Things to Do in Joshua Tree National Park

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The famous Joshua Trees

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A quintessential National Park in the U.S., a road trip to Joshua Tree is one of the most scenic California road trips. Whether you’re visiting the charming cafes in the surrounding town or hiking through the national park, you’re guaranteed to have a memorable stay in Joshua Tree.

The town itself is named after the green and brown yucca brevifolia that are native to the area. You’ll see them scattered throughout the town and national park. It’s one of the biggest defining characteristics of Joshua Tree.

Things to Do and See in Joshua Tree asked me to share my favorite things to do in Joshua Tree National Park. And while you could easily spend an entire week exploring the vast landscape, there are certain must-see destinations to help you make the most of your time.

Hike the Hidden Valley Trail

Ideal for families or beginning hikers, this leisurely 1-mile loop is a great way to get an overview of the park. You’ll walk through massive rock outcroppings and fields of Joshua trees along the way. Because Joshua tree is one of the best places for rock climbing in the USA, you’re likely to spot a few rock climbers hanging on the sides of the rocks.

Drive through Pinto Basin

Situated by both the Mojave and Sonora deserts, the Pinto Basin has a diverse mix of landscapes. As you drive from the north to the south, you’ll have panoramic views of the deserts when you stop at Pinto Basin. While there isn’t a lot of vegetation, you will see a few cacti growing throughout the land. 

Visit the Cholla Cactus Garden

During your trip to the desert, why not stop by and view some of the residential cactus plants? At the Cholla Cactus Garden, you’ll find a trail that meanders through a vast field of unique cacti. Although it’s a spectacular sight to see, you don’t want to get poked by one of these dangerous and prickly plants!

Gaze at Arch Rock

Park at the White Tank Campground and make the short walk over to Arch Rock. As you walk through the trail, you’ll be surrounded by amazing rock formations of all different shapes and sizes. However, the most impressive is Arch Rock, which is a great setting for photography. Make sure to come early, as it can get quite busy and touristy during the latter part of the day!

Where to Stay in Joshua Tree

If you’re planning a trip to Joshua Tree, then you’ll want to stay near Joshua Tree National Park. Thankfully, there are plenty of hotels and places for accommodation in Joshua Tree.

From rustic cabins and ranch houses to five-star resorts with pools, there’s something on for every type of traveler. If you’re on a budget, then it’s also possible to book an affordable motel, which acts as a good jumping-off point for exploring the national park. 

If you’re keen to camp, my personal favorite is the White Tank Campground, due to its proximity to Arch Rock and the rest of the Park.

Final Thoughts

This is just a short list of fascinating things to do during your time in Joshua Tree. Whether you’re exploring the national park for a day or staying for an entire week, you’ll have plenty of fun activities and things to see during your stay!


Tara Burgess
Tara Burgess
Tara is a full-time traveler and part-time street food addict. When she's not blogging her adventures at My Life in Wanderland, you can find her sipping a glass of wine or slurping a bowl of hot noodles.

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