Tenting & Mountaineering in Joshua Tree Nationwide Park, California

The primary time I visited Joshua Tree Nationwide Park, I actually wasn’t anticipating a lot.

I truthfully didn’t assume the California desert may very well be that spectacular, as a result of it’s largely made up of mud and tumbleweeds, proper? 

However as quickly as I began driving by means of Joshua Tree and noticed the alien-like panorama exterior my window, I spotted simply how improper my preliminary assumptions have been. And now Joshua Tree ranks amongst my favourite nationwide parks on the earth.

We spent three days exploring the desert, tackling sweaty Joshua Tree Park hikes, driving to scenic viewpoints, and watching rock climbers cling from staggering cliffs at seemingly not possible angles. 

On the finish of our go to, it was surprisingly troublesome to go away the quiet solitude of the desert behind and head again to the hustle and bustle of civilization. 

On this detailed customer’s information, we’ll stroll you thru a few of the greatest Joshua Tree mountain climbing trails, in addition to the perfect locations within the park for tenting underneath shiny constellations. 

READ MORE: Listing of Nationwide Parks by State (An Epic Information)

Mining History in Joshua Tree
Mining Historical past in Joshua Tree

Historical past of Joshua Tree Nationwide Park 

Joshua Tree was designated as a nationwide monument in 1936 by President Roosevelt, and made right into a nationwide park in 1994. However this space has a wealthy historical past that goes again 5,000+ years. 

The primary indigenous folks to inhabit the Southern California desert have been from the Pinto Tradition, adopted by the Serrano, Chemehuevi, and Cahuilla Native American tribes.

Within the 1800s, the Joshua Tree space grew to become a well-liked place for cattle ranchers and mining for gold and silver (even earlier than the foremost 1849 California Gold Rush). 

The 825,000 acres of what’s now Joshua Tree Nationwide Park initially garnered authorities safety largely as a result of Minerva Hoyt. Hoyt was a close-by Pasadena resident who had a deep love for desert vegetation and fought to preserve the realm’s native wildlife for years. 

Because of her efforts, Joshua Tree wildlife at this time contains over 800 plant species, 46 reptile species, 57 mammal species, and greater than 250 several types of birds. 

READ MORE: DIY Mesa Verde Excursions: Exploring the Nationwide Park on Your Personal


Mountaineering in Joshua Tree Nationwide Park

Joshua Tree Hiking Map
Joshua Tree Mountaineering Map, by way of NPS/Wikicommons


The Finest Hikes in Joshua Tree Nationwide Park 

Hidden Valley in Joshua Tree

Hidden Valley Nature Path (1 mile- Straightforward) 

Hidden Valley is without doubt one of the shorter hikes in Joshua Tree Park. However it gives an excellent introduction to the pure fantastic thing about the realm. 

Your entire path takes round 30 minutes. Alongside the best way, you’ll come throughout giant boulders, rocky landscapes, and rock faces that are perfect for climbing. 

READ MORE: 10 Finest US Nationwide Parks (For  Your World Journey Bucket Listing)

Barker Dam Trail
Barker Dam Path by Vladimir Haltakov by way of unsplash

Barker Dam Path (1.1 miles – Straightforward)

When you’re searching for a fast 30-minute stroll within the desert, the Barker Dam Path is one other straightforward nature loop that’s additionally top-of-the-line hikes to identify wildlife in Joshua Tree. 

Don’t be shocked in case you come throughout Bighorn Sheep, Jackrabbits, Kangaroo Rats, and some completely different fowl species alongside the path. 

Much like Hidden Valley, that is an academic path, with loads of indicators alongside the best way to let you know extra concerning the native surroundings and its inhabitants. 

It provides a fantastic fundamental introduction to the wildlife that you just may come throughout throughout your time in Joshua Tree Nationwide Park. 

READ MORE: 10 Finest Nationwide Parks in USA for Wildlife Watching

Joshua Tree Landscape
Joshua Tree Panorama

Fortynine Palms Oasis (three miles – Straightforward/Reasonable) 

When you’re searching for a barely more difficult hike, the Fortynine Palms Oasis path is an efficient one to begin with. 

This hike will take you additional into the Joshua Tree panorama, ending at a fan palm oasis.

Because the hike progresses, you’ll come throughout barrel cacti, rocky canyons, giant boulders, and naturally swimming pools of refreshing water on the oasis. 

