Photo Credit: Instagram User @joshuatreenps
Would you like to enjoy rare natural wonders not found anywhere else in the world?
Joshua Tree National Park is famous for its unique foliage, dazzling night sky, and one-of-a-kind rock formations.
This desert landscape covers 1,235 square miles of mountainous regions and incredible views.
Take a journey with us as we explore everything you need to know about RV camping in Joshua Tree National Park!
Table of Contents
Evidence shows that humans have occupied the Joshua Tree area for at least 5,000 years! However, the first Europeans to reach Joshua Tree didn’t discover the desert until 1776 by Spanish explorers. Since that time, people have worked hard to preserve the natural beauty of the landscape. Take a look at some interesting Joshua Tree National Park facts about the famed area!
The park was dubbed a national monument by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1936 but wasn’t made a national park until 1994.
There are six mountain ranges within the park.
There are two very distinctive deserts in Joshua Tree: the Colorado and Mojave Deserts.
The highest point in the park is Quail Mountain, which reaches 5,816 feet in elevation.
The oldest rocks in Joshua Tree are estimated to be around 1.7 billion years old.
The park has 191 miles of hiking trails.
Skull Rock, named for its skull-shaped appearance, was formed from rainwater accumulating in little depressions in the large rock over many years.
Joshua Trees only grow in the Mojave Desert of California, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah between elevations of 2,000 and 6,000 feet.
Photo Credit: Instagram Users @elliejohnson & @thetravelinglyons
Are you a first-time RV camper? Or perhaps you’re a seasoned professional getting ready for your next great adventure? Joshua Tree National Park RV camping is a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoy some peace in nature. Check out these RV campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park!
Black Rock Campground
Amenities: Located in the northwest corner of the park, Black Rock Campground has sites with picnic tables, fire rings, restrooms, and water. Additionally, this area has cell phone service. While the site does have water and dump stations, there are no RV hookups. Generators can be used on the site, but only at specified times.
Capacity: 99 reservable sites
More Information: Black Rock Campground
Amenities: Belle Campground is a small site with no RV hookup, no water, and no dump station. However, there are pit-toilets on-site, and generators are permitted, but they can only be turned on during specified times. Because of the remote location of this campground, Belle is a great place to see the stars at night.
Capacity: 18 first-come-first-serve sites
More Information: Belle Campground
Amenities: During October through May, Cottonwood Campground is reservation-only. While there are no RV hookups, visitors do have trash/recycle pickup, a dump station, potable water, and flush toilets. Generators are permitted during certain times of the day.
Capacity: 62 reservable sites
More Information: Cottonwood Campground
Hidden Valley Campground
Amenities: While the Hidden Valley Campground has trash/recycle pickup, there is no dump station, potable water, or RV hookups available. However, generators can be used at certain times of the day. RVs and trailers may not exceed a combined maximum length of twenty-five feet.
Capacity: 44 first-come-first-serve sites
More Information: Hidden Valley Campground
Indian Cove Campground
Amenities: Indian Cove Campground is conveniently located off Highway 62, just 13 miles from Joshua Tree Village. The large campsite is equipped with vaulted toilets, trash and recycling collection, and on-site staff. However, there are no RV hookups available or potable water. Generators can be used at specified times. The surrounding rock formations make this a popular campsite!
Capacity: 101 reservable sites & 92 first-come-first-serve sites
More Information: Indian Cove Campground
Jumbo Rocks Campground
Amenities: As one of the largest campgrounds in Joshua Tree, Jumbo Rocks is centrally located and has great views of rock formations. The campsite offers trash and recycling collection; however, it does not have RV hookup or potable water available.
Capacity: 124 reservable sites
More Information: Jumbo Rocks Campground
Amenities: Ryan Campground is located adjacent to the California Riding and Hiking Trail. While there is no RV hookup or potable water, this site does have equestrian accommodations and bicycle sites. Trash and recycling collection is also available.
Capacity: four reservable sites & 31 first-come-first-serve sites
More Information: Ryan Campground
White Tank Campground
Amenities: The White Tank Campground is nestled in large granite boulders, creating a unique scenic view for visitors. RVs cannot exceed 25 feet in length, and there is no water available. However, this site is located in one of the darkest areas of the park, offering excellent views of the night sky. This is the perfect spot for stargazers!
