Things to do in Joshua tree national park

Top 6 things to do in Joshua Tree National Park

You’re planning to do a roadtrip and you want to explore the beautiful desert landscape? In this blog we will tell you all about the best things to do in Joshua Tree National Park.

Joshua tree is a national park located in the desert of California. Named after the trees that slowly grow in the park, which stretches well over 1985 square miles in the desert and attracts over 2 million visitors each year. This is not a surprise because the park has spectacular landscapes that you won’t see anywhere else. 

Most visitors drive there. Some people also like to set-up camp at a campsite in the national park during the night and enjoy the beautiful desert. Rent an RV in Los Angeles and drive to the park, which is located 2 hours and 40 minutes away from our pick-up center. 

Here are the top 6 things to do in Joshua Tree National Park.

Hidden Valley nature trail

Hidden valley in joshua tree national park

The hidden valley nature trail is an easy and amusing trail of around 1 mile long. Some say that the hidden valley was used by cattle rustlers who would conceal their herd in this area. Nowadays you don’t have to worry about running into any cattles. But you will run into stunning rock formations. You can park your RV near the Hidden Valley and have a picnic  with a good view.

Would you like to make the hike a bit longer than 1 mile, you could add an extra 2.5 miles and join the hidden valley-barker dam connector trail. This trail is still relatively easy.

Cholla Cactus Garden

cholla cactus garden

On the Pinto Basin Road there is a beautiful little stop called the Cholla Cactus Garden.

For nature lovers, this site is one of the most amazing ones in the park. It has thousands of cholla cacti stretching through the desert but very densely packed. 

Skull Rock

skull rock joshua tree national park

Skull rock got its name from, well as you can see in the picture above the rock really looks like a skull. As the whole park is filled with rocks that you could see faces on, for the skull rock you don’t need to have any imagination to see that it is a skull. The rock is not sculpted by any man or woman but rather by nature itself. Skull Rock always attracts a crowd to take some pictures since it is easily accessible and located next to the road.

When visiting skull rock, you can also go on a short hike to see more rock formations. You will get to see some incredible rocky vistas that really show the identity of the park.

Keys View

keys view

The highest view in the park of more than 5,000 feet is the Keys view. When visiting during the sunset you can see amazing pink horizons when you watch over Palm Springs, Salton Sea and Coachella Valley. On a clear day it is even possible to see Mexico. You will notice when driving up this viewpoint that the temperature will drop considerably. 

Cottonwood Spring Oasis

spring oasis

The Cottonwood Springs Oasis is a permanent spring which is rare in the desert. In the spring there flows around an average of 500 gallons per day. The spring does not only attract human visitors but also all kinds of beautiful  birds. 

The spring origin is due to an earthquake many years ago. Since the spring existed native Cahuilla indians, prospectors and miners have been using it. You can still see some of the gold processing equipment and concrete ruins.

Arch Rock

arch rock

With its 30ft natural arch at the conclusion of a 6 mile journey, Arch Rock is one of the most popular hiking paths in the park and the most photographed location in the park. The trailhead is located in the White Tank Campgrounds, which has plenty of parking.

The trek isn’t tough, but because it’s so popular, it’s best to go there around sunset to escape the crowds and experience the amazing night sky without the fear of stumbling over the route.

These were the top 6 sightings that we wanted to highlight for you when you decide to go to Joshua Tree national park. Don’t hesitate to explore more than the 6 views that we covered in this blog. In fact, there are plenty of things you can do in the park, such as  bouldering,  guided tours and of course amazing hikes. 

For more road trip stops ideas, make sure to check out our other articles!

About the Autor

Daniel with a horse in a field
Daniel Vujin

Daniel is fond of going on adventures. He loves connecting with people and listening to their stories. Daniel says “while traveling you get the first hand experience and information from the experts.” His messages are all based on different perspectives that he heard along his journey.