The hike climbs a complete of 300 toes in elevation, and takes round two hours to finish. 

READ MORE: Avenue of the Giants (Scenic Drive By California Redwoods)

Ryan Mountain Hike
Ryan Mountain Hike by Brent Payton by way of Unsplash

Ryan Mountain Hike (three miles – Reasonable) 

For many who don’t thoughts a 1,050-foot ascent, Ryan Mountain is a well-liked hike that takes you to the second highest level within the park, at 5,457 toes. 

This is a perfect place for Joshua Tree Nationwide Park mountain climbing in case you’re searching for panoramic views and the burn of a extremely good exercise.

From the highest of Ryan Mountain, you’ll be capable to see miles of rock formations, Joshua Timber, and top-of-the-line overviews of the nationwide park. 

The summit can also be top-of-the-line locations to look at the sundown in Joshua Tree. Simply ensure to deliver a headlamp with you to light up the trail on the best way down.

READ MORE: 25 Most Snug Strolling Footwear & Mountaineering Footwear for Girls

Cholla Cacti in Joshua Tree National Park
Cholla Cacti in Joshua Tree Nationwide Park

Misplaced Horse Mine Path (four miles – Reasonable)

The Misplaced Horse Mine Path is without doubt one of the greatest average Joshua Tree Nationwide Park hikes for many who wish to study extra concerning the space’s pioneer historical past. 

This space was a well-liked place for gold mining earlier than, throughout, and after the 1849 California Gold Rush. At one level, there have been round 300 completely different mines in what’s now the nationwide park! 

Misplaced Horse Mine, which may be discovered on the finish of this hike, is without doubt one of the best-preserved mines within the park. All through its operation, the mine produced greater than 10,000 ounces of gold and 16,000 ounces of silver, which is the equal of about $5 million at this time. 

The path itself is the trail miners used to move ore and provides to the mine. Mountaineering it means that you can step again in time and stroll within the footsteps of California’s Gold Rush pioneers.  

READ MORE: The 35 Finest Daypacks for Journey

Cottonwood Visitor Center sign, near Los Palms Oasis Trail
Cottonwood Customer Middle signal, close to Los Palms Oasis Path

Los Palms Oasis Path (7 miles – Reasonable)

Broadly thought-about top-of-the-line mountain climbing trails in Joshua Tree Nationwide Park, Los Palms Oasis takes you to the park’s largest grove of fan palm timber.

Due to its location within the park’s southern part, you received’t see any Joshua Timber on the path. However you’ll witness a really completely different kind of desert panorama than on trails to the north. 

Though the trek is prolonged at seven miles, there aren’t any huge hills right here. So it’s a comparatively straightforward hike by means of the desert. 

When you can rise up early sufficient, top-of-the-line instances to hike to Los Palms Oasis is at dawn, when the path is pretty empty of Joshua Tree hikers and the desert gentle is at its most stunning. 

READ MORE: 40 Finest Backpacks for Vacationers

Joshua Trees
Joshua Timber

Boy Scout Path (16 miles – Tough) 

When you’re searching for an actual problem and have the stamina to hike for 16 miles within the desert, the Boy Scout Path is without doubt one of the greatest hikes in Joshua Tree for an all-day journey. 

Alongside the path, you’ll stroll by means of quintessential Joshua Tree forests, piles of boulders, cholla cacti, and quite a few beautiful scenic viewpoints. 

The Boy Scout Path takes round six to eight hours to finish, taking you from the higher Mojave Desert to the Decrease Mojave Desert and again. 

When you’re wanting to totally immerse your self in traditional Joshua Tree landscapes, this really is without doubt one of the park’s greatest mountain climbing trails.

Simply observe that this path is EXTREMELY uncovered, with little to no shade alongside the best way. So put on lengthy, breathable clothes, and ensure to deliver sunscreen and loads of water. 

READ MORE: The 25 Most Snug Strolling Footwear & Mountaineering Footwear for Males 

Near Hidden Valley Campground
Close to Hidden Valley Campground

What to Pack for Your Joshua Tree Hike 

The vast majority of these Joshua Tree hikes don’t have any shade, and the desert can go from scorching sizzling to freezing over the course of some hours. 

When you’re going to be mountain climbing, deliver additional water, a hat, and sunscreen, and do your greatest to keep away from the most popular elements of the day.