Capacity: 15 first-come-first-serve sites
More Information: White Tank Campground
Joshua Tree Lake RV and Campground
Amenities: Want a place where you can hook up your RV? Joshua Tree Lake RV Campground has electricity and water hookup available. Whether you want 20 & 30 AMP or 50 AMP electrical hookup, this campground has everything you need! Additionally, Joshua Tree Lake RV and Campground has a dump station and potable water.
This is one of the only RV parks near Joshua Tree National Park, located just outside of the park. Many people flock to this site because of the fishing opportunities at Joshua Tree Lake.
Capacity: 44 RV sites
More Information: Joshua Tree Lake RV and Campground
Photo Credit: Instagram Users @ipp14, @d__kim, @gavin.spear, @nientiedt_photography, @somewheresierra & @gaetan
With dry, hot summer months and mild winters, Joshua Tree National Park offers fun activities for year-round adventures. But what is the best time to visit Joshua Tree National Park and when is the best time to go RV camping? Let’s find out!
While most national parks are covered in multiple feet of snow, Joshua Tree National Park typically stays snow-free! While snowfall does occur in higher elevations, it is rare. Therefore, rock climbers and hikers often like to visit Joshua Tree in the winter when national parks like Yosemite make outdoor adventures difficult.
Even though there isn’t much snow, winters can still be chilly. During the day, temperatures are typically in the 60s, but night's reach freezing temperatures. These cool nights are perfect for snuggling inside a generator-heated Cruise America RV rental.
Crowds tend to be moderate in winter due to the cold weather, but this time of year is not nearly as popular as spring. Therefore, if you like cool weather and want to avoid the crowds, winter is a great time to visit.
In the springtime, day temperatures are mild and the nights are crisp, making this the perfect time for daytime adventures.
During this time, not only is the weather great, but the desert is alive with color. Joshua Tree is home to many stunning wildflowers that bloom in the spring.
However, great weather conditions bring large crowds. While mid-week crowds aren’t bad, weekends can be very busy, especially during the holidays and spring break. Because of that, finding RV campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park can be hard.
Summer months are very hot in Joshua Tree, with temperatures often reaching over 100 degrees, and the air quality may be poor due to hot temperatures. Therefore, outdoor activities can be dangerous, especially if you don’t have enough water with you. If you decide to visit in summer, limit physical activity to the early mornings or evenings.
Despite the hot weather, Joshua Tree rarely reaches humidity levels above 25 percent, making it a very dry heat.
Because of the scorching temperatures, summer brings very low crowds to Joshua Tree.
However, despite the hot days, night temperatures typically don’t go below 75 degrees, making the weather very enjoyable. Additionally, summer is the best time of year for stargazing. You can see the edge of the milky way and billions of stars on a clear night.
While temperatures are still hot in September, they cool off in October. In fact, October and November are some of the best times to visit Joshua Tree National Park because the weather is nice, but the crowds are much smaller than they are in spring.
In fact, the average high is 85 degrees, and the average low is 50 degrees.
In the end, if you don’t want weather that’s scorching hot or too cold, and you want to avoid crowds, fall can be a great time of year to plan your RV camping trip.
Photo Credit: Instagram User @harkanfilms
Joshua Tree National Park is a great place to relax and enjoy the quiet, peaceful nature of the area. However, there are lots of outdoor activities to keep anyone busy during their visit. Check out these adventurous things to do in Joshua Tree National Park!
Hiking is one of the most popular things to do in Joshua Tree National Park. For instance, Skull Rock Nature Trail is an easier trail with only a 1.7-mile loop. If you are feeling a little more adventurous, Ryan Mountain hike is a strenuous three miles hike at 1,000 feet. The 49 Palms Oasis trail is another three-mile hike that is moderately strenuous, as it ascends about 300 feet each way. However, there are many other trails for you to check out!
Joshua Tree is renowned for its rock climbing opportunities. Specifically, Hidden Valley is a world-class rock climbing spot.
The Joshua Tree National Park Museum houses collections of the cultural history of the area and the people who have lived there. Additionally, the museum features information about the environment, its natural resources, and how the park has tried to manage those resources.
Horseback riding is a fun activity to do in Joshua Tree. With 253 miles of equestrian trails, you will have plenty of land to explore. Many campsites even have places for your equestrian friends to stay.
With over 792,000 acres of wilderness, Joshua Tree National Park is the ideal backpacking destination. There are even some remote campsites if you would like to stray from your RV.
Biking allows you to travel along both roads and backcountry areas, enjoying much of the natural scenery.
Many birders visit Joshua Tree year-round to catch glimpses of desert wildlife. If you enjoy birding, Joshua Tree is a great place to go.
