Purty Yurty was a hidden gem I stumbled upon through my adventures (or “tedventures” as I like to call them) as a Hipcamp Field Scout. The drive itself from San Diego, is a serene, peaceful opportunity to reconnect with the calm desert roads and enjoy a somewhat quick 3-hour drive. During road trips, I love to listen to RadioLab podcasts, and of course sprinkle in some classic driving oldies and tunes from my favorite new musical, The Greatest Showman (a must see).
Before arriving to the site, we made a quick pitstop by the Noah Purifoy Foundation, a local outdoor art museum. If you happen to find yourself in the Joshua Tree area, I would strongly recommend stopping here, as it truly inspires the appreciation for the recycling of materials and creating of beautiful architectural structures and art pieces. Admission is free with a box in front for donations. We didn’t have to check in to our Hipcamp until 3, so there was much time to explore the endless possibilities of Joshua Tree—from the giant rock landmark to small shops and boutiques around the area to various hikes within Joshua Tree National Park. Next time, I hope to check out this a drive-in movie site!
While the directions were clear and easy to find, the dirt roads were a bit of a challenge for my average to sedan. Be prepared for traveling for a good amount of time at speeds of 15mph as you find your way to this amazing site. For those who have cars more prepared for the desert terrain, cruise on through without a doubt on your mind!
Upon arriving to the site, it is somewhat resembling a large cul-de-sac with the yurt on one side and a large chunk of open area immediately adjacent to it. Off to the side only 100 feet from the yurt is a wonderfully maintained porta potty. When checking the dates, the cleaning was immaculately done and showed evidence of maintenance on the weekly! I haven’t seen a better kept one in my life!
Immediately we went to unpacking the car and found that there was a keypad with pin required to enter the yurt. With a quick call to the property manager, we were right inside to the beautifully decorated and maintained yurt. As it was my first time staying in a yurt, I had no idea what to expect. My initial google searches gave me a plethora or ideas as to what I might be able to expect, and Purty Yurty met all my excited expectations. The inside was lined with rugs all around and a large bed that was spacious and quite comfortable, especially for those who have a taste for softer mattresses. All around the walls of the yurt were amenities provided for the average guest. From a heater (with propane provided), to a fan unit, table, camp chairs, select board games and novels, Purty Yurty was indeed well equipped. As noted, make sure you bring plenty of water as the desert is dry and hydration is of utmost importance!
Immediately surrounding Purty Yurty there isn’t a ton to do but relax and enjoy the desert scenery, play outdoors games (they have bocce ball!) and enjoy a quiet desert evening around the fire. The firepit is about 100 yards away from the yurt along the outskirt of the paved land and is crudely constructed with bricks. Bring plenty of firewood, especially in the winter time as the nights get on the chillier side. Two camp chairs are provided so if you have more guests, plan accordingly!
The desert’s quiet ambiance and neutral colors bring a peace of mind that constantly drags me back out. Joshua Tree National Park is within a half hour drive and Yucca Valley (the neighboring town) has a variety of food outing destinations, not to mention almost every fast food restaurant thinkable. With the sun on its way down, we quickly prepared dinner—cup ramen and roasted veggies and steak—and watched the technicolored desert sunset before retreating to the yurt.
The Purty Yurty is very well insulated, and with the additional heater available, we had no issue with the cool, desert night. For those a bit more sensitive to the could, I recommend bringing an additional blanket for later in the night. With the early sunset, we were drawn back outside as Joshua Tree has some of the best stargazing available. The desert openness and the clear skies led to some amazing views of stars and an enormous and extraordinary view of the moon. And with that we called it a night and let the desert quiet lull us to sleep.
Day two was even prettier than the first. The sun was beating down just enough where the lighting was phenomenal. We spent the morning snapping some pictures and practicing our wood chopping skills (“skills” being a term of loose association). With that we decided to cook a quick breakfast of sausages and hash browns—all from Trader Joe’s—and enjoy a cup of coffee from the Chemex we had brought to accentuate our glamping experience. With our bellies full and our minds refreshed, we decided to lay around for a bit before packing and calling an end to our lax and much enjoyed trip. We rolled down the windows and lounged, taking in the desert breeze through the door and the view up through the ceiling. All in all, we were pleasantly recharged and ready for the week ahead.
Purty Yurty was indeed a site to behold. With notes that hinted on some additional amenities in the future, we are so excited to have had the opportunity to scout again another treasure in Joshua Tree.
Until the next one!
Ted is a science teacher in San Diego, California. As a Hipcamp field scout, he enjoys capturing memories and moments through his love for photography and the creative arts behind the lens. His aspires to inspire his students to explore and love the outdoors and hopes to one day travel the world with his Golden Retriever, Ruxpin.
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