Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

RV Rental Dates


Prior to the 1940s, the majority of individuals held the perception that the Mojave Desert region was an expansive and unappealing expanse of land situated between the central part of the country and Los Angeles. In the mid-19th century, European settlers began to explore and settle in the area. Miners arrived during the gold rush, followed by ranchers and homesteaders. The establishment of the Desert Protective Council and the work of conservationists like Minerva Hoyt led to the protection of the area as Joshua Tree National Monument in 1936. It later gained national park status in 1994.

The park is named after the Joshua tree, a distinctive plant species found in the area. The unique features of Joshua Tree National Park are a result of several natural occurrences. The park lies at the meeting point of the Colorado Desert and the Mojave Desert, creating a diverse and contrasting landscape. The iconic Joshua trees themselves are native to the Mojave Desert and thrive in the park’s higher elevations.

The park is characterized by rugged rock formations, such as the granite boulders in Hidden Valley and the monolithic rocks of Jumbo Rocks. These formations were shaped by millions of years of geological activity, including uplift, erosion, and faulting. Visitors are not restricted from exploring these extensive stretches of land. On the contrary, the National Park Service actively promotes and invites hikers, rock climbers, bird enthusiasts, families, and other individuals to experience and visit these regions.

Joshua Tree National Park experiences a desert climate, with hot summers and mild winters. Summer temperatures can exceed 100°F (38°C), while winter, which is the most popular season at the park, the temperatures range from 50°F to 70°F (10°C to 21°C) during the day and can drop to freezing temperatures at night. The peak season for visiting Joshua Tree National Park is typically from October to May when the weather is more pleasant. However, this also means the park can be crowded during this time. To avoid the crowds, it is advisable to visit during the shoulder seasons of spring and fall, or consider weekday visits.

For visitors with RVs, there are several campgrounds available within Joshua Tree National Park. There are nine campgrounds in total, and several of them offer RV-friendly sites. The amenities provided vary by campground but can include picnic tables, fire pits, pit toilets, and water. It is advisable to check the park’s website or contact the park directly for up-to-date information on specific campground amenities.

Park Alerts (4)

From June 27 to July 21, a section of the Keys View Loop Trail will be inaccessible. This temporary closure is necessary for trail maintenance and the installation of an exhibit along the Keys View Loop Trail.

Access to the Fried Liver Wash area is currently restricted for visitors on a temporary basis.

Climbing restrictions are currently in place until July 15, 2023, to safeguard raptors during their breeding season.

The park rangers are conducting maintenance on the water filling station and restroom facilities located at the West Entrance. During this period, access to both drinking water and bathrooms might be limited or unavailable. It is advisable to ensure you have an ample supply of water before entering the park.

RV Rentals in Joshua Tree National Park


When visiting Joshua Tree National Park, visitors have transportation options such as private vehicles or bicycles. Private vehicles are the most common mode of transportation, allowing for easy exploration of the park. The park can be accessed through three main entrances: the west entrance, which is closest to Los Angeles and San Diego; the north entrance, located off Twentynine Palms; and the south entrance, off Interstate 10 near Indio. Each entrance provides access to different areas of the park, allowing visitors to explore its diverse landscapes.

While the roads throughout Joshua Tree National Park are generally flat and easy to navigate, there are restrictions on rig sizes. Larger recreational vehicles (RVs) and trailers may encounter limitations on certain roads due to tight turns, low clearance, or length restrictions. It is important for RV users to be aware of these limitations and plan their routes accordingly. Checking the park’s website or contacting park authorities can provide specific information on rig size restrictions and recommended routes for RVs.

Major cities that provide convenient access to Joshua Tree National Park include Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Being under three hours from Los Angeles and around four hours from Las Vegas, the park is easily reachable for day trips or longer stays. These cities offer various transportation options, including airports and rental car services, making it convenient for visitors to reach the park from different locations. RV users should remember to come prepared with plenty of water, snacks, and other provisions, as the desert temperatures can be extreme, especially in the summer months. Additionally, having a physical map is advisable since GPS signals may be unreliable in the desert. By taking these precautions, RV users can have a safe and enjoyable experience while exploring Joshua Tree National Park.

