Can you camp at Joshua Tree? Yes, you can camp at Joshua Tree. In fact, Joshua Tree is one of the very best places to camp! Nine campgrounds inside Joshua Tree National Park let you pitch your tent alongside the spindly yucca palms and ancient boulder mounds that Joshua Tree is famous for. There’s nothing like having a night or two beneath the stars and hearing coyote calls and witnessing the fiery desert sunrises and sunsets as a Joshua Tree camper.
Five of Joshua Tree’s campgrounds allow you to reserve a site online up to 6 months in advance: Black Rock, Indian Cove, Jumbo Rocks, Cottonwood and Sheep Pass. During the peak season (October to May) these sites will fill up. Reservations for weekends are competitive, so plan ahead and book early, especially if you have a specific date in mind for your camping trip.
For a more spontaneous camping trip, there are four campgrounds in Joshua Tree that offer first-come, first-served camping: Hidden Valley Ryan, Belle and White Tank. You’ll want to arrive early if searching for a walk-in spot at one of these campgrounds; checkout is at noon.
When planning a camping trip to Joshua Tree, keep in mind that most of the campgrounds inside the park have pit toilets and no running water. Only Black Rock and Cottonwood campgrounds have potable water on-site and flush toilets. For all other campgrounds, you will need to haul all of your drinking, cooking and cleaning water in with you. Spigots with potable water are located at the Park’s entrance gates, but these may take 30 minutes to an hour to reach from your campground. Joshua Tree National Park recommends that guests bring 1-2 gallons of drinking water per person per day, so bring in more than that to cook, clean, and camp with.
If you can’t find a camping spot inside Joshua Tree, there are two Bureau of Land Management sites outside the park that offer dispersed camping on giant, open lots. Although these BLM sites are free to camp at, they contain no developed facilities (no water, restrooms, trashcans, etc), and the rules are strictly pack it in, pack it out. They make a good back-up if you can’t score a walk-in site and need to try again the next day, but they lack the amenities and cozy vibe of a true campsite. The NPS provides more info on these BLM sites here. Call ahead to check conditions, as certain BLM roads may require 4-wheel drive vehicles to access throughout the year.
There are also a wide variety of campsites, glampsites, and RV accommodations in the area surrounding Joshua Tree that make excellent bases for visiting the park. Nearby towns like Yucca Valley and Joshua Tree are embedded in the Mojave Desert landscape that has attracted artists and spiritualists to this area for centuries. Get the best of the the park and the local culture at a Joshua Tree area camp. Here are a few of our favorites:
1. The Desert Pensione Joshua Tree The Desert Pensione Joshua Tree is a Hipcamp just outside the West Entrance Station to the park. The Pensione features a small wood cabin with patio, as well as potable water, sink and bathroom with flush toilet. Combined with a fire pit, picnic table and old West water tower, you’ll have an outdoor living room with a desert mountain backdrop to call home during your stay.
2. Starry JT Nights Starry JT Nights is a ranch house just outside the West Entrance to Joshua Tree with three tent sites. You’ll also have drinking water and electricity on site, making it the perfect close-in tent site to stage your park and town adventures from.
3. Sky Camp at Desert Mountain Majesty The Sky Camp is a tent site at a hilltop artists ranch outside Joshua Tree with panoramic views of the desert. When you finally take your eyes off the horizon Sky Camp has beautiful, interactive artwork for you to peruse.
4. Cozy Traveli Trailer The Cozy Traveli Trailer at the Pink Cloud Ranch is an air conditioned, vintage trailer just 10 minutes drive from the park entrance. The Ranch also has a heated shower, swimming pool, adult-sized teeter totter and a trampoline.
5. A View of Joshua Tree A View of Joshua Tree at David’s Old Buffalo Ranch is a well-loved Hipcamp near the Oasis Visitors Center. The tent sites here shared a wood stove for cozy nighttime cooking, picnic table, potable water and shower. There’s even a small mountain you can explore across the street or hike up for epic sunset views.
6. The Castle House Yurt The Castle House Yurt, on the beautifully-designed Castle House Estate, is a prime glamping location. You’ll be happy to return to this white canvas yurt, with woven carpets and a queen-sized bed, after a day of desert ambling.
7. Joshua Tree Sportsman’s Club RV Park This RV Park, walking distance to the town of Joshua Tree, is the perfect solution for RV users who can’t find accommodations from the limited RV options of the park’s campgrounds. The Sportsman’s Club can accommodate vehicles 60 feet in length and features hookups, fire pits, an outdoor grill, and a bar and clubhouse open on weekends.
8. Star Base 3 on Sweetheart Ridge Star Base 3 is a natural and de-cluttered tent and RV site with beautiful mountain views. You can’t do much better for a remote and wild feeling outside the park itself.
9. Lil Copernicus The Airstream Cabin Lil Copernicus is a renovated 1972 Sovereign Airstream trailer right outside of the town of Joshua Tree. With a full bathroom, kitchen and queen bed, you’ll be a happy camper in Lil Copernicus no matter how chilly the desert night gets.
10. Monument Manor Casita Joshua Tree Monument Manor Casita is a studio that sleeps three just one mile from the west entrance to Joshua Tree National Park. Its living rooms features a roll up door that puts you face-to-face with a mountain range. There are also telescopes on-site (!) for starry nights.
Now’s a great time to find the perfect spot for your next camping, glamping or RV adventure. #FindYourselfOutside
Camping in the winter doesn't have to mean nearly freezing in your summertime-rated tent with too few blankets and firewood…