Best Hikes & Things To Do In Joshua Tree National Park

So Steve & I love the Palm Springs area, (have you heard this before, maybe? 😉 ) and on our last trip we finally made it to Joshua Tree for the first time. Joshua Tree National Park is a stunning desert landscape filled with trees that grow in few places in the world, and with rock formations that are an Instagrammers dream. We went in January, and let us tell you, for nature, history and photography lovers, this place does not disappoint. We were just there for the day, so we stopped at the Joshua Tree Visitors Center and got some great info on the area. The helpful staff shared advice on everything from wildlife we might see, to the best hikes in Joshua Tree. And we even picked up a couple of souvenirs for the nature loving little ones back home! So here are our top 5 Joshua Tree hikes and some other bonus tips! Plan a trip to Joshua Tree! It’s unforgettable!



Best Hikes & Things To Do In Joshua Tree National Park


Best Hikes in Joshua Tree National Park

These are the top five Joshua Tree hikes we recommend based on ones we have done, or were strongly recommended by docents at the park. The first three we did on our day trip in, and they are all easy hikes. The last two are hikes I would love to plan when staying overnight in the Joshua Tree area, so we could take our time and fully enjoy them. If you plan a hike in Joshua Tree, make sure you check the JTNP website for maps, weather alerts, road closures and other warnings about conditions. And follow their recommendations on hiking safety!

Best Hikes & Things To Do In Joshua Tree National Park


Hidden Valley

The Hidden Valley was our favorite Joshua Tree hike during our day trip. Hidden Valley is truly a one of a kind place. A box canyon with a history of the Old West, and one of the most gorgeous desert landscapes. We want to go back to photograph it at sunrise! Easy 1 mile loop that most beginning hikers can do with no problem, although there are a few stone stairs. This hike was pretty busy during our visit in January, but there is still ample opportunity to get photos without anyone photo bombing. (Accidentally or otherwise!)

Best Hikes & Things To Do In Joshua Tree National Park

Best Hikes & Things To Do In Joshua Tree National Park


Best Hikes & Things To Do In Joshua Tree National Park

Best Hikes & Things To Do In Joshua Tree National Park

Best Hikes & Things To Do In Joshua Tree National Park


Best Hikes & Things To Do In Joshua Tree National Park

Best Hikes & Things To Do In Joshua Tree National Park


Arch Rock

Arch Rock is a much quieter spot, located near the White Tank Campgrounds. In fact, we didn’t pass anyone on the trail while we were there! Great spot for photos, with tons of gorgeous rock formations. Be aware, the parking lot for the Arch Rock trail is actually across the street from the trail itself. There is a little Kiosk just off the parking area, start there. It will take you down the road and then across the street. Easy trail with no hills, less than 1/2 mile.

Best Hikes & Things To Do In Joshua Tree National Park


Best Hikes & Things To Do In Joshua Tree National Park

Best Hikes & Things To Do In Joshua Tree National Park


Skull Rock

Skull Rock is a really short and easy trail, and in fact is so close to the road you can almost take pictures from there! (But don’t, you want to get up close to this awesome formation!) We did this one last, which was fine, because we were getting hungry but wanted one last trail before we headed out! Photo by ‘NPS‘.

Best Hikes & Things To Do In Joshua Tree National Park


Barker Dam

Barker Dam is one of the hikes recommended by the docents at the Joshua Tree Visitors Center. Considered an easy hike of a 1.5 mile loop, this one is supposed to be the perfect hike if you want to see lots of wildlife. Photo by ‘Modern Hiker‘.

Best Hikes & Things To Do In Joshua Tree National Park


Ryan Mountain

Ryan Mountain was the most challenging hike that was recommended to us, and it’s the first one we want to do on our next trip back to Joshua Tree! It’s a 3 mile loop with a 1000 feet change in elevation. But we hear the sunrise and sunsets from this peak are spectacular. Photo by ‘Yang Lu‘.

Best Hikes & Things To Do In Joshua Tree National Park


Joshua Tree Restaurants

So if you plan on spending time at Joshua Tree National Park, you are gonna get hungry. There is no food inside the park itself, but the nearby offerings are much more enticing than one might expect out in the desert. Here are some great Joshua Tree area restaurants worth trying when you’re there!



Crossroads Cafe – Great place for breakfast, but get there early. Lunch too!

Hwy 62 – Just East of Park Blvd
(760) 366-5414


Joshua Tree Coffee Company – Best coffee around and terrific pastries. Starbucks, who?

61738 29 Palms Hwy
(760) 974-4060


Organic Market Cafe – Another coffee place, but this one is organic! A lot of gluten free and vegan friendly offerings as well.

55231 Twentynine Palms Hwy
Yucca Valley, CA
(714) 488- 1782



Joshua Tree Saloon – Best Burgers in town, good beer selection and music on the weekends. Cool, funky western vibe!