Joshua Tree National Park provides ample RV parking space at visitors’ centers, trailheads, and other points of interest. The park has designated parking areas specifically designed to accommodate RVs, ensuring convenient access for visitors. The parking conditions inside the park cater to RVs, allowing for safe and organized parking while exploring the park’s attractions. The park strictly enforces a policy of leaving no trace behind. Therefore, it is essential to thoroughly clean the area before departing from your RV parking spot.

The National Park Service provides a shuttle service with limited service that departs from the Joshua Tree Visitors’ Center and the Oasis Visitors’ Center. That is why visitors typically rely on private vehicles or RVs to explore the park and access different areas of interest. The Roadrunner shuttle operates approximately every two hours, offering free transportation to various parts of the park. Pets are allowed on the shuttle but must be kept in a crate. Shuttle service is limited to weekends during the fall and winter seasons. Detailed schedules can be obtained at visitor centers and shuttle stops, and it is advisable to confirm service availability with the Morongo Basin Transit Authority.

Campgrounds and parking areas in Joshua Tree National Park

Complex Marker Icons

Top Campsites in Joshua Tree National Park

Black Rock Campground

Located near the park’s northern entrance, Black Rock Campground is a highly popular choice for RV enthusiasts. It offers 99 campsites that can accommodate RVs up to 35 feet in length. Amenities include picnic tables, fire rings, potable water, flush toilets, and dump stations. The campground is surrounded by Joshua trees and provides easy access to hiking trails, making it a convenient and scenic base for exploring the park.

Indian Cove Campground

Indian Cove is one of the two winter reservation-friendly RV campgrounds, and it operates on a first-come, first-served basis during the summer season. This campground is favored by numerous rock climbers, as it offers warmer temperatures and abundant rock climbing opportunities. It features 101 campsites suitable for RVs up to 35 feet long. The campground provides 91 parking spaces without hookups, but a ranger station is conveniently located two miles away, and the town of Twentynine Palms is approximately ten miles away. It’s important to note that there is no road access to the rest of the park from Indian Cove, making it a distinct and self-contained camping area. Additionally, the dry desert air and dark skies in Indian Cove create an ideal environment for stargazing enthusiasts.

Jumbo Rocks Campground

Jumbo Rocks Campground is a popular destination for both tent and RV camping. It offers a total of 124 campsites, including some suitable for RVs. Located in the central part of the park, it provides amenities such as potable water, picnic tables, fire rings, and pit toilets. Campfires are permitted exclusively within the designated fire rings, which are also provided for visitors’ use. Each campsite allows a maximum of six individuals and two vehicles, although it’s important to note that a motorhome, trailer, or popup is considered as two vehicles. Jumbo Rocks Campground is known for its impressive granite boulders and offers scenic views. It is conveniently located near hiking trails and renowned rock climbing spots, making it a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts.

Belle Campground

While popular among tent campers, Belle Campground also offers a few sites suitable for smaller RVs. It features 18 individual campsites nestled among Joshua trees. Amenities include picnic tables, fire rings, and pit toilets. Belle Campground is located in the northern part of the park and provides a serene camping experience away from the busier areas. It offers easy access to hiking trails and the opportunity to immerse oneself in the park’s natural beauty.

Palm Springs/Joshua Tree KOA

Palm Springs / Joshua Tree KOA is a highly regarded campground situated in the picturesque Coachella Valley of southern California. It offers spacious RV sites with full hookups and resort-like amenities, including mini-golf, a swimming pool, and hot tub spas. The campground is known for its proximity to therapeutic hot springs, adding to the relaxation factor. Popular attractions near Palm Springs / Joshua Tree KOA include the San Jacinto Wilderness, Indian Canyons, and Joshua Tree National Park for outdoor adventures. Additionally, visitors can explore the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and various captivating museums like the General George Patton Museum, Palm Springs Art Museum, and Sunny Land Museum. It provides an ideal setting for a memorable camping experience, combining modern amenities with natural beauty and nearby attractions.

Hidden Valley Campground

Located in the central part of the park near the Hidden Valley picnic area, Hidden Valley Campground offers a picturesque setting with rock formations. The campground provides amenities such as pit toilets, picnic tables, and fire rings. There are 45 campsites for RVs up to 25 feet in length and pit toilets at this campground. Climbers are drawn to this location due to its abundance of expansive boulders and a pathway leading to Echo Tee, a renowned climbing spot. Due to its popularity, it is advisable to arrive early in the morning to secure a campsite during busier times of the year.

