Joshua Tree is the
closest National Park to
Los Angeles & San Diego

The Park is centrally located in the California Desert. Now who doesn't want to take a road trip to the California High Desert??? 

 

Nearby International Airports: 

  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)  - 150 miles
    Take Hwy 10 East to Hwy 62 to Joshua Tree
    note: This route takes you across the entirety of Los Angeles.
    So, if you can, try to avoid this route during week-day business hours...
  • Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS) - 200 miles
    Take 15 South - Drive through Mojave National Preserve to Hwy 62
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) - 225 miles
    The Hwy 10 WEST SOUTH Park Entrance
  • Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) - 40 miles
    Take Hwy 10 West to Hey 61 to Joshua Tree
  • San Diego International Airport (SAN) - 150 miles
    Take 15 North to 215 North to 60 East to 10 East to Hwy 62 to Joshua Tree
  • Here's an alternate route to/from San Diego
    San Diego to Joshua Tree, via the Salton Sea / Salvation Mountain

There are
Three Park Entrances

The main (preferred) entrance to the Park is in the town of Joshua Tree, but there are 3 entrances you can choose from: 

  • West (Main) Entrance
    Located off Hwy 62, in Joshua Tree @ Park Blvd
    For visitors coming from Los Angeles / San Diego / Palm Springs
    Make sure the stop at the Park Visitor Center (on Park Blvd @ Hwy 62)
  • North Entrance
    Located off Hwy 62, in 29 Palms (You'll see the signs)
    For visitors coming from Las Vegas
    ip: The lines are much shorter here on weekends!
  • South Entrance
    Off Hwy 10 - East of Palm Springs/Indio
    For visitors coming from Phoenix / New Mexico / Indio
    This entrance takes you thru the entire park

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Suggested Itineraries 

Make sure to bring some road trip music!

1 Day Itinerary - Daytime Trip

Just coming up for the day? No problem!
This trip works best from Palm Springs or Indio. Or, if you are heading WEST on Hwy 10 towards Los Angeles, you can make this detour (Don't tell me you are in too much of a rush to get to LA!?!) 

You'll get to cruise the entire park and have dinner in Joshua Tree! 

Here we go:

Pre-Trip: Pack a lunch with snacks, drinks and yummy stuff. Get gas!

  • Get on the road early - 9:00 am
  • Enter thru the South Entrance on Hwy 10
  • Check out the Cholla Cactus Garden
  • Stop at White Tank Campground
    Check out The ARCH (1/4 mile easy walk)
  • Continue into park
  • Take a LEFT on Park Blvd to "Joshua Tree"
  • Stop at Skull Rock - a roadside attraction
  • Stop at Intersection Rock
    This is a great place to watch the sunset
  • Exit the Park thru the WEST entrance (Joshua Tree)
  • Get Dinner at the Joshua Tree Saloon
  • That's it! Time to head home
  • Head WEST on Hwy 62 and you will be back on Hwy 10 in 30 minutes!

Did you take lots of pictures?


Overnight Itinerary - 24 hours

taken with an iphone6!


Quick trip with an overnight stay?

This is for those of you who are traveling and just want to do a stopover in Joshua Tree. Or folks making a quick trip from Los Angeles, Orange County or San Diego. Yes - It's doable!

Pre-Trip: Reserve an AirBnB room in Joshua Tree 

Here we go:

First Day

  • I'm assuming you'll be leaving around noon - arriving in the park in the afternoon
  • Drive into Joshua Tree
  • Stop at the Park Visitors Center - Park Blvd @ Hwy 62
  • Head into the Park to watch Sunset
    Depending on how much time you have, you can drive further into the park
  • After Sunset, come back into Joshua Tree
  • Get dinner at the Joshua Tree Saloon (Park Blvd @ Hwy 62)
  • Check in at your AirBnb and get a good nights sleep

Second Day

  • Get up Early in the Morning 6:00-9:00 (you'll need time to visit the park) 
  • Drives to Keys View to check out the morning light
  • Get lots of pictures along the way
  • Head back towards Joshua Tree Entrance
  • Stop at Cap Rock (at the corner of Park Blvd and Keys View Road)
  • Head back to the Joshua Tree Entrance 
  • Get Lunch in Town at the Natural Sisters Cafe (Hwy 62, East of Park Blvd)
  • That's it!
  • Head WEST on Hwy 62 and you will be back on Hwy 10 in 30 minutes. 
  • And then back to Big City! 

