Desert Vibes in Joshua Tree
Joshua Tree has blown up in the past 5 years with the rise of Instagram and IG "models" flocking to the desert for the ideal desert vibes shot. In speaking with locals they informed me that in 2016 - 500,000 visitors traveled to J-Tree. Fast forward to 2018 - they are looking at 3 million tourists in the tiny town filled with quirky cacti and boho vibes.
If you love camping, nature, bouldering, cool rocks or just the desert sun - Joshua Tree is an awesome location for a weekend get-a-way. It's a 2.5 hour drive from LA - you could even make it a day-trip; though I suggest sleeping under the desert sky for at least one night.
Below is my list of recommendations to make an ultimate weekend in J-tree.
Where to stay:
I suggest researching on #airbnb for a place to stay. Or if you're really adventurous - camp in the park.
We stayed at a western-inspired rental home called Star Ranch - highly recommend it! Great location, hot tub, pickle ball court, spacious and comfortable.
The only other hotel that I've stayed while visiting Joshua Tree was The Best Western. There aren't that many options, but you won't be the hotel.
Next time I'll be staying at Joshua Tree Acres
Where to eat:
Joshua Tree's restaurant scene is basically 2 blocks - most places don't take reservations and expect to wait a really long time.
Country Kitchen - awesome spot for breakfast before heading into the park. But you can also get lunch & dinner there too. It's in heart of downtown. It's super small so expect a long wait. It was even featured on one of Anthony Bourdain’s shows.
Pappy & Harriets - You haven't been to Joshua Tree unless you step into this honky tony, dusty bar/restaurant in Pioneer Town. It's a hot spot for locals and tourists. Great bands, bbq food and awesome western decor.
Joshua Tree Saloon - this dusty dive bar is a great spot for dinner after hiking in the desert. Great spot for live music and people watching the cast of characters that walk into the bar.
Natural Sister's Cafe - healthy vegan food & smoothies.
Pie for the People - NY Pizza joint - perfect for pick up or delivery.
Joshua Tree Health Foods is like a mini Whole Foods - perfect for last minute grocery needs.
Stater Bros outside of Joshua Tree can be your one stop shop for groceries.
If you drive a few minutes out of Joshua Tree - you'll find your basic fast food joints.
What to do:
Pioneertown - visit if you like to play cowboys & Indians in this Western themed honky tonk town.
The Integratron - a geodesic dome sound bath in the middle of the Mojave desert.
Shop at the Coyote Corner Store for all your J-tree souvenirs - a place that offers showers if you are camping too.
Hiking in Joshua Tree National Park:
There are so many trails in Joshua Tree. Entry fee is $25 & they will give you a map of the park for you to figure out what works best for your fitness level.
Arch Rock Nature Trail
Length: 0.5 miles Difficulty: Easy
This is a short trail that leads to a spectacular natural rock arch. If you’re fit and agile, it’s a relatively easy climb to the top of the arch, from which you’ll be treated to some incredible desert views. Best to go during sunrise or sunset, but expect crowds.
Lost Palms Oasis Trail
Distance: 7.4 miles Difficulty: Moderate, but definitely difficult in the blazing sun
Hike through rocky terrain with some amazing canyon views to the lost oasis, where you scramble down into a shady canyon with palm trees, wildlife, and water (if it has been raining). It took us nearly 3 hours.
Hidden Valley Loop Trail
Distance: 1 mile Difficulty: Easy
It's a short, flat, one-mile loop that’s perfect for families with kids or those looking for something a little more relaxed.
Have fun desert bunnies! Hope this was helpful.