Belle Campground

Situated in the eastern part of the park near Belle Mountain Group Campground, Belle Campground offers a serene camping experience. The vast park contains a campground known for its intimacy, offering 18 parking spaces. Due to its secluded position, it is particularly well-suited for observing the night sky and enjoying stargazing activities. It provides amenities like pit toilets, picnic tables, and fire rings. Similar to Hidden Valley Campground, RVs are limited to a maximum length of 25 feet.

Ryan Campground

Located south of the park near the Ryan Mountain trailhead, Ryan Campground is another first-come, first-served option. offers 31 parking spaces along with year-round garbage collection, picnic tables, BBQ pits, fire rings, and vault toilets. It enjoys proximity to the California Riding and Hiking Trail, making it a favored choice among horseback riders. Climbers find it appealing as it provides direct access to the route leading to Headstone Rock and the boulders at Ryan Campground. During busier times, it is advisable to arrive early as walk-in availability might be limited. Weekdays typically have fewer crowds than weekends.

White Tank Campground

Nestled in the central-western part of the park near Arch Rock, White Tank Campground provides a tranquil camping experience surrounded by giant boulders. Due to the presence of these rocks, there is a maximum vehicle length limit of 25 feet. Each site is equipped with a table, fire ring, and BBQ pit. Being a national park, RVers are prohibited from using any vegetation, whether living or dead, as fuel. All fires must be completely extinguished, so it’s essential to have an ample water supply.

Jumbo Rocks Campground

Jumbo Rocks is one of the most popular campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park, known for its unique setting among massive boulders. It offers amenities such as pit toilets, picnic tables, fire rings, and water. The campground can accommodate RVs up to 35 feet in length. Given its popularity, it is recommended to arrive early or consider alternative options during busier times. Weekdays may be less crowded than weekends, but it’s still advisable to plan accordingly.

Private Owned Campgrounds

Several RV parks and campgrounds in the vicinity, such as Under Canvas Joshua Tree, that provide safari-style tents with comfortable beds, private bathrooms, wood-burning stoves, and private decks, Joshua Tree RV Resort, and Twentynine Palms Resort, offer alternatives to RV camping within Joshua Tree National Park. Privately owned facilities provide various amenities, including restroom and shower facilities as well as full hookup and pull-through sites. These privately owned options also offer additional benefits such as clubhouses, storage facilities, and swimming pools, enhancing the camping experience for visitors. Catering to those seeking additional comforts and luxury amenities while exploring the area’s natural beauty.

Backcountry Camping

Backcountry camping in Joshua Tree National Park offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature and experience the park’s wilder side. It requires proper preparation, adherence to regulations, and responsible camping practices to ensure the preservation of the park’s natural resources and wilderness character. By parking your RV and registering at any of the 13 designated boards, you can embark on this adventure.

Season-specific experiences in Joshua National Park

Lost Horse Mine

Explore the fascinating history of the Lost Horse Mine, which produced a significant amount of gold between 1890 and 1930. Take a four-mile loop trail that passes by the mine and other historic sites. You can learn about its history and the intriguing stories associated with individuals like Jonny Lang, the McHaney brothers, and “Dutch” Frank. There is also a popular four-mile loop trail in the area that passes by this mine and several others.

Oasis of Mara

Discover the rich cultural and natural history of the Oasis of Mara. This area, named by the Serrano Indians, offers a pleasant nature trail and showcases the significance of palm trees in the region’s heritage. Learn about the Serrano traditions and the influence of the oasis on early settlers and the development of the nearby town, Twentynine Palms.

Sky’s the Limit Observatory

Take advantage of the long, dark winter nights for stargazing at the Sky’s the Limit Observatory. The observatory hosts free events on most weekends and provides access to high-powered telescopes. Expert guidance enhances the experience, allowing visitors to observe celestial objects such as planets within the solar system and the Milky Way.

Pinto Mountains

Explore the Pinto Mountains, which may not be the tallest peaks in the park but offer their own significance. These centrally located mountains feature a major fault line and are covered with creosote bushes, providing a unique landscape compared to other areas of Joshua Tree National Park. Enjoy winter hikes amidst these distinctive mountains.

Desert Queen Mine

Learn about the Desert Queen Mine, which may not have been as productive as the Lost Horse Mine but remained operational for an impressive 75 years. This mine has its own intriguing history involving characters like the McHaney family and other shady individuals. Exploring the Desert Queen Mine allows you to delve into the area’s mining heritage and learn about the challenges and successes of mining in the region.

