Hit the Trail with Landmark: Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park
Grab your water bottle and bandana because we’re headed to the High Desert! If you have a couple of vacation days to spare, you’ll want to spare them at Joshua Tree National Park. With two distinct desert ecosystems, the Mojave and the Colorado, Joshua Tree is one of California's most unique and inspiring landscapes.
Whether you’re a hiker, a stargazer, or a campfire storyteller, Joshua Tree is sure to become a favorite destination. Since our first visit, we’ve been dreaming of returning. So we went ahead and created this travel guide for our friends and fans in hopes we’ll see you there too!
Favorite Hike: Cholla Cactus Garden
Any drive through Joshua Tree will have you snapping photos left and right. But there’s one destination we recommend above all the rest: Cholla Cactus Garden at sunset. This quarter-mile, walkable loop is overflowing with cholla cacti of all sizes. Nicknamed the “teddy bear cactus” because it looks almost cozy, cholla cacti are green, orange, and golden. Under the setting sun, the needles glow like starbursts in the low directional light!
To reach the trailhead, start your drive on Park Boulevard and follow Pinto Basin Road toward Cottonwood Springs for 12 miles. The garden is on the south side of the road and you definitely won’t miss it! (Or, you can look up the trailhead address directly: Pinto Basin Road, Joshua Tree National Park, CA 92277)
Best Stargazing: Cap Rock
“Half the park is after dark!” As an official dark sky park, Joshua Tree is a top destination for stargazers around the world. Our favorite place to set up a couple of chairs and stargaze is Cap Rock. We love this spot because there’s ample parking near Cap Rock and a short trail out to the rock formations surrounded by Joshua Trees.
Just be sure to start your walk at dusk before you need a flashlight. Flashlights disrupt other stargazers and prevent your eyes from adjusting to the darkness. If you do need a light, the National Park Service recommends using a red light. You can turn your flashlight into a red light with a little bit of red cellophane, fabric, or paper.
And if you’re lucky enough to be visiting in mid-August, plan to see the Perseid Meteor Shower. It’s one of the most reliable meteor showers and can be seen from all lookouts across the park.
Memorable Lodging: Autocamp
If glamping is your style (and it’s definitely ours), look no further than Autocamp Joshua Tree. Located just outside of the park, Autocamp’s luxury glamping accommodations are exactly what’s needed after a fun and hot day in the desert. Their comfy beds, oversized fire pits, and air conditioning make for relaxing evenings and mornings before you set out on your next High Desert adventure. They even have a general store and pool in case you forget your toothbrush or want to take a cool dip after a long hike!
You can review their rates and availability here. Be sure to check out their seasonal offers and summer weekday special for discounted rates.
Joshua Tree Souvenirs & Apparel: NPA Park Store
If you’re hoping for some swag and bummed the cacti are off-limits, look no further than the National Park Association store. Located near the main park entrance, the park store is stocked with Landmark hats, tees, stickers, and posters featuring Joshua Tree’s iconic plants and rock formations. When you go, snap us a pic! Or better yet, tag us in your photos wearing Landmark gear at the park! We love seeing our designs out on the trail.
And if there’s something you hoped for but didn’t see in the park store, you can order Joshua Tree apparel directly from our website.
Favorite Nearby Attraction: Moorten Botanical Garden
With Palm Springs less than an hour’s drive away, we recommend a quick trip to the local Moorten Botanical Garden. Established in 1938, this privately-owned arboretum houses desert trees, plants, and cacti from around the world. Plus, admission is just $5! If you want a quick break from the desert heat and love desert plants, there’s no place better than the Moorten family’s botanical garden.
Grab a Drink with Friends: Bootlegger Tiki
No trip to sunny Palm Springs or Joshua Tree would be complete without a cold drink with friends! If you’re already in Palm Springs or you're headed up the road to do some local exploring, we recommend Bootlegger Tiki for handcrafted cocktails and the chillest vibes. Located in a historic building, Bootlegger Tiki is a local favorite that celebrates happy hour every day with $3 beers and $7 select cocktails. Word on the street is they fill up fast so call ahead for a booth reservation or try your chances at the door!
We understand if you want to drop your other plans and head to Joshua Tree right now. In fact, we wish we could join you! In the meantime, be sure to tag us in your adventure photos or drop us a message to let us know how much you loved it. Can’t wait to meet you out there in America’s wild places!
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