Visit Joshua Tree National Park
Of course, the main attraction when visiting the Joshua Tree is to see the tree itself. You can find many places while traveling, but no better place to see the trees than Joshua Tree National Park itself. The park has some great short day hikes and attractions, including the following favorites:
Arch lock – As soon as I entered the park, I headed to Arch Rock. It was something I really wanted to see and experience with the recommendation of a friend. The arch is just a 10-minute walk from the parking lot and is actually even more impressive.
Caps Lock – If you’re looking for the perfect sunset spot, there’s nothing better than Caprock.
Hidden Valley – For a short hike in the park, it’s best to start in the Hidden Valley.
Ryan Mountain – Another spectacular sunset spot is Mount Ryan, where you hike to the end.
49 Palms Canyon Trail – If you’re planning a visit to overcome the heat (early morning), 49 Palms is a great one-hour hike (return) to the oasis.
Skull Rock – If you’re not tired of the formations, this will surely impress you. The rock is in the shape of a skull and is a very popular attraction because it is on the side of the road.
Stop at Pioneertown
Built as a Hollywood set in the 1940s, Pioneertown is a small town that takes place at night and is well worth a visit if you want to get a little quirky on your trip. Stables, halls, prisons, motels, and all sorts of tools make up this small town, which was used as a movie set in the 1940s and 1950s.
The main attraction of today’s town is Puppy and Harriet’s Pioneertown PalaceHome to traditional town cuisine such as live music and burgers, ribs, and as much grease as the stomach can handle.
Insider Secrets: Garth’s Boulder Garden
If you’re looking for something a little more quirky, follow these specific steps to reach a world other than the current world: Garth’s Boulder Gardens.
Created over 30 years ago, the garden is a sanctuary for communities, crystals and quirky outdoor settlements. Many locals have never heard of it, but gardens are becoming more and more popular as a secret oasis for visitors to the Joshua Tree to look for and explore.
The garden is 20 minutes north of Pioneertown. Look for the welcome sign (pictured below). Then you are heading in the right direction. Follow the road when you come across several caravans and amphitheaters and continue in the same direction until you reach the end of the road. It’s done! Arrived.
The iconic tent is where Garth has lived for over 30 years, creating a community atmosphere around which many people come and go over the years.
Where to eat, drink and shop in Joshua Tree
The town of Joshua Tree itself is quite small, but there are plenty of things to see around the town, including vintage shopping, a huge antique market, and a variety of eateries (vegan choices too!). Our favorite discoveries around the town:
Frontier Cafe – A favorite lunch spot that I visited frequently twice daily! The vegan avocado sandwich was a big hit. It’s also a great place to charge and use Wi-Fi when camping or when you don’t have a power source.
Crossroads Cafe – Great option for vegan food, especially lunch and dinner! The Thai tofu salad was so delicious that I came back twice!
Joshua Tree Coffee Company – The best cafes in town themselves have taken over the facilities. Please drop in to pick us up!
Tips for getting the most out of your visit
Below are some useful tips to find out when to visit, how much time you need in town, and some local insider tips we picked up along the way.
Early spring (March / April) visits are more desirable if you are looking for a milder climate to get the most out of your trails and rock climbing. When summer is late and autumn begins (late October to November), wildflowers bloom in the desert. This is also a great time for photographers, as the soft light illuminates the sky. If you’re looking forward to the summer sunshine, the bonus of visiting in July / August is that the crowd is much smaller, cheaper, and more local experience before the crowd returns.
We had a long weekend at Joshua Tree (a few days). This was ideal for the overall experience, but it certainly was very busy from sunrise to sunset! If you want to spend more time and relax on the campfire side, 4-5 nights is ideal.