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Destination: Joshua Tree

Quiet isolation and awe-inspiring views create a soothing elixir. Drink up!


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Photos by Marina Chavez and Taryn Kent

Stay

As the myth of Joshua Tree’s allure has solidified over time, there’s been an influx of artists and industry professionals who’ve relocated to the Joshua area. The result has been an emergence of prime rental properties situated within easy reach of the national park. So your best bet for comfort, amenities, and those incredible Joshua Tree views is to book a private home through AirBnB or VRBO. These range from stylishly updated cottages to luxury homes with grand swimming pools and elaborate outdoor setups. For families and outdoor lovers who are willing to rough it to sleep under the stars, Jumbo Rocks has an assortment of campsites nestled around world-class climbing and bouldering spots, which provide magnificent sunset viewing points. The chic mini-motel Mojave Sands was renovated in 2002, 50 years after it first opened. Rooms are appointed with both a Bose sound dock and record player with records. Those looking for a clean and comfy base will find an eco-friendly match at the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott in Twentynine Palms. Listed as one of TripAdvisor’s GreenLeader venues, the low-environmental-impact establishment offers high-speed Internet access and a great pool.

Eat

Crossroads Cafe

Crossroads Cafe is the fueling station of choice for a big day of hiking, climbing, or general sightseeing. Every morning at 7 a.m., you’ll see locals and tourists spread out across the tables, examining maps, apps, and laptops over steaming cups of coffee. The “Breakfast To Nowhere” menu delivers hearty omelets, scrambles, and sandwiches. If you’re after a healthier alternative, head across the road to the Natural Sisters Cafe for one of its organic smoothies, gluten-free muffins, or vegan wraps, all made from ingredients sourced at Joshua Tree’s Certified Farmers Market.

Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace

You’ll find the best nights out at legendary live music venue, Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, home of the finest mesquite barbeque in California’s High Desert. This institution has hosted the likes of everyone from Eric Burdon and Wanda Jackson to Future Islands and Vampire Weekend. Pioneertown was initially built as a movie set for Westerns, and has maintained much of its original charm.

Play

Barker Dam

Joshua Tree National Park is the main attraction for good reason. You’ll walk, you’ll hike, you’ll stare into the distance and watch electric sunsets roil the afternoon sky with red and gold shockwaves. Barker Dam has a great entry-level walking trail with family-friendly bouldering and ancient petroglyphs along the way. Hidden Valley is a remarkable place with a very short but scenic walking loop, offering visitors a glimpse at what was once a surreal hiding place for stock thieves during the late 1800s. For an evening picnic, Indian Cove is a short drive from the park, into another stunning landmark destination with 1- to 6-mile hiking loops and viewpoints. If you’re open to something completely different, try a sound bath at the late George Van Tassel’s Integratron, located in nearby Landers. This unique sound chamber is an electrostatic generator that uses quartz crystal singing bowls to facilitate a sonic healing session that’s unlike anything you’ll find at a spa. For shoppers, a lesser-known secret of the area are the vintage stores located along the Twentynine Palms Highway between Yucca Valley and the town of Joshua Tree. The End, Hoof & The Horn, and Ricochet Vintage Wears are gold mines for hipsters hunting for hidden gems. 

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