When you’re tenting in Joshua Tree in a single day, ensure to deliver heat layers of journey clothes, because the desert can get right down to freezing after the solar goes down. 

That is the complete guidelines of what I’d advocate packing for tenting and mountain climbing in Joshua Tree Nationwide Park:

  • Solar hat
  • Sunscreen (and aloe vera in case you get sunburned)
  • Sun shades
  • Additional water
  • Mountaineering footwear or comfy strolling footwear 
  • First support package
  • Heat layers for nightime
  • Breathable garments for mountain climbing Joshua Tree through the day 
  • Camp meals and snacks for the path
  • Headlamp
  • Daypack 
  • Hand sanitizer and masks to guard towards COVID-19
  • Digicam
  • Ice and ice chest 
  • Tenting gear – tent, sleeping bag, sleep pad, pillow, tenting range, tenting chairs, and many others
  • A Joshua Tree path map from the Joshua Tree Nationwide Park Customer Middle

READ MORE: Mountaineering the John Muir Path in California

View from Joshua Tree Campsite
View from Joshua Tree Campsite

Tenting in Joshua Tree Nationwide Park

Though there are many nice locations to remain close to Joshua Tree, tenting on the park is one thing each customer ought to expertise no less than as soon as. 

There’s no different feeling fairly like tenting within the desert, underneath an limitless sky of shiny stars. And I’d argue that Joshua Tree is without doubt one of the greatest locations to do this within the state of California.  

These are my picks for the perfect campsites in Joshua Tree Nationwide Park. Simply ensure to guide properly upfront, as a result of they have an inclination to replenish shortly!

COVID-19 Replace (as of seven/29/2020): Joshua Tree Nationwide Park is at the moment open and all campgrounds are actually open within the park. All campgrounds are first come, first served till September 4th, 2020.

READ MORE: The Finest Backcountry Tenting Gear

Hidden Valley Campground via NPS
Hidden Valley Campground by way of NPS

Hidden Valley Campground

Hidden Valley is without doubt one of the park’s most scenic and central areas, so it is sensible that it’s top-of-the-line locations to camp in Joshua Tree. 

This campground is without doubt one of the extra medium-sized tenting areas, with 44 websites and some pit bogs, however no water.

The camp is surrounded by giant boulders and Joshua Timber, and it’s close to fairly a number of nice mountain climbing trails, together with the Hidden Valley Nature Path. 

All tenting spots at Hidden Valley Campground are first come, first served. RVs and trailers are allowed right here as properly. 

READ MORE: The Finest Yard Tenting Gear

Jumbo Rocks Campground via NPS
Jumbo Rocks Campground by way of NPS

Jumbo Rocks Campground

Most likely the preferred spot for Joshua Tree Nationwide Park tenting, Jumbo Rocks is additionally one of many largest campgrounds there, with 124 particular person and household websites. 

Because the title suggests, the campground is surrounded by giant rock formations. It’s top-of-the-line Joshua Tree campgrounds for these touring with a big group, or preferring a central location.  

When you’re touring in an RV, that is additionally the perfect spot for Joshua Tree Nationwide Park RV tenting. There’s numerous area for RVs and trailers, however observe that there’s no water and no hookups.  

Reservations at Jumbo Rocks Campground are required through the excessive season, which fits from from September to Might. You may guide on-line on the Recreation.gov web site

READ MORE: 15 Finest Tenting Tents for Households

Belle Campground via NPS
Belle Campground by way of NPS

Belle Campground

When you’re searching for a extra secluded tenting expertise, Belle Campground is a smaller tenting space in a much less frequented a part of Joshua Tree Park. 

The campground solely has 18 websites, and it’s first come, first served. So get there as early as doable if you wish to snag a spot.

With its extra out-of-the-way location, this is without doubt one of the greatest locations to camp in Joshua Tree for stargazing. 

Belle Campground has no water, so ensure to deliver loads of your individual. There are a number of websites that may accommodate RVs right here, however these are inclined to go actually shortly.  –by Mimi McFadden

READ MORE: 20+ Tenting Ideas & Methods for Accountable Vacationers


BIO: Mimi McFadden is a journey blogger, avid yogi, and paneer fanatic. Initially from California, she has been gradual touring the world since 2013. After residing overseas for 5 years, she has lastly discovered a house in San Francisco. You may comply with her on Instagram, Fb, and her weblog, The Atlas Coronary heart.


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