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Joshua Tree for the Weekend: Are we on another planet?

Updated: Nov 8, 2019

Is it worth visiting Joshua Tree? Yes! We weren't quite sure what to expect when heading to Joshua Tree, but it really is so unique - in a super interesting way.

Joshua Tree, Sunset
Sunset is a truly awesome time in the park

Joshua Tree, a quirky and unique national park, with an almost eerie vibe. That being said, beautiful in its own special way - ideal for a long weekend adventure.

Helpful tips

  • Palm Springs is the closest airport, but can be pretty expensive to fly into. We ended up flying to Ontario airport (ONT), which isn't too bad of a drive to Joshua Tree

  • Sunset is definitely the best time in the park - make sure to be there then!

  • Temperatures change pretty rapidly - so bring layers (i.e., super hot in day time and we even got snow at night, not a common occurrence per the locals)

  • We made a stop in Palm Springs on the way out - always a fun place to check out if you have the time

Itinerary - Go down, pick a few different hikes that sound appealing to you and have a relaxing, fun weekend

Now for the real details!


Where to stay?

  • Lots of people camp, though that's not really our thing - so the alternative is a ton of cool options in the town, on Airbnb or Hicksville Trailer Palace, that seemed great that was booked up by the time we decided to go

What to do?

  • Hike, hike and more hike. Though all the ones we did were quite short - so you can fit a bunch in. Several were the Ryan Mountain Trail, Hidden Valley Nature Trail, Arch Rock, Skull Rock,

  • Go see the Cholla Cactus Garden - not a far drive and an interesting sight to see with cacti instead of Joshua Trees

  • If you want to go to a different part of the park - a nice, moderate hike is the Panorama Loop trail. Longer and a varied feel from the main area

  • We also checked out this old western Pioneertown which, though not overwhelming, was a nice stop and fun change of scenery!

Where to eat / drink?

  • For dinner: We went to a hoppin' pizza place one night (read: wait was very long) - Pie for the People - which did the trick for us. There aren't thaaaat many places, so there seems to be a wait in most.

  • The other night we went to Joshua Tree Saloon - a dive bar vibe (with a lot of city clientele)

  • For brunch/lunch, there are a bunch of options - though our favorite was Frontier Cafe

Joshua Tree, Cholla Cactus Garden
Cholla Cactus Garden

Final Thoughts

Would you recommend to your friend / family? Yes, quite a different place and worth a see

Would you return? No, probably not - at least for a while. Just a place to see once in a lifetime

Favorites to speak of:

  • Lodging: Our place was fine, but we would definitely check out Hicksville if we went again

  • Activity: Sight-seeing at sunset. A really great lighting for the uniqueness of the park

  • Eating/Drinking: Again, nothing in particular here - but some good brunch spots

Joshua Tree
More pretty pictures throughout the park!

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