Horseback Riding

Enjoy the equestrian trails available in and around Joshua Tree National Park. The Ryan Campground offers six reservable equestrian campsites, and the California Riding and Hiking Trail can be accessed from there, providing a 10.6-mile scenic route. Additionally, the nearby three-mile Black Rock Canyon Trail showcases vibrant wildflowers, making it an appealing option for horseback riding enthusiasts.

Keys Desert Queen Ranch

Located just outside the park boundaries, the Keys Desert Queen Ranch is a historical site that offers insight into the area’s homesteading and mining history. You can take a guided tour of the ranch and learn about the pioneers who lived there.

Quail Mountain

Joshua Tree National Park is not typically recognized for its mountain peaks, but Quail Mountain stands out with its elevation surpassing 5,800 feet. The fall season is undoubtedly the ideal time to undertake this summit. Summer can be excessively hot, winter brings strong winds, and in spring, rattlesnakes become more active. While wildlife may be scarce, the park boasts a diverse range of plant and shrub species. Numerous trails lead to the mountain’s peak, varying in difficulty from easy to challenging. One recommended option is the Keys View Road trail, which traverses Juniper Flats and takes you most of the way up the mountain. However, to reach the summit, a cross-country hike is necessary.


Although not directly within the national park, Pioneertown is a fascinating place to visit. It was built as a movie set in the 1940s and has a rich Western film history. You can explore the town, visit the Pioneertown Motel, and catch live music performances at Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace.


Geocaching has emerged as a relatively recent pastime that has experienced a surge in popularity, particularly within national parks. The concept revolves around utilizing GPS technology on your smartphone to locate concealed containers. These containers typically contain a logbook, a pencil, and various small items or keepsakes. The objective is to sign and date the logbook, optionally exchange a token or trinket while leaving one of your own, and then carefully return the container to its original hiding spot for others to discover. Joshua Tree National Park hosts several geocaches, including one near the captivating Wonderland of Rocks area.

Hidden Valley

Hidden Valley is a scenic and secluded area within Joshua Tree National Park. It features unique rock formations and a peaceful valley surrounded by towering walls. The valley has historical significance as a former grazing area for cattle rustlers. Visitors can enjoy activities like hiking and rock climbing, exploring the diverse desert flora and fauna. The Hidden Valley Trail offers a one-mile loop showcasing the park’s iconic Joshua Trees and boulder formations. It is a must-visit destination for nature lovers, rock climbers, and those interested in the park’s cultural heritage.

Joshua Tree Art Gallery and Joshua Tree Historical Society

Visit the Joshua Tree Historical Society, which showcases exhibits and artifacts related to the local history and cultural heritage of the region. It’s a great place to learn about the area’s past and gain a deeper understanding of the community. If you’re interested in art and culture on the other hand, check out the Joshua Tree Art Gallery. This contemporary art gallery features works by local and regional artists, offering a unique perspective on the area’s creative scene.

Skull Rock

Seek out Skull Rock, a fascinating rock formation resembling a skull. Use your imagination to see the eye sockets and appreciate the fascinating shape. It is easily accessible from the main road and makes for an interesting photo opportunity. The area offers nearby parking and accessible roads, but be sure to check with the rangers for any closures. There is also a pleasant loop trail nearby to explore.

Rattlesnake Canyon

Rattlesnake Canyon is a secluded and serene area within Joshua Tree National Park. This hidden gem offers beautiful rock formations, scenic landscapes, and the potential for wildlife sightings. Hiking through the canyon allows visitors to immerse themselves in the desert environment and appreciate its unique features. While encounters with rattlesnakes are rare, it’s important to be cautious. Rattlesnake Canyon provides a tranquil experience away from the crowds, offering a chance to explore the rugged beauty of the desert and encounter various desert plant species.

The Ryan Mountain Hike

The Ryan Mountain Hike in Joshua Tree National Park is a challenging yet rewarding experience. The trail takes you to the summit of Ryan Mountain, offering expansive views of the desert landscape. It’s a strenuous hike but manageable with a well-maintained trail. Bring water, enjoy the unique flora and fauna, and be rewarded with stunning panoramic vistas from the summit.

