop, 1.8 miles, incline of 70 feet
This simple trail is great for last minute sunset hikes or as a short stop for those breaking their way into hiking in desert heat; it also offers a rare view of water in the desert.
Arch Rock, 0.3 miles, no incline
There is no trail easier than this in Joshua Tree, which is why there’s absolutely no reason to miss this photo op! This trail leads to a natural arch that can frame your vacation photo.
Skull Rock, 1.7 miles, no incline
Located in Jumbo Rocks Campground. Erosion led to the creation of two hollowed-out sockets in this rock creating the appearance of a skull. This quick hike is a favorite and is great for photos!
Moderate Hikes //
These trails are for those who are somewhat experienced hikers with higher endurance and ability level. These trails may be lengthy or have higher inclines.
Ryan Mountain, 3 miles, incline 1,100 feet
This hike offers a panoramic view of the Wonderland Rocks, Mount San Jacinto, and the Pinto Basin. In order to reach this dynamic lookout, you climb up numerous stone steps that wrap around the side of the mountain.
These trails are intended only for those who are well-experienced hikers that can recognize the possible risks of trails as well as how to avoid or address any safety hazards. These hikers should also ensure they have proper gear and adequate water for the hike’s length or difficulty.
Queen Mountain, 4 miles, incline 1,121 feet
This hike is not commonly traveled and requires the use of a map and compass. It offers 360 degree views from the peak, as well as numerous boulder-scrambling opportunities for those who enjoy a trail challenge.
If you yourself are not a rock climber, bring friends who are! This is an excellent site to learn how to climb outdoors, but you need to be careful; climbing is dangerous so only try with experienced climbers and make sure you have proper gear and instruction before trying things on your own.
Before the sunlight completely disappears, park at Jumbo Rocks Campground and venture off the path, into the sea of boulders. Continue on and set up a camp of blankets on a small vista to eat your picnic for dinner as the stars slowly begin to shine and dance for you.
If you are coming from the light-pollution of a city like Los Angeles, the dramatic night sky will be a special vision! The majestic star-scape made for another brilliant photo opportunity, and you may even be lucky like us and see think you will too. No matter what, this is a glorious view and experience you’ll be raving about for years down the road.
Visit Pioneertown & Pappy and Harriet’s
Pioneer town is an old Western town movie set is the perfect place to stroll and take photos at sunset.
While you are there, stop by Pappy and Harriet’s for dinner. Pappy and Harriet’s is bursting with positive reviews from friends and Airbnb hosts. The dusty roadhouse and music venue is a perfect watering hole for a glass of whisky and a plate of ribs. They also have open mic night, so you should check online to ensure you don’t miss any amazing local talent; if you’re brave enough, you should sign up too!
Experience a Sound-bath at the Integraton
A trip to Joshua Tree isn’t complete without some form of spiritual awakening or at least some mental rejuvenation. GetOutofLA suggests visiting the Integratron, which lies only 16 miles north of Joshua Tree National Park in Landers, CA.
First, you will check in with a long grey-haired and bearded man who offers the promise of an authentic experience and an endeavor that will truly affect your soul. Check out the surrounding hammock camp and fill up on the fresh well water but don’t forget to stop off at the restrooms! You don’t want a full bladder ruining your sound-bath experience.
Next, head towards the dome and adventure up the wooden ladder that leads to a loft in the top of the picturesque white dome. The floor will be neatly laid out with yoga-mats and Mexican blankets, with one section of the floor reserved for your Pilot and their cock-pit of crystal bowls of various sizes.
As you tuck yourself in, on top of mats and under colorful, Mexican blankets, make sure you are comfortable as you await the deep relaxation and magic of The Integratron. Whether it brings you to an inner peacefulness, to a past life (or lives!), allows you for a visit with those who have passed on, or you simply feel the nostalgia for preschool naptime, the Integratron will take you THERE!
The Pilot of you session may begin by warning all of the snorers out there to NOT SNORE, due to the acoustics of the dome; unfortunately, it would ruin everyone’s Sound Bath. Then your Pilot, will begin to slowly rub the crystal bowls laid before him, sending sound reverberations up the walls of the dome and around the room. The frequencies of the “sound bath” will wash over you, clearing your mind and relaxing your body.
The hour-long session leads one on a personal journey and into a deep meditative state, through various stages of consciousness, awareness, and even different galaxies.
2477 Belfield Blvd., Landers, CA 92285. $25/session. Reservations required.
WHERE TO STAY//SLEEP
Economic Explorers $
Campgrounds of Joshua Tree National Park, CA: $15-$20/night
Since visiting Joshua Tree is really an experience of becoming one with nature and the world around you, camping is the best way to do it! Camp sites without water are available for booking at just $15/night and those with potable water available are $20/night.
