Joshua Tree National ParkLeave review
About Joshua Tree National Park
Where can you find geological formations, other-worldly in their contortions, that rise like desert gods toward an empty sky? Joshua Tree National Park camping, where the earth’s rich history is hidden within the dusty, red rock. Sudden pools, silent and still, appear and disappear along the landscape, while the twisted branches of Joshua trees trace a slow dance against the skyline. Joshua Tree National Park is a place of legend and mystery, where pioneers, wandering through dust and sand, saw prophets in the trees; where constellations, ancient and never-ending, explode across the night sky. Joshua Tree camping is always inspiring and wild, a place that captures the imagination and heart of every person who steps inside its dusty borders. Explore the endless miles of hiking and backpacking trails, or explore Joshua Tree vertically with its thousands of rock climbing opportunities. Enjoy the magical experience of Joshua Tree National Park camping any way you like; there’s no better place to sit still on a rocky ledge and take in the awesome world around you.
With nine campgrounds to choose from, there’s no shortage of places to set up camp at Joshua Tree National Park. Bring the family to Jumbo Rocks for, well, jumbo rocks! Or head to White Tank campground to sleep beside Arch Rock. Sheep Pass is great for groups, or if you’ve got a horse in tow, head to Ryan Campground. No matter your chosen lodgings, Joshua Tree camping will stun you with its epic scenery, incredible stargazing, and unique natural splendor. So why aren’t you outside yet?
Campgrounds in Joshua Tree
If Joshua Tree camping is on the mind, staying at Jumbo Rocks campground is a must! Family-friendly Jumbo Rocks campground is located just a short...
If desert camping is on your radar, set your sights upon White Tank Campground at Joshua Tree National Park, where scrambling around striking rock...
Experience some of the best in Joshua Tree camping at Indian Cove, where you can adventure the day away among the steep and tall rock formations...
Sleep and adventure within one of Joshua Tree National Park’s densest Joshua Tree forests at Black Rock Campground. With 100 individual sites,...
Hidden Valley Campground is a good option for those looking to sleep among starry skies near the center of the park on their next Joshua Tree...
Gather your crew and experience the sheer amazingness of Joshua Tree camping at Sheep Pass Campground, one of three group campgrounds in the park....
Visit Ryan Campground on your next Joshua Tree camping trip for the rare experience of sitting atop a towering boulder as the golden glow of sunset...
If you’re after a weekend of stargazing and wildflower peeping, Cottonwood Campground should probably be added to the “must-stay” list for your...
If you’re looking for a unique travel experience in the American southwest, Joshua Tree camping is not to be missed. Visit one of Belle...
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Great group site. We stayed at site #03, HUGE site! 3 picnic tables, big fire ring with grill option, big bbq grill. Right next to a rock formation, short walk to bathrooms, one of the more private sites in Sheep Pass as the Rocks separate you from the others.
The coolest campground in the park by far. Helpful tip on busy days when searching for a site: CHECK THE TAGS & THE SITE! Some sites are set back out of view & some campers don't remove the tags making it look like they're occupied and they're not!
Sheep Pass was an awesome site! We had G3, and there were only 8 of us but there was a TON of room. It had 3 picnic tables, a large grill and a large fire pit with a grill on top. Bathrooms were close by, but no sinks or running water. Beautiful and spacious!
Loved how close this site was to the rocks! Agree that one should take advantage of a night hike if camping here since you won't have to go way out of your way and can make it back without difficulty. Arrived on a Friday morning this summer and was surprised at how many spots were already claimed - arrive early if you plan on staying the weekend!
I camped here with my sister the other weekend. We drove to the park from LA (roughly a 3 hour drive for those wanting to know. We stopped for coffee and to see the giant dinosaur statues). By the time we got there at 11am Saturday morning the camp grounds were already full. We had to stay at a private campground called Joshua Lake (it was...fine). Sunday we set up at Jumbo Rocks once the weekend crowd started to clear out! Great campsite. The rocks provide privacy from other campers and great cover from any wind. Each site has a fire pit and the toilets are kept pretty clean. Super easy parking and awesome central location in the park.