Arch Rock

Arch Rock is a captivating landmark in Joshua Tree National Park known for its unique formation resembling an arch. It is easily accessible via a short loop trail, surrounded by a scenic desert landscape. Visitors can climb and explore the rocks, take photos, and appreciate the beautiful geology. The area is less crowded, offering a tranquil experience. Arch Rock is particularly enchanting during sundown, and its accessibility makes it a popular spot for photography and creating lasting memories in the desert.

Joshua Tree NP Visitors’ Center

The Joshua Tree NP Visitors’ Center serves as the central hub for visitors to Joshua Tree National Park. Staffed by knowledgeable rangers, it provides valuable information, guidance, and services. The center offers amenities such as a cafe, hiking/camping supply store, diverse souvenir shop/bookstore, and clean restroom facilities. It also hosts educational exhibits and provides accurate paper maps for easy navigation. The visitors’ center is an excellent starting point to gather information, plan your visit, and enhance your park experience.

General Patton Memorial Museum

Created in 1988, this museum is at the entrance to the former Desert Training Center. The General Patton Memorial Museum is a tribute to General George S. Patton Jr. and World War II history. It features a collection of artifacts, including rare trench art and 1940s vehicles. The museum creates a reverential atmosphere, with an imposing statue of General Patton and a video presentation that brings his story to life. Visiting the museum is a powerful experience that honors the bravery of those who served and fosters a deeper appreciation for their sacrifices.

Barker Dam

This historical site showcases Native American petroglyphs and a dam built by early settlers. In the spring, the area is often adorned with colorful wildflowers, creating a picturesque backdrop for exploring the historical significance of the dam. Today, it serves as a reminder of their resourcefulness. Visitors can explore the remnants of the dam, witness the oasis it created, and observe diverse plant and animal life. The site also features Native American petroglyphs, providing insights into the region’s rich history.

Keys Ranch

Embark on a guided tour of Keys Ranch, a well-preserved homestead that offers a glimpse into the region’s pioneer history. The Keys Ranch, also known as the Desert Queen Ranch, is a historic site in Joshua Tree National Park. It offers guided tours that allow visitors to explore the well-preserved buildings and structures of the ranch, providing insights into the daily life of the Keys family and the challenges of living in the desert. The tour showcases the ranch house, schoolhouse, store, and workshop, revealing the self-sufficient lifestyle of the family. Visitors learn about the history of the ranch, including interactions with Native American tribes and involvement in mining. The tour offers a deeper appreciation for the resilience of early settlers and the unique desert landscape of the park.

Cholla Cactus Garden

This unique area is home to a dense concentration of cholla cacti. During the spring, these cacti may bloom, showcasing vibrant flowers that add a burst of color to the landscape. To ensure an enjoyable experience, it is advisable to visit early in the spring season as the garden tends to be highly popular. It is important to refrain from straying off the designated trail in order to closely examine the plants. Despite their captivating appearance, it’s essential to remember that these striking specimens are still cacti.

Indian Cove

Enjoy camping, rock climbing, and bouldering in Indian Cove during the spring season. Spring is an ideal time to visit because of the milder temperatures, blooming wildflowers, and comfortable atmosphere. The campground offers a secluded experience, and the area is perfect for hiking and rock climbing. Spring allows visitors to enjoy the beauty of Indian Cove without the extreme summer heat.

Joshua Tree Blooms

In spring, Joshua Trees come to life with their unique blooms. The pleasant temperatures, abundance of wildlife, and captivating landscapes make it a perfect season for outdoor activities and photography. Spring allows visitors to avoid the summer crowds and enjoy a serene and immersive experience in the park’s tranquil desert environment. Witnessing the Joshua Tree blooms and the explosion of wildflower colors adds an extra layer of beauty to the already breathtaking scenery of the park.


Spring is an excellent time to go biking in Joshua Tree National Park. The milder weather allows for a comfortable biking experience, and the park’s vibrant wildflowers create a visually captivating environment. Joshua Tree National Park offers a range of trails that cater to mountain biking enthusiasts. Among the popular rides are the Onaga Trail, which is an easy 1.2-mile trail, the intermediate to difficult Southridge Trail spanning 0.7 miles, and for a more challenging experience, the Desert Riders Tour covers 12 miles. With a variety of biking trails suitable for different skill levels, biking in Joshua Tree during spring provides a unique and thrilling way to explore the park’s diverse landscapes and connect with nature.