There’s an enchanted place nestled in the heart of California. An otherworldly crossroads where arid low desert mingles with high desert wonderland. A union of vivid sunrises and star-dusted skies. And of course, the iconic bristled trees (actually a type of yucca) that dot the park like sentinels – the eponymous Joshua trees.
The best part about Joshua Tree National Park is that it can be anything for anyone. Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping adventure, a family-friendly outing, or just a bit of peace, you’ll find what you seek at Joshua. It’s a landscape of possibilities, but no matter what your call to adventure is, the sunrises are worth waking up for.
One of our favorite campgrounds is Black Rock because it grants easy access to the park. Imagine waking up with Joshua trees right outside the window of your Bowlus Road Chief while the horizon splits into the pink and tangerine streaks of dawn. Is a hike more your speed? From Black Rock, Warren Peak is a short jaunt away. Conquer the three miles to the top to enjoy panoramic views of Mount San Jacinto and Mount San Gorgonio. Catch the peaks at the right time of year and you’ll find them crowned with snow.
After a campfire -classic breakfast of eggs, sausages, and coffee, it’s off to rock climbing in the Hidden Valley with the owner-operated rock-climbing guide service, Cliffhanger Guides. The park has over 9,000 climbs to choose from, so guides can easily tailor the experience to you skill level for unparalleled adventure. After working up a sweat on the rocks, enjoy a light lunch at the Frontier Café downtown. Park on the side of the 62: The Road Chief only takes up two spots.
Next up is a post-lunch excursion. For those with a spiritual bent, we recommend visiting the Integratron for a Sound Bath. During these sonic healing sessions, the resonant sounds of quartz crystal singing bowls wash over you, melting away stress and elevating your spirits. You don’t want to miss out, so book a month ahead of time!
Not a South Bath fan? No problem – after lunch, make your way back to the park for the Ryan Mountain Hike with it’s stunning vistas. Then step into an old Western flick when you visit Pioneertown, an iconic gateway to the California desert. Here, you can explore the shops and book a table at Pappy & Harriet’s. Stay for the live music, cheap drinks, famous BBQ and delicious burgers. You can even park the Road Chief in the corral and fall asleep in your cozy bed less than 200 feet away. Alternatively, you can stay at the Pioneertown Hotel, or stay out late to admire the incredible stargazing (we like the app StarView Lite).
Did you even notice we spent the whole day camped off grid? Probably not, because a day spent in the magical Mojave Desert is a day well spent.
Bowlus Road Chief