Super great campsite just outside of the park. We booked a week in advance in January and got a great site, we were in #68 which we liked, but 76 looked good too, I'm sure there are other great ones, that is just another good one we saw in our loop as we were leaving. Great rocks to climb around just behind the site, and yes, noise was kind of an issue, we had some loud neighbors but it wasn't too bad. The stars were amazing. A really nice option to be able to reserve a site here in advance, rather than chancing your luck on Jumbo Rocks. Honestly would probably just always reserve a site here and just drive in to Jumbo Rocks/the park to explore more. And also, dogs are allowed! :)
Last month I had an amazing solo stay at Indian Cove. I opted to reserve ahead because I didn't know what time I would roll in, but it turned out to only be about half full anyway. Glorious stars and in the midst of the Wonderland of Rocks... can't be beat. Definitely check the map as you select a spot though, some are rather tight, and others totally free to the wide world. Easy access to the Boy Scout Trail that's about a 7 mile hike to more central Joshua Tree, and otherwise on the outskirts of the park if you're into dabbling in some local coffee and vintage shops.
Water, water, water. A good rule of thumb is two gallons per-person, per day. And don’t forget sunscreen!
Great campground in Joshua tree. We camped here on Christmas Day and were surprised to find it completely full, but luckily someone was kind enough to share a site with us. The campsites are large and there is plenty of space, bathrooms are clean. We were able to ride our bikes from the campground to several other areas in the park easily.
Just spent Mon-Wed of Thanksgiving week here. AMAZING. Just a stunning as the pics suggest. Because the camp is first come first serve we were in the park looking for a spot by 11:30am (we were supposed to wait til 12 but I was nervous). We got a spot but it was full by probably 1:30 with people roaming for a spot. Lesson here was this time of year, get there early. Perfect trip except a coyote ran off with one of my husband's hiking boots.
This is the best campground in the park imo. The sites are well situated around the rock formations to give each tag its own secluded spot away from the other travelers. Better yet, once camped you can walk out in any direction from your site into the park and begin to explore!
Two friends and I went the third weekend in Jan and found about 10/125 sites vacant at about 12pm when we arrived. The ranger told us this is one of the best times to visit due to low crowd volume. It got a bit windy and pretty cold at night (
What do you do when your favorite campground inside the JTNP is full?
Head to sunfair rd and broadway and you find Joshua Tree Dry Lake.
This vast open area is an overflow for all JTNP campgrounds. You may also head out to Joshua Tree Lake with functional campground. The JT Dry Lake does not have water or toilet. No Camp fires (you have to create one without burning the tumble weeds). This is a free for all offtrail camp site.
I usually like to hike the Boyscout trail and backcountry camp but found myself getting in late one night last summer and ended up staying at Jumbo Rocks. My girlfriend and I set up camp right against the face of the boulder. Getting a fire going in the fire pit there lit up the whole place and had a really nice glow to it. The next morning was awesome bouldering and jumping around the top. Plus, there are bathrooms and trash bins near by.
We arrived here around 7pm on the Tuesday before Memorial Day Weekend and had our pick of the sites. Ended up at site #76, which felt really private, had great views, and was sheltered from the hot, early morning sun (essential if you want to sleep in past 5am!)
No cell service here, but it's really close to town. 10 minutes down the road is the Joshua Tree Coffee Company, which makes killer nitro iced coffees, has a gorgeous outdoor seating area, and wifi. Great for working remotely.
Rock climbers, there are two spots that have great climbing accessible by car: Indian Cove area around a campground roughly 3 miles south of Highway 63, and the Hidden Valley area near the center of the park.
A good desert hiking kit is made of two liters of water for every mile (more if it is hot), protein bar, nuts, and electrolytes.
Because the weather can change rapidly in a desert, it is always a good idea to let someone know where you will be going, and when you should be back.
Probably the 3rd campground in from the entrance to JT, it's not the biggest but that often means people pass it by and you can snag a site (if you're lucky since its first come first serve). No real cell reception in this part of the park which is fine by me. Nice rock formation (easy scrambling like class 3 or class 4) at the center of the campground that the sites are situated around like a pinwheel. No water but has pit toilets.
I think this is the best campground in the park. So much to explore in the campground itself. We sat on the jumbo rocks behind us and stargazed at night. Although this is one of the bigger sites, it's still hard to find spots. But the spots are large and pretty private.
Great place to camp in Joshua Tree. You are all surrounded with rocks and boulders. There are few places you can find shade during the day also. You just need to look for it. Also, you might have rock climbers repelling down to your campsite in the morning.