See - I told you it was possible!

YEARLY TEMPERATURE AVERAGES FOR JOSHUA TREE

Weekend Itinerary
Friday Night -> Sunday Afternoon

Visiting for the weekend! Classic!
I assume that you are leaving after work, coming from Los Angeles, Orange County or San Diego.

Pre-Trip: Reserve an AirBnB room or house in Joshua Tree

pappy & harriets

Friday

  • Take Hwy 10 EAST to Hwy 62 (Joshua Tree Exit!)
  • Drive to Pioneertown (Hwy 62, Left at Pioneertown Rd)
  • Have dinner at Pappy & Harriots
  • Check out the live Music
  • Head to your AirBnB and get a good nights sleep

Saturday

arch rock

  • Get up @ 8-9am
  • Breakfast at the Crossroads Cafe
  • Check out the Farmers Market (8:00-1:00pm)
  • Stop by the Park Visitor Center (Park Blvd @ Hwy 62)
  • Go EAST on Hwy 62 (15 miles) to the 29 Palms (NORTH) Park Entrance
    (yes, then we will drive back thru the park and exit at Joshua Tree)
    make sure to pack snacks, drinks and lunch
  • Drive to White Tank Campground
    check out Arch Rock (easy 1/4 walk) 
  • Head back towards Joshua Tree Entrance
  • Stop at Skull Rock - a roadside attraction
  • Stop at Cap Rock (at the corner of Park Blvd and Keys View Road)
    There are nice guided walks around the rock formations
  • Head back towards the Joshua Tree Entrance
  • Stop at Intersection Rock
    Spend some time here hiking around the rocks
    Hang out here until sunset 
    Hint: Coyotes come out at dusk - They're mellow here
  • Exit the Park thru the WEST entrance (Joshua Tree)
  • Get Dinner at the Joshua Tree Saloon
    Stay for the Live Music...
  • Or check out the Smith Ranch Drive-in!
  • Or just get some Pizza (Pie for the People) and chill!
  • Head back to your AirBnB

CAP ROCK

Sunday

  • Breakfast at the Crossroads Cafe or Joshua Tree Saloon
  • If you have time, head back to the Park and explore Intersection Rock / Hidden Valley areas
  • or Visit the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Art Museum
  • or Visit the Gallery 62 on Hwy 62 (Next to the Saloon) 
  • Get Lunch at Natural Sisters Cafe
  • Get some bulk herbs in the Joshua Tree Health Food Store next door
  • That's it!
  • Head WEST on HWY 62 and you will be back on Hwy 10 in 30 minutes

You did it!

LEFT: OLD WOMAN ROCK / MIDDLE: INTERSECTION ROCK /  RIGHT:IN THE DISTANCE - RYAN MOUNTAIN

Week Long Itinerary

You get to spend a week in the desert! Perfect!

Since you've got lots of time on your hands, you can set the pace...
I'll just give you a ton of options. 

1. Check out the above itineraries to get an idea of the Joshua Tree basics

2. Here are some additional activities to try out

  • Ryan Mountain Hike - 3 Miles - strenuous  
  • Eureka Peak Hike - 10 Miles - moderate 
  • Lost Horse Mine / Mountain Hike - 4 miles - moderate
  • Get a Photography Guide - They know the best spots in the park
  • Take a Climbing Workshop - You get to have fun - and be safe!

3. Here are some great activities for "chill days"

  • Walk around Joshua Tree Downtown Area  (4 block area) 
  • Check out the Art Galleries 
  • Spend time in the Park Visitor Center
  • Check out the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Art Museum
click here for some Classic road trip music

click here for some Classic road trip music

You did it!

The coyote
has become your spirit animal!

 


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