An 18-mile four-wheeling tour takes visitors down Geology Road. The tour involves 16 stops where you have the opportunity to enjoy the national park scenery and capture memories.
Ranger programs occur throughout the year and feature a variety of different themes. Be sure to check out what programs are available during your visit!
There are many other beautiful places to go in Joshua Tree, such as visitors centers, the Cottonwood Spring, Keys View, and Skull Rock.
Best Hiking Trails in the Park
Joshua Tree National Park offers hikers many opportunities to explore the beautiful terrain. Here are some of the top hikes in Joshua Tree.
Hidden Valley is a 1-mile round trip hike that is perfect for beginners and families. The trail is flat and winds through the desert valley, giving hikers a view of the park’s natural flora. There are also tons of monzogranite boulders that are great for climbing. While this hike isn’t challenging, you should budget some time for photography of the stunning landscape.
This trail is popular because it is suitable for any skill level. At 1.7 miles, this hike has a 160-foot elevation gain and plenty of native wildflowers. The trail gets its name from the rock with eye socket depressions that give it the appearance of a skull. You may encounter jackrabbits, snakes, or coyotes on this hike, so remember to keep your eyes open.
49 Palms Oasis
This 3.1-mile roundtrip hike is moderately strenuous, with 300 feet of elevation gain each way. The hike typically takes two to three hours to complete and will include some rock scrambling. Hiking boots and trekking poles are recommended. Hikers will see giant palm trees, barrel cacti, and more as they follow the trail.
Ryan Mountain is the hardest hike on this list, as it has an elevation gain of 1,069 feet on the 3-mile out-and-back trail. The trail will lead you to one of the highest points in the national park and give you an excellent view of Joshua Tree. This hike should not be done in the heat of summer as it is strenuous on the body. It is a continuous uphill hike.
Wildlife in Joshua Tree National Park
There are many types of wildlife you may encounter while visiting Joshua Tree National Park, including:
Desert kangaroo rats
Desert spiny lizards
Photo Credit: Instagram User @bearcam
Like most national parks, there is an entrance fee you will need to pay to enter the park. A seven-day vehicle permit will cost $30.
Additionally, some safety measures need to be taken when visiting Joshua Tree National Park. Here are important safety tips you should know when visiting the area:
During the summer, it’s hot, and hydration is vital! Generally, the average person will need to drink at least one gallon of water per person per day. If you plan to hike or climb, you will need at least two gallons of water per person per day.
In contrast, winter temperatures can drop below freezing. Avoid hypothermia by bringing extra layers of clothes.
Do not approach or feed wild animals.
Poisonous animals, including rattlesnakes, scorpions, and black widow spiders, live in the park. When you are hiking or climbing, always look at where you are placing your hands and feet and do not try to touch places you cannot see into.
There are also beehives in the park. When bees sense their home may be threatened, they can attack. Listen for buzzing and steer clear of beehives. Bees are attracted to moisture, so keep all your drinks inside your RV or sealed at all times.
Park roads are narrow and winding. Use caution while driving, mind the posted speed limit, watch for wild animals, and never go offroading.
During heavy storms, flash flooding can occur. If a thunderstorm is occurring, go to high ground.
There are some old mines in the park. If you would like to visit one, do not enter the mine shaft or tunnel.
Above all, spend time exploring the area! There are many beautiful spots for visitors to see, so make sure you take the time to see all the best landmarks.
Due to the hot summers and chilly winters, camping in tents isn’t always recommended. Thus, RV camping in Joshua Tree National Park is the best way to go!
Cruise America specializes in RV rentals in Joshua Tree National Park. Each RV is equipped with air conditioning and heating, which are vital when it comes to cooling off after a hot day or warming up during the cold nights.
Additionally, each RV comes with a generator! So even though none of the RV campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park have RV hookups, you can use the generator to cool off your temporary home in the summer and warm it up in the winter.
Similarly, not all Joshua Tree campsites have flushing toilets. Luckily for you, every single Cruise America RV rental has a freshwater toilet and a shower. More than that, you also get a gas stove, refrigerator, and microwave.
Want to bring your pet along with you? Cruise America charges no fees for pets!
Want the best prices? Cruise America has the best prices compared to other RV rental companies! No matter where you are in the United States, getting your RV ready for your Joshua Tree adventure has never been easier.
To get started, rent an RV with Cruise America today and get started on your Joshua Tree adventure!