Where to Camp and Stay
The National Park Service operates nine campgrounds in the park. Hidden Valley Campground (north end) is the only one that is open year-round. Belle, Ryan, and White Tank (center of the park) campgrounds are first-come, first-served, but closed June 10 to August 29. Black Rock (north end), Cottonwood (southernmost), Indian Cove (north end), and Jumbo Rocks (center of the park) campgrounds are reservation-only all or at least part of the year.
Campgrounds usually fill throughout the week from October through May, so the NPS suggests reserving sites or having alternate overnight plans. There are numerous private campgrounds and dispersed camping areas outside the park. During the off-season, which is June through September, all open campsites are first-come, first-served. However, take note of some closures.
If a real bed is more your speed, book accommodations in Palm Springs, Indio, Coachella, La Quinta, Cathedral City, Twentynine Palms, Desert Hot Springs, and Yucca Valley—all less than an hour from a park entrance.
Remember, Tread Lightly
Joshua Tree National Park is a fragile desert ecosystem, which includes vast amounts of cryptobiotic soil—or communities of living organisms—that can be ruined by a single footstep. Look for a crust-like layer on the desert floor.
Practice these Leave No Trace principles to protect the sensitive environment so it’s around for years to come: plan ahead and prepare, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize campfire impact, respect wildlife, and be considerate of others.