Van Travel to Joshua Tree National Park | For the Best Camping Trip
From starry skies to sweeping desert-scapes filled with wildlife and dotted with vegetation, there is so much to see and explore throughout Joshua Tree National Park. Welcoming over 3 million visitors each year, it’s a sure sign of popularity for travelers.
A trip through the national park with your luxury camper is an experience like no other. With its unusually shaped signature trees, endless hiking and rock-climbing opportunities, and giant boulders, it’s a must-visit on your camper van road trip.
Let’s take a look at what to expect on your adventure in your luxury van through Joshua Tree National Park.
Tips for Camping in a Van in Joshua Tree
Joshua Tree National Park boasts two distinct desert ecosystems. The Mojave Desert, which reaches elevations of up to 5,000 feet, while the Colorado Desert provides a more typical lowland wilderness. Encompassing almost 800,000 acres of land, there is so much to explore and see here.
Here is some important information to know before you embark on your exciting road trip through Joshua Tree National Park.
How Much Does It Cost to Camp at Joshua Tree Campsites?
You’ll pay between $20 to $25 per night to stay at a reserved Joshua Tree campsite. You can expect to find water, pit or flush toilets, tables, fire grates, and refuge stations.
Campsites that run on a first-come, first-served basis start at $15 per night and provide pit toilets, fire grates but no water.
Best Time to Go Camping in Joshua Tree National Park
Although the park is open year-round, the best weather in Joshua Tree National Park is during the spring (March to May) and fall (October to November) seasons. Temperatures are the most comfortable during these periods.
Summers (June to September) can be sweltering – it’s a desert, after all. And Joshua Tree in winter (December to February) can get rather chilly during the day and freezing at night.
Joshua Tree National Park Camping
Joshua Tree luxury van camping is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy peace in nature.
There are several Joshua Tree National Park campgrounds for vans; some are on a first-come, first-serve basis, and others require reservations.
There are also plenty of privately run campgrounds and RV parks in the surrounding areas. Some provide luxury amenities, while others offer travelers space under the stars.
First-come, first-served campgrounds in Joshua Tree:
- Belle Campground Joshua Tree
- Hidden Valley Campground Joshua Tree
- White Tank
Joshua Tree camping reservations:
- Ryan Campground Joshua Tree National Park
- Joshua Tree National Park Jumbo Rocks Campground
- Indian Cove Campground Joshua Tree National Park
- Cottonwood Campsite Joshua Tree
- Joshua Tree National Park Black Rock Campground
Must-See & Do Activities in Joshua Tree
While you’re in this beautiful part of the world, you’ll certainly not want to miss some fascinating places along the way. Let’s take a look at what not to miss during your Joshua Tree National Park camping excursion.
Hidden Valley Nature Trail
The Hidden Valley Nature Trail is a one-mile loop and is one of the most beautiful and easily accessible areas of the park. It’s perfect for anyone looking to do a short hike or snap a few pictures of the trees, rock formations, and other local vegetation.
If you’re a keen climber, the giant monolith, known as the Great Burrito, is another popular place to visit while you’re here. There is also a picnic area opposite the parking lot that offers an abundance of Joshua trees and scattered boulders to relax around.
Keys View lookout point offers travelers the opportunity to peer over a 5,000 feet elevation boasting 360-degree views of the Coachella Valley. Here you’ll see the famous San Andreas Fault that runs through the valley.
It’s a 20-minute drive from Park Boulevard to the parking lot. Here, you’ll need to walk up a small hill to reach the viewpoint.
Barker Dam Nature Trail
Embark on a 1.3-mile loop trail to find an area dotted with Joshua trees, rocks, and plenty of birdlife surrounding an area of water. The dam is great for relaxing and cooling off before heading back to your camper.
Just off the main road and easy to access, Skull Rock is a giant boulder that looks exactly like a skull. You’re able to climb up the rock and look around. But for the best view of the skull, take a step back and be sure to snap a picture.
Cholla Cactus Garden
For nature lovers, these gardens are arguably one of the exciting parts of the park, with many densely packed chollas dotted throughout the desert floor.
To get to the Cholla Cactus Gardens, you’d need to head beyond Belle and White Tank campgrounds towards Cottonwood Springs.
A Footnote: Joshua Tree National Park Campgrounds for Van Travel
From spiky trees to massive boilers and everything in between, Joshua Tree, California, is a place like no other.
Whether you’re staying in a lively Joshua Tree campground or you’re there to explore its boulders, Joshua Tree National Park offers something special for everyone. So, pack your essentials, hop in the van, start your engines, and head to the park for an unforgettable adventure.