Highly recommend booking a group site ahead of time. You get an enormous area to explore by yourself, and the boulders jutting up right into your campsite keep your space secluded and provide perfect climbing opportunities. Did have some noise issues with the neighbors hosting a large party, but it didn't bother our small group…a lot. Beautiful!
This place is great. Even though the site was completely full, we felt removed and isolated. Our site was nestled against some rocks, complete with picnic table, grill and fire pit. Remember to keep in mind that there is no running water. Being downwind from the restroom is not preferable.
Be sure to arrive early to ensure a spot! There are so many great places to camp inside JT, but I love camping here the most. The skull rock trail is conveniently located in the campground, an easy and gorgeous 1.7 mile hike that begins and ends in Jumbo Rock campground. A must do in the evening just before the sun sets!
I loved Jumbo Rocks Campground. We went to explore and climb so I also checked out Hidden Valley since a lot of the climbing is near there but liked Jumbo Rocks much more as a campground. Many of the sites are large (we camped at #1 and it was plenty large for multiple tents) and because of the rocks and layout of the campground you're more likely to feel like you're in an isolated/private site at JR. You're near Skull Rock and other trails and can even climb up on the boulders to get a better view. Needless to say, the scenery is amazing, and the stars... to die for... but that would be all over the park :-)
I definitely have to come back here and climb one day! All of the park is gorgeous and there are tons of campsites to choose from out of the 9 campgrounds. I love that most are first-come-first serve as well. We got there at night and couldn't find a site because it was the week after Easter so we camped for free at the BLM land not too far from the park. The next day we got to the park early and started scouting for campsites.
TIP: go early and walk around the campsites to see who is leaving when.
This campsite was awesome though with a lot of privacy and lots of amazing boulders and rocks nearby to climb on. Would highly recommend!
Ended up here by accident after we had a reservation mishap over in Jumbo Rocks. Boy were we happy with this place--it's a bit more of a hidden gem! Lots of space, lots of climbing. The surrounding rock formations make each campsite unique and private. We loved it here and can't wait to return.
Stayed at campsite #76, after arriving around 6:00pm on Saturday night (1st weekend in August).
Busy but somewhat quiet for the crowds. There were some 18ish year olds next to us doing whippets around 10 at night, but other than the sound of their balloons deflating it was a very quiet night.
Clean bathrooms, pit toilets. Amazing way to see Joshua Tree, but next time I would go during the wee
Got campsite number 8, it was a huge camp area with leveled grounds big enough for couple tents. Good subjects to photography and the sunsets are spectacular.
Came here during October and be prepared to sweat during the day and put on layers at night because the range of temperatures are 90s - low 50s. Expect to hear howling at night, watch out for rattle snakes.
Hiked from the back of one of the RV sites all the way up Warren Peak- take the Panoramic Trail, and plenty of water. Beautiful sweeping views of the San Bernadino Mountains and Twentynine Palms on one side, and the Coachella Valley on the other. We arrived at about 2pm, hiked up, spent one night- perfect for single night adventure!
Great campground! Each site feels somewhat private because of the way they're set up. It was full when we were there, yet I never felt too close to other campers. I was surprisingly pleased with the bathrooms here-- very clean. Plus, the stars are incredible here at night.
Personally, I liked camping outside of the park. Black Rock is close to everything, but far enough away to not feel like a tourist.
Lots of Joshua Trees; Plenty of hiking opportunities; Running water; Clean bathrooms with flush toilets; Visitor Center on site.
A lot of sites are close together; There can be very noisy neighbors (an entire boy scout troop set up camp next to us after 10pm..bring ear plugs!); WINDY..in fact so windy and cold that I cut my trip short by a night which I've never done before; Really close to the town of Yucca Valley, and by close I mean there are neighborhoods right outside the campground, so this is far from secluded, and city lights are visible from some areas in the campground; Fire pits were very full of ash and in need of cleaning; Not connected to the rest of the park - about 20 minute drive to west entrance
I really enjoyed staying in this campground. A kind soul shared her campsite with me, (thanks Brittany!) in what turned out to be a lovely night in Joshua Tree. Coyotes howlin', beautiful stars, and brisk nights in a smaller sized campground. Only thing that bothered me was the campers looking for sites at 11:00pm at night. Camp here if you can/share your spot if you are willing!
Great site! Surrounded by piles of rocks that were so much fun to explore. We climbed up the rocks and got a great view of the sunset. The camp site is in Joshua Tree National Park, but there are no roads to drive directly into it. You have to back track a little to get to the park. When booking your reservation check how many people are allowed in your site. We had to book two sites because each could only fit four and there was seven of us. Other sites in the campground have higher limits. Don't let that sneak up on you.