Black Rock Campground and Indian Cove Campground are the only campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park that accept reservations, and only during the months of October through May. The rest of the year and the rest of the campgrounds are all first-come, first-served. So plan on getting there early! For the more adventurous folk, backcountry camping, for those who wish to backpack, is permitted with a few regulations.
Middle of the Roaders $$
The Rising Sun Tipi, Joshua Tree : $135-175, sleeps 2
The Rising Sun Tipi at Lazy Sky Boutique Retreat offers the comforts of a real queen size bed as well as a cooler to store any drinks or snacks you have! This tipi also sets the scene by being fully decorated with a mixture of Native American and Southwestern styles. The seasonal firepit allows you a great outdoor space to sit back and share some brew with friends. The on site facilities area is shared with 5 other structures but has a full kitchen equipped with dining utensils, and the bathroom includes an outdoor shower and two toilets.
Mustang Cabin, Joshua Tree, CA: $150/night, sleeps 3
If you want the epic-ness of staying on a property with this vintage Airstream, but still have the amenities and comforts of home, check out Mustang Cabin at Rattler Ranch. A simple yet tasteful setup that included a kitchenette, wood-burning stove, fit with an outdoor patio with a bbq and fire pit – perfect for making s’mores. Though there are two other houses on the property, your privacy is maintained and you won’t feel infringed upon at all.
Pros: visited by numerous artists and musicians in tradition of U2
Cons: 3 houses on property
JT House Views, Joshua Tree, CA: $155/night, sleeps 2
This is the closest option that we have found to the entrance of the park. It’s a spacious 1 Bedroom, the perfect retreat for a couple or single person only. Has fantastic views and you can hike directly from the front door. House is less than a mile from the Park entrance. Perfect place to recharge your batteries and explore Joshua Tree.
Pros: 1 mile from the national park; modern yet rustic vibes
Cons: 2 guest max
Splendor Seekers $$$
On AirBnb the options are endless and super cute, you can find rustic desert homesteads, mid-century tiki huts, teepees and airstreams. The best housing options are further away from the main highway (62) as they occupy larger plots of land for privacy, playing your music loud and wandering.
Saguaro Hideaway in Joshua Tree, Joshua Tree, CA: $175 per night, sleeps up to 6.
This charming mid-century adobe is a bright and airy little artist haven. It’s the perfect spot for your next peaceful getaway. The house sits on 5 acres of land with stunning desert and boulder views in every direction.
Pick a window in the house and catch a gorgeous sunset cascading down the nearby mountain range or relax outside on the patio at night and get lost in the star filled sky. This cozy little adobe was built in 1956 and has artful touches throughout; musical instruments, plants and books! Great for artists, writers and families.
Pros: artistic, indie vibes that are so true to Joshua Tree
Cons: shared property – other house available for rent
Joshua Tree House, Joshua Tree, CA: $198/night, sleeps 6
The Joshua Tree House is a two bed two bath 1949 hacienda located near the west entrance of Joshua Tree National Park in Joshua Tree, CA. Watch the sunrise from the front porch, or star gaze from the hot tub while surrounded by over 100 Joshua trees!
Pros: super cute design
Cons: on main road, might not get the “lost-in-space Joshua Tree-vibe” that some are seeking out there
The Off-grid itHouse, Pioneer Town, CA: $380 per night, sleeps up to four.
This Off-grid itHouse is a the dynamic product of raw industrialism and green-friendly design. There is intentionally no wifi or television to ensure the vacationers are fully experiencing the beauty of the California high desert.
Pros: clearly a winner since it was featured in LA Times and as one of the ‘Best Homes in America’
Cons: no wifi or television
WHERE TO EAT OR DRINK//
It can be tricky to find some great food out in the middle of the desert, but GetOutofLA knows a couple of options outside of Pappy and Harriet’s. Due to the limited amount of restaurants, these places provide full breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu options!
The Crossroads Café
This great spot can be busy during the mornings but that goes to show how nice this place is. With friendly staff and bountiful plates of food, you’ll belly will surely leave satisfied. The quirky layout and great location make this stop a local favorite and fun for any who are passing through. The best part is, they also offer vegan and gluten free options, so everyone is happy! 61715 29 Palms Highway, Joshua Tree, CA 92252
Pappy and Harriets
Pappy and Harriet’s is bursting with positive reviews from friends and Airbnb hosts. The dusty roadhouse and music venue is a perfect watering hole for a glass of whisky and a plate of ribs. They also have open mic night, so you should check online to ensure you don’t miss any amazing local talent; if you’re brave enough, you should sign up too! 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown, CA 92268
Joshua Tree Saloon
The Joshua Tree Saloon can provide you with the cool beer you need after spending a day of awakening in the desert sun. The popularity of this pub is clear considering the inside is made to look like an old 1800s saloon. Although it can get a little noisy, the great burgers and live music really get you in the mood for some great conversation anyways! This location also offers a wide selection of food with options for vegans. 61835 29 Palms Highway, Joshua Tree, CA 92252