Joshua Tree, CA
Corner of Hwy 62 & Park Blvd
(760) 366-2250


Natural Sisters Cafe – Vegetarian and Some Vegan offerings with great salads and sandwiches. Even smoothies!

Joshua Tree, CA
Hwy 62, just East of Park Blvd
(760) 366-3600


Firehouse Subs in Yucca Valley – Want something fast, but not fast food? Firehouse subs is a national chain, but they have great fresh sub sandwiches and they give back to the local community. We ate there for a quick lunch and we would eat there again.

58709 29 Palms Hwy
Yucca Valley, CA
(760) 228-1234



29 Palms Inn – Fine dining in the desert, music on some nights! No reservations, so be prepared to wait on a busy night. Worth it!

73950 Inn Avenue
Twentynine Palms, CA
(760) 367-3505


Pie for The People – NY style pizza with a west coast twist. Great for lunch or dinner!

61740 29 Palms Hwy
Joshua Tree, CA
(760) 366-0400


La Casita Nueva – Great Mexican food, and if you aren’t the designated driver, check out their awesome margaritas!

57154 29 Palms Hwy
Yucca Valley, CA
(760) 365-5061


La Copine – La Copine is a new offering for Joshua Tree restaurants. It is the perfect place for foodies, luring people from as far away as L.A. on any given night.

848 Old Woman Springs Road
Yucca Valley, CA


Joshua Tree AirBnB Options

If you want to go to Joshua Tree for more than just a day trip, you are going to want to check out the Joshua Tree AirBnB options. Why? Cause they are awesome. This may be in the middle of a desert, but the places you can stay in JT can be everything from artist funky to downright sophisticated. And they all make the most of the gorgeous landscape, the beautiful night skies, and the solitude you find in the desert. Photo below is ‘The Joshua Tree House‘.

You just have to check out some of these places. They are absolutely gorgeous and just so cool! Click on the links below to see photos and more information.


Joshua Tree Little Jo Cabin

The Joshua Tree Little Jo Cabin is set all alone in a desert landscape, giving you the perfect place to relax and enjoy the wildlife. The space is a blend of boho and modern desert design, has two bedrooms and great reviews. From $134 a night.


The Shack Attack in Joshua Tree

One of the reviewers who have stayed at The Shark Attack spells it our perfectly…”Absolutely magic. The shack is just as stunning in real life as it is in the pictures.” One bedroom, one bath, secluded and tranquil location. This even has a fun & funky outdoor bathtub! From $160 a night.


The Joshua Tree House

The Joshua Tree House is one of the most popular AirBnB’s in the area, so be sure to book this one in advance! Gorgeous views, stunning decor, and even a Jacuzzi, and a stock tank pool for the warmer months! Perfect Honeymoon location! From $285 a night. Walking distance to town.


The Casita by The Joshua Tree House

The Casita has the same owners as the Joshua Tree house, so you get the same level of decor and amenities here. This is a two bedroom that is set among the boulders with complete privacy. Be aware this one is a 15 minutes drive into town, some of it on dirt roads. Looks worth it to us! Over 300 five star reviews. From $299 a night.


Architect’s Off-Grid Stargazing Cabin

Ok. Seriously. The Architect’s Off Grid Stargazing Cabin is remarkable. This peaceful setting and modern design makes this a prime Joshua Tree AirBnB, but the heated outdoor stargazing bedroom? Stunning. Worth every penny. From $353 a night.

Best Hikes & Things To Do In Joshua Tree National Park


Camping in Joshua Tree

For those of you who love the great outdoors, there are tons of camping opportunities in Joshua Tree. If you like the idea of having a bed and a place to cook indoors, then try RV camping! If you jump on over to ‘Your RV Lifestyle‘, they have a great guide on how to RV in Joshua Tree! (And, it rhymes, so it has to be cool!)

To find campsites and advice for tent camping in the park, visit ‘The National Park Service‘ website.

So hopefully you are already planning your Joshua Tree hikes and a full visit to the park. The next time we go back, we will definitely be staying in one of those inspiring AirBnB’s, and taking a dinner at La Copine, with a great burger at the Joshua Tree Saloon! Also check out our post on the Palm Springs Tramway!

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more info.

Kathy Bates

Kathy Bates & Steve Bates (co-owners) – Woodard Bates Media LLC consisting of three blogs:, and

Kathy Bates’ previous writing credits include:

Former home decorating expert for Lifetime TV, Galtime and Country Woman Magazine.

Her book spent time at #1 on Amazon’s Home & Garden Topseller List in 2002.

Published or featured in numerous national publications, including:

Country Sampler’s Decorating Ideas magazine, Woman’s Day magazine, HGTV, The Wall Street Journal, CBS Marketwatch, Decorating Solutions magazine, Decorating Ideas magazine, The Seattle Times, Chicago Tribune, Kansas City News, The Oklahoman, Akron Beacon Journal, Pensacola News Journal and The Telegraph.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.