At Indian Cove you get to experience a miniature version of what you see inside the main part of the park, and it is equally as impressive as there are tons of boulders, majestic views, and a lot of hiking trails all within the vicinity. Note, there are no Joshua Trees in this campground. To see the trees you will have to enter the main part of the park. There is no running water here but is available 5 minutes away at the ranger station. The campsites themselves are totally awesome, and I would say this is one of the coolest places to camp because you can pitch your tent right next to the massive boulders. This campground attracts a rowdy crowd so be aware of that, and bring ear plugs if you can't sleep. Otherwise enjoy the desert views!
This is the southernmost campground in Joshua Tree -- it doesn't have the gravitas of the other sites with the views and the incredible rock formations in the park, but I was glad to snag a site on a busy weekend. The sites are pretty close together, so hope for a good neighbor. There was a big group of preteens -- practically a whole school -- studying geology when I was there, that may have colored my experience a bit.
We chose Black Rock because we knew we would be arriving late and wanted to guarantee a spot. Bathrooms were clean and did have running water.
The campground is inside of the park, but not accessible to the rest of the park (~20 min drive back out of the park to the nearest entrance). It was also very WINDY -- we thought it was just the weather while we were there but seems others are giving similar feedback.
We had a great time - but next time, would love to try some of the other campgrounds in the park.
Amazing campground here in Joshua tree Park ranger said all campgrounds were full but luckily we found someone leaving here at Ryan. Bathrooms are very clean and do not smell. Campsites are very large with flat spot for tent, Alot of trails and places to go in Joshua tree. I am not a big fan of the sun but it was still an amazing experience. Most campsites do not have any shade so be warned. We brought a cal king sheet and some para-cord and managed to make shift a good shade over our picnic table. It was a lot of fun and an amazing experience. park rangers are friendly here as well. also for photographers and filmmakers. flying drones in the park can lead to a hefty fine. And make sure we clean up after ourselves and keep our parks clean.
After my trip to this campsite, I have recommended it to everyone. The sunset and sunrise took my breath away, and the daytime adventures around the campsite are endless. Not to mention you feel like you are walking through the setting of a Dr. Seuss book! I would recommended getting the the camp between 10:30 - 11:00am to ensure that you can get the campsite you want. Make sure to check that tags as people may have left without taking them down. Most of all, enjoy!
Awesome campground in Joshua Tree, all (I believe) are first come, first serve in Joshua Tree, so this is the third campground we drove through before finding an empty site. Glad we did! Most of the sites are tucked into the rocks, great spot if you're a climber, we didn't have any gear but scrambled to the top to watch the sunset. Large, clean campsites. Clean restrooms and easy "check-in" process. Make sure to stop and get firewood before you get into the park as it takes awhile to get to the closest gas station to pick any up. Dog friendly, but they must be on a leash.
Love J tree!! No matter how packed this place may get, you can always find your little slice of peace. Even though some of the sites are pretty close, privacy and noise have never been an issue - it seems to me the people who visit here are respectable nature loving good folk. J tree is just insanely safe and clean feeling - always!! And definitely, check the camp tags - many times they are expired and the campers forgot to remove them.
History of Joshua Tree National Park
Humans have occupied the area encompassed by Joshua Tree National Park's nearly 800,000 acres for at least 5,000 years. The first group known to inhabit the area was the Pinto Culture, followed by the Serrano, the Chemehuevi, and the Cahuilla.
In the 1800s cattlemen drove their cows into the area for the ample grass available at the time and built water impoundments for them.Miners dug tunnels through the earth looking for gold and made tracks across the desert with their trucks. Homesteaders began filing claims in the 1900s. They built cabins, dug wells, and planted crops.
Each group left its mark upon the land and contributed to the rich cultural history of Joshua Tree National Park. The park protects 501 archeological sites, 88 historic structures, 19 cultural landscapes, and houses 123,253 items in its museum collections.
After the area became a national monument in 1936, local and regional residents were the primary park visitors. As Southern California grew so did park visitation; Joshua Tree now lies within a three-hour drive of more than 18 million people. Since Joshua Tree was elevated from national monument to national park status in 1994 however, greater numbers of visitors from around the nation and the world come to experience Joshua Tree National Park.