Which Entrance Is Best for Joshua Tree?

When it comes to planning your getaway to the Joshua Tree area and to Joshua Tree National Park, there are a few things you should know when preparing your route. The entire park is surrounded by majestic landscape, however the scenery does change and bloom as you drive from the Colorado desert entrance to the Mojave desert entrance. From the south end, the park is full of desert wildflowers and cacti. As you drive north, the iconic Joshua Trees and boulder rock formations begin to populate and take your breath away.

Planning your route based on where you’re coming from and your destination inside the park is key, as there are three major entrances. When you plan correctly, you’ll spend less time driving and more time exploring all that the park has to offer. Out of the nine official Joshua Tree National Park campgrounds, there are two that are centrally located from each entrance — Sheep Pass and Jumbo Rocks — the others are listed below.

The West (Main) Entrance is for visitors coming from LA, San Diego, and Palm Springs

Located in Joshua Tree Village, the West Entrance is for visitors coming from Los Angeles, San Diego and Palm Springs. Here, you’ll be immersed in Joshua Trees and wildflowers very quickly. You are close to the services and stores of Joshua Tree Village in case you need to pick up a last-minute item, or want to grab a bite to eat. Expert Tip: It’s recommended to pay for your parking pass before driving up to the park, however you can also do this at the visitor center.

In-park campgrounds near Joshua Tree West Entrance:

Other bookable campsites and glamping sites near the West Entrance:

The North Entrance is for visitors coming from Las Vegas

Located in Twentynine Palms, the Joshua Tree National Park North Entrance is for visitors coming from Las Vegas. Here, you’ll be immersed in Joshua Trees and the iconic boulder formations of the park. There is a visitor center complete with an oasis and generous amount of information on the grounds for the full Joshua Tree experience. The 29 Palms Inn is near the entrance, should you need to spend a night outside of the park. Tip: The lines are much shorter at this entrance on weekends and holidays than the west entrance.

In-park campgrounds near Joshua Tree North Entrance:

Other bookable campsites and glamping sites near the North Entrance:

The South Entrance is for visitors coming from Phoenix, New Mexico, and Indio

Located near Cottonwood Spring, the South entrance of Joshua Tree National Park is for visitors coming from Phoenix, New Mexico or Indio. This entrance is on the Colorado desert side of the park, with a flatter terrain full of cacti and wildflowers. You will hit the iconic Joshua Trees and boulders once you drive north to the Mojave desert side.

In-park campground near Joshua Tree South Entrance:

6 more great camping, glamping, and RV sites close to Joshua Tree entrances

Backyard Bohemia, a dog-friendly glamping site right outside Joshua Tree main entrance.

1. Backyard Bohemia With views of the San Jacinto and San Gorgonio mountains, your mornings will consist of coffee next to a trickling waterfall, and your nights will consist of s’mores around the fire pit. This dog-friendly glamping site is right outside Joshua Tree National Park, with easy access to the park and downtown Palm Springs. You’ll enter the park through the West Entrance.

Mojave Stars campsite near Joshua Tree National Park north entrance.

2. Mojave Stars Camp Located right outside the North Entrance, this peaceful campsite is complete with an outdoor shower, breathtaking 360 degree views of the desert, a fire pit and picnic table. It’s close to the 29 Palms restaurant in case you want a break from camp-style grub.

2. Jazzlin Rose Ranch A lovely glamping experience, this camp has amenities including running water and a hot shower. Without traveling far, you can hike, horseback ride and bike your way through Joshua Tree National Park, then unwind under the unobstructed starry night sky. This is located near the West Entrance.

3. Sky Valley Ranch Campsite This beautiful site offers clear views and a peaceful, quiet environment. You can experience the hiking and activities of Joshua Tree National Park, along with quick access to the best spas and food in downtown Palm Springs. This is located near the West Entrance.

4. Wendy’s Kick It Spot – Tent and RV Peaceful and meditative, this campsite allows you to bring your own tent, van or RV to build your ideal spot. With amenities like a fire pit, picnic tables, showers and even WiFi, you can’t go wrong with this desert nook. Located closest to the West Wntrance.

5. Avocado Camping Deck This picturesque campsite provides large plywood platforms to elevate your tent, along with fun additions like a trampoline, swimming pool, outdoor shower and horses on-site. The communal area is a great place to meet fellow desert dwellers. You’ll enter the park through the West Entrance.

Go here to discover more of the best camping, glamping, and RV accommodations near Joshua Tree National Park.

Find out more about Joshua Tree

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Sam Negrin is a digital producer and creative content strategist based out of Venice Beach. When she's not working, you can find her exploring California by way of all the delicious food, beautiful beaches, and yoga classes it has to offer.

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