If you’re not familiar with Joshua Tree National Park, it’s worth a trip. The park stretches across a large area of the southern California desert and is filled with beautiful rock formations, cacti and Joshua trees. On the west side of the park are a number of hiking trails that take you to perfect places to camp, and if you know where to go you can get up early, beat everyone else to these spots and enjoy the entire day without anyone else around!
Joshua Tree is very close to Palm Springs
If you’re in the mood to do some hiking and exploring, Joshua Tree is just two hours away from Palm Springs. The desert climate means that it can get pretty hot in summer, with temperatures reaching into the 100s. But it also means that in winter, temperatures can dip below freezing at night. You could visit during both seasons and experience very different weather conditions!
Palm Springs has its own share of celebrities who come there for vacation or to live year round—so if you want to see where stars like Brad Pitt or Jennifer Aniston hang out when they aren’t filming movies or TV shows (or if you want a chance at spotting them yourself!), this is your best bet! There are many great restaurants and bars as well as hiking trails all around the area; some are even kid-friendly!
There are lots of great hikes in the park
Hiking is a highlight at Joshua Tree National Park, which has over 800 miles of trails and many more off-trail options. There are hikes for every level of fitness and interest, including:
- Barker Dam — A short, family-friendly loop with panoramic views of the desert
- Keys View — A steep climb to an overlook with incredible 360-degree views of the park
- Hidden Valley Trail — A strenuous hike that takes you through some ancient rock formations and past sites where Native Americans lived thousands of years ago
- 49 Palms Oasis — An easy hike along a boardwalk through palm groves
You can camp anywhere in the park
Now that you know about the camping rules, let’s talk about where to camp.
Most people think you have to have a campsite reservation in order to camp in Joshua Tree National Park, but that’s not true! You can camp anywhere in the park after 2pm on the day of your arrival (that’s when reservations are made). All you need is a permit and some common sense—don’t pitch your tent in someone else’s site or in the middle of the road. And if you’re traveling with dogs and/or horses (which many people do), make sure they’re leashed at all times while out on the trail so they don’t get too close to other hikers.
Bring lot of water
- Bring a reusable water bottle. You can get by with one of these, or even something as simple as a Nalgene bottle. They’re much easier to carry around than carrying individual bottles of water.
- Use chilled water, or use ice cubes: If you don’t want to bring your own reusable bottle, there are lots of places in the park where you can buy bottled water (check out our guide to Joshua Tree’s grocery stores), but this isn’t ideal for several reasons. First, it’s expensive; second, plastic bottles are bad for the environment; third, they don’t stay cold very long once you take them out of the refrigerator—so why not just bring your own? One option is simply taking some regular old tap water from home and sticking it in an insulated cooler with some ice packs before leaving for your trip—this will keep your food cool too! Another option is buying chilled bulk gallons from one of only two stores in town that sell them (the other being Fresh & Easy). Why do we say that these are better than buying individual bottles? Because they’re cheaper per gallon ($0.99 versus $1.79), they don’t go flat over time like individual cans and bottles do when exposed air gets into them (which happens whenever someone opens up any kind
Bring a chainsaw
A chainsaw is a great tool for cutting wood if you want to stay warm in the winter. They’re much louder than axes, so bring earplugs. Some people find the noise relaxing (like fans) and others find it extremely annoying and scary. If you fall into the latter category, maybe bring an iPod or something?
When you’re in Joshua Tree, you’re having fun!
This is a place of adventure and exploration. You can hike up to the top of any mountain, but be prepared to get back down again. There are no trails here, just the footsteps of those who have ventured before you! The desert landscape is beautiful and awe-inspiring. However, if you do not bring enough water with you on your journey—or if it runs out—you will die. So make sure to bring two gallons per person per day at least!