Joshua Tree Travel Guide by Wanderlist Travel
Joshua Tree is bordered by a handful of eclectic towns with an array of shops, bars and restaurant/cafes in the middle of a vast wilderness and is home to a large national park.
Joshua Tree National Park
This desert playground has over 550,000 acres of wilderness filled with a variety of plants and animals, and unique landscapes for hiking and climbing.
Cholla Cactus Garden: One of the most beautiful sites in the park with more than a thousand densely packed chollas. Arrive well before sunset to see the backlit needles glow as the mountains in the distance provide the perfect backdrop. Be care of the “jumping chollas” as their needles will attach themselves to anything nearby
Hidden Valley Nature Trail: One of the most beautiful areas of Joshua Tree perfect for a short hike or to wander around trees and rock formations
Keys View: One of the highest points in the park, Keys Views provides a lookout point at an elevation of more than 5,000 feet
Arch Rock: A short 0.5-mile loop with lots of large rock formations to climb on brings you to this famous arch rock
Skull Rock: This skull shaped rock is a favourite stop and is visible off the main road
Ryan Mountain: A moderately tough hike up one of the prominent, centrally-located peaks of the national park
Intersection Rock: One of the most famous climbing rocks in the park
Jumbo Rock Playground: Rock formations surround the campsites and is perfect for climbing and exploring
Hall of Horrors: A popular spot in the park for climbers featuring more than a dozen routes
Shop: Vintage & Other
The End: A designer resale boutique jam-packed with contemporary and vintage finds
Hoof and the Horn: Get your desert boho look here with an eclectic mix of contemporary and vintage finds
Pioneer Crossing Antique: This antique store has lots of amazing finds from vintage housewares, jewelry and other one-of-a-kind treasures
Ricochet Vintage Wear: This shop is full of fun and funky clothing, shoes and accessories with pieces from the 40s through to the 80s
Morongo Valley Cactus Mart: A plant emporium featuring cacti, succulents, tools, supplies, decor, and more! You’re able to ‘dig your own cactus’ to bring home for yourself or as a gift for friends/family
Restaurants & Cafes
Joshua Tree Coffee: Roasted in small batches in Joshua Tree & is served in most restaurants in town. Try: Nitro cold brew
Natural Sisters: Natural, organic, plant based and locally sourced food and drinks. Try: breakfast burrito, fresh pressed juices, apple muffins
Crossroads Cafe: Local vegetarian friendly diner with great burgers, chili, sandwiches, and good beer on tap
The Saloon: Fun and authentic neighbourhood bar with live music on most nights. Try: Burgers, house salad, fish and chips
La Copine: This gem has gained loyal customers traveling from all over the desert to experience their artfully crafted, locally sourced delicious food. Try: Royal Crumpet
Only open for breakfast and lunch Thurs to Sun
Pappy & Harriet's: BBQ restaurant and music venue with international touring acts always rolling through. Try: Pulled pork sandwich and cheese fries
The Restaurant at 29 Palms Inn: Lovely poolside restaurant featuring dishes using food from their organic garden and homemade bread.
Sam’s Pizza: A local pizza, sandwich and Indian food joint. Try: Chicken Korma, curry pizza
The Integratron: The Integratron is a structure designed by Ufologist and Contactee George Van Tassel. Tassel claimed the Integratron was capable of rejuvenation, anti-gravity and time travel. Now the space is dedicated solely to Sounds Baths performed with singing bowls. It's a transformative experience and a must do while visiting. Make sure to grab a slot as soon as you can.
Pioneertown: A Wild West movie set built in the 1940s feels like an old western Disneyland. Don’t miss the bowling alley, reconstructed jail, bathhouse, bank, etc
Sky Village Outdoor Marketplace: Western version of Rose Bowl Flea Market and a junk lovers wonderland filled with mysterious second hand collectibles and treasures. Saturdays and Sundays 6am-3pm
Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Museum: 7.5 acres of open land displaying beautifully crafted assemblage sculptures
High Desert Test Sites: A non-profit organization that supports experimental art that engages the physical and conceptual spaces for between contemporary art and life at large in the Mojave desert.
Farmers Market: Small market featuring locally sourced produce and artisans every Saturday morning
World Famous Crochet Museum: A fun, and weird museum that features an unbelievable collection of crocheted items and will no doubt put a smile on your face and the best part is it’s free
Smith’s Ranch Drive-In: Sprawl out on the hood of your car under the stars and catch a double feature for $5
To wake up under the stars, stay at a campsites in the national park.
I recommend staying at the Jumbo Rocks Playground campsite($10/night) and it’s first come first serve
For fuss-free lodging options, stay at one of these inns or motels: