The Ultimate Guide to Camping in Joshua Tree National Park

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Camping is one of the best ways to get the full national park experience.  Joshua Tree National Park is no exception.  There are few parks that can rival Joshua Tree for an ultimate camping experience.  Camping in Joshua Tree is the best way to experience Joshua Tree’s famed sunsets and to stargaze on some of the clearest and darkest skies in California.  There are nine campgrounds in Joshua Tree and a few just outside the park.  This guide will help you make the most of your camping experience in Joshua Tree National Park.

Here is everything you need to know about front-country camping in Joshua Tree National Park.

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Getting to Joshua Tree National Park

The closest airport to Joshua Tree is Palm Springs International Airport (PSP), located just under an hour away from any park entrance. The next closest airport is Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) which is 140 miles west of Joshua Tree. Additional airport options include San Diego (SAN), Las Vegas (LAS) and Phoenix (PHX), although if you’re coming from that far away you should stay in the park for at least three days to make the most of your visit.

Estimated Drive time to Joshua Tree National Park

  • San Deigo, California – 3 hours
  • Los Angeles, California – 3 hours
  • Phoenix, Arizona – 3 hours
  • Las Vegas, Nevada – 3.25 hours

Joshua Tree can be reached by public transportation but options are limited.

Currently, there is no public transportation within Joshua Tree National Park.  As of May 2019, Joshua Tree finished a two year trial period for a shuttle bus system in the park.  As June 2019, no update has been provided on if this service will become a permeant fixture in Joshua Tree National Park.

Joshua Tree Camping

Things to Know about Joshua Tree Camping

  • Joshua Tree National Park is busiest between October and May.
  • There is a 30-day camping limit each year. Only 14 of these nights may take place from October-May.
  • Not all the campgrounds are open year-round. Select campgrounds are closed from June 10 to August 29.
  • All tents, tarps, and other camping equipment must be set up within 25 feet (7.6 m) of the picnic table or fire grate.
  • Attaching lines to vegetation, including Joshua trees and junipers, is prohibited. Hammocks, slacklines, and other horizontal ropes are not permitted in campgrounds.
  • There are eight campgrounds in Joshua Tree. Reservations are accepted from September to May in four of the campgrounds. The other four campgrounds are first-come-first-serve.
  • Each tent campsite can have up to 6 people, three tents, and two vehicles. Select spaces may only have space for one vehicle.
  • Campfires are usually allowed in Joshua Tree, but due to the climate fire danger is always high. Please be cautious. If making a campfire please follow these rules:
    • Campfires are allowed only in designated fire rings or grills that are found in park campgrounds or picnic areas.
    • Keep fires small.
    • Bring your own firewood. You may not gather park vegetation, whether living or dead, to fuel your campfire. Do not burn combustible objects other than firewood.
    • Firewood transported from far away has the potential to introduce pests and pathogens into the park. Please make every effort to bring firewood that has been acquired locally.
    • If you plan to have a campfire, bring extra water to douse it thoroughly.
  • Quiet hours are from 10 pm to 6 am and generators are permitted only from 7–9 am, noon–2 pm, and 5–7 pm.
  • Food must be stored securely where wildlife cannot get to it. Any scented or odorous items, including sunscreen and toiletries, must be secured as if they were food.

Where to camp in Joshua Tree National Park?

Joshua Tree Campground Map

Campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park

  • Belle Campground
  • Black Rock Campground
  • Cottonwood Campground
  • Hidden Valley Campground
  • Indian Cove Campground
  • Jumbo Rocks Campground
  • Ryan Campground
  • Sheep Pass Group Campground
  • White Tank Campground

Campgrounds near Joshua Tree National Park

  • Joshua Tree Lake RV & Campground
  • JT Sportsman’s Club
  • Twentynine Palms RV Resort
  • Little Pioneertown RV
  • Chiriaco Summit
  • Palm Springs/Joshua Tree KOA
  • BLM Dispersed Camping

Getting a Joshua Tree Campsite

Joshua Tree Camping Reservations

Joshua Tree National Park Campground reservations are available for dates between August 30th to June 10th. Reservations can be made up to six months in advance.

The following campgrounds are reservable

  • Black Rock Campground
  • Cottonwood Campground
  • Indian Cover Campground
  • Jumbo Rocks Campground
  • Sheep Pass Group Campground

Click here to make your Joshua Tree Camping Reservations.

Joshua Tree First-come-first-serve Camping

Joshua Tree is busiest from October to May and finding first-come-first-serve sites can be a challenge during this time. Weekends are particularly busy as is the spring. It is recommended to arrive at your desired campground in the early mornings to help ensure you get a site. Another suggestion is to arrive mid-week and claim your site.

The following campgrounds are first-come-first-serve year-round

  • Hidden Valley Campground

What are the Best Places to Camp in Joshua Tree National Park?

With nine campgrounds in Joshua Tree, it can be hard to pick the best place to camp in Joshua Tree National Park.  If you are visiting between September and May and have firm plans, I would make a reservation at Jumbo Rocks Campground.  If you are like me and prefer not to make firm plans, I love the first-come-first-serve campgrounds of Hidden Valley Campground or Belle Campground.

Camping at Joshua Tree National Park

** All Campground prices are valid as of 12 December 2019.

Yellowstone Campgrounds at a Glance

CampgroundRegionReservationsOpening Dates (2020)Sites Fees ADA SitesRV SizeAmenities
BellePinto BasinNo8/30 – 6/918$15No35 ftG
Black RockYucca ValleyYes, 8/30 – 6/9All Year99$20Yes35 ftD, F, G
CottonwoodCottonwoodYes, 8/30 – 6/9All Year65$20No40 ft D, F, G
Hidden ValleyPark BlvdNoAll Year44$15No25 ftG
Indian CoveTwentynine PalmsYes, 8/30 – 6/9All Year101$20No35 ftG
Jumbo RocksPark BlvdYes, 8/30 – 6/9All Year124$15Yes35 ftG
RyanPark BlvdNo8/30 – 6/931$15No35 ftG
Sheep PassPark BlvdYesAll Year6$50NoN/A
White TankPinto BasinNo8/30 – 6/915$15No25 ftG

Amenities Key

  • D – Dump Station
  • F – Flush Toilets
  • G – Generator
  • H – Full Hookups
  • L – Laundry
  • S – Shower

Joshua Tree Campgrounds

Belle Campground

Belle Campground is located among the giant boulders of Joshua Tree’s high desert. The campground is small. Several of the sites are tucked up against the rocks and provide some shelter from the wind and sun. The campground is unpaved and each site has a fire pit and picnic table.

There is NO WATER at this campground.

SeasonAugust 30 – June 9
Number of Sites18 individual sites
Fee per night

$ 15 per site

Reservations AvailableNo
Max RV Length35 ft, only select sites
RV Hook-upNo
Restrooms

Vault Toilets – Year Round

WaterNo
ShowersNo
Max Length of Stay14 Nights from October to May
30 Nights yearly
Wheelchair AccessibilityNo
Wifi on PropertyNo
Laundry FacilitiesNo
Pets AllowedYes, but please review the Joshua Tree National Park Pet Policy
Typical Fill Time

February to May – mid-morning or possibly earlier on weekends or holidays August to January – mid-afternoons or possibly earlier on weekends or holidays

Closest General Store  Twentynine Palms
NPS / Hannah Schwalbe
NPS / Hannah Schwalbe

Black Rock Campground

This campground is one of the largest in the park. The campground is spread out in the amoung the Joshua Trees and near the Black Rock Nature Center. The spaces are hard-packed dirt and for the most part, spread out from each other.

There is WATER at this campground. Please do not attach anything to the Joshua Trees. They have a shallow root system and are easily damaged.

SeasonYear-round
Number of Sites99 individual sites (Site 61 is ADA compliant)
1 horse site
Fee per night

$ 20 per site

Reservations AvailableYes, from August 30 to June 9
Max RV Length35 ft, only select sites
RV Hook-upNo
Restrooms

Flush Toilets

WaterYes
ShowersNo
Max Length of Stay14 Nights from October to May
30 Nights yearly
Wheelchair AccessibilityYes
Wifi on PropertyNo
Laundry FacilitiesNo
Pets AllowedYes, but please review the Joshua Tree National Park Pet Policy
Typical Fill TimeAugust to May – reservations HIGHLY recommended
June to July – may fill during weekends and holidays
Closest General Store  Yucca Valley
NPS / Hannah Schwalbe

Cottonwood Campground

Cottonwood Campground is located in the southern part of Joshua Tree near I-10. The campground is flat and the campsites are hidden by desert shrubs.

There is WATER at this campground. Please do not attach anything to the Joshua Trees. They have a shallow root system and are easily damaged.

Season Year-round
Number of Sites62 Individual Sites
3 Group Sites
Fee per night

$ 20 per individul site$40 per group site

Reservations Available Yes, from August 30 to June 9
Max RV Length35 ft, only select sites
RV Hook-upNo
Restrooms

Flush Toilets

WaterYes
ShowersNo
Max Length of Stay14 Nights from October to May
30 Nights yearly
Wheelchair AccessibilityNo
Wifi on PropertyNo
Laundry FacilitiesNo
Pets AllowedYes, but please review the Joshua Tree National Park Pet Policy
Typical Fill TimeAugust to May – reservations HIGHLY recommended
June to July – may fill during weekends and holidays
Closest General Store  Indio
NPS / Kurt Moses

Hidden Valley Campground

Hidden Valley Campground is a centrally located campground. It is tucked up against the park’s famed boulders. The boulders provide limited shade and help give the campground a bit of privacy.

There is NO WATER at this campground.

SeasonYear-round
Number of Sites44 individual sites
Fee per night

$ 15 per site

Reservations AvailableNo
Max RV Length25 ft, only select sites
RV Hook-upNo
Restrooms

Vault Toilets

WaterNo
ShowersNo
Max Length of Stay14 Nights from October to May
30 Nights yearly
Wheelchair AccessibilityNo
Wifi on PropertyNo
Laundry FacilitiesNo
Pets AllowedYes, but please review the Joshua Tree National Park Pet Policy
Typical Fill TimeAugust to May – reservations HIGHLY recommended
June to July – may fill during weekends and holidays
Closest General Store Joshua Tree
NPS / Hannah Schwalbe

Indian Cove Campground

Indian Cove Campground is an isolated campground in the Wonderland of Rocks area. This area isn’t connected to the other regions of the park. Like several other campgrounds, Indian Cove’s campsites are tucked into boulders.

There is NO WATER at this campground.

SeasonYear-round
Number of Sites88 individual sites
13 group sites
Fee per night

$ 20 per individual site $ 50 per group site

Reservations AvailableYes, from August 30 to June 9
Max RV Length35 ft, only select sites
RV Hook-upNo
Restrooms

Vault Toilets

WaterNo
ShowersNo
Max Length of Stay14 Nights from October to May
30 Nights yearly
Wheelchair AccessibilityNo
Wifi on PropertyNo
Laundry FacilitiesNo
Pets AllowedYes, but please review the Joshua Tree National Park Pet Policy
Typical Fill TimeAugust to May – reservations HIGHLY recommended
June to July – may fill during weekends and holidays
Closest General Store  Twentynine Palms
NPS / Hannah Schwalbe

Jumbo Rocks Campground

Jumbo Rocks Campground is one of the more popular centrally located campgrounds. It spread out among the granite boulder fields. This campground has great views.

There is NO WATER at this campground.

SeasonYear-round
Number of Sites124 individual sites (Site 122 is ADA accessible)
Fee per night

$ 15 per site

Reservations AvailableYes, from August 30 to June 9
Max RV Length35 ft, only select sites
RV Hook-upNo
Restrooms

Vault Toilets

WaterNo
ShowersNo
Max Length of Stay14 Nights from October to May
30 Nights yearly
Wheelchair AccessibilityYes
Wifi on PropertyNo
Laundry FacilitiesNo
Pets AllowedYes, but please review the Joshua Tree National Park Pet Policy
Typical Fill TimeAugust to May – reservations HIGHLY recommended
June to July – may fill during weekends and holidays
Closest General Store  Twentynine Palms
NPS / Brad Sutton

Ryan Campground

Ryan Campground is a centrally located campground near the California Riding and Hiking Trail. The campground sites are mixed in with the boulders and Joshua Tree.

There is NO water in this campground.

SeasonAugust 30 – June 9
Number of Sites27 individual sites
4 group sites
Fee per night

$ 15 per individual site $15 per horse site

Reservations AvailableNo
Max RV Length35 ft, only select sites
RV Hook-upNo
Restrooms

Vault Toilets

WaterNo
ShowersNo
Max Length of Stay14 Nights from October to May
30 Nights yearly
Wheelchair AccessibilityNo
Wifi on PropertyNo
Laundry FacilitiesNo
Pets AllowedYes, but please review the Joshua Tree National Park Pet Policy
Typical Fill TimeAugust to May – fills early mornings on weekends and holidays, mid-afternoon during the weeks
June to July – may fill during weekends and holidays
Closest General Store Joshua Tree
NPS / Hannah Schwalbe

Sheep Pass Group Campground

Sheep Pass Group Campground is a group only campground. Its sites can accommodate between 10 and 60 people. The campground has towering rock formations.

There is NO water in this campground.

SeasonYear-round
Number of Sites6 group sites
Fee per night

$ 35 – $ 50 per site depending on group size

Reservations AvailableRequired
Max RV LengthN/A
RV Hook-upNo
Restrooms

Vault Toilets

WaterNo
ShowersNo
Max Length of Stay14 Nights from October to May
30 Nights yearly
Wheelchair AccessibilityNo
Wifi on PropertyNo
Laundry FacilitiesNo
Pets AllowedYes, but please review the Joshua Tree National Park Pet Policy
Typical Fill Time

Reservations Required

Closest General Store  Twentynine Palms
NPS Photo

White Tank Campground

White Tank Campground is located at the north end of the park near many of the immense granite boulders. The campground is one of the darkest in the park.

There is NO water in the park.

SeasonAugust 30 – June 9
Number of Sites15 individual sites
Fee per night

$ 15 per individual site

Reservations AvailableNo
Max RV Length25 ft, only select sites
RV Hook-upNo
Restrooms

Vault Toilets

WaterNo
ShowersNo
Max Length of Stay14 Nights from October to May
30 Nights yearly
Wheelchair AccessibilityNo
Wifi on PropertyNo
Laundry FacilitiesNo
Pets AllowedYes, but please review the Joshua Tree National Park Pet Policy
Typical Fill TimeAugust to May – fills early mornings on weekends and holidays, mid-afternoon during the weeks
Closest General Store  Twentynine Palms
NPS Photo
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Planning on going camping in Joshua Tree National Park? Confused about which campsite to pick. National Park Obsessed\'s Ultimate Guide is here to help you pick the very best campsite. Joshua Tree Camping, Campgrounds of Joshua Tree, Joshua Tree Campgrounds

Jennifer Melroy

    Jennifer has been obsessed with national parks as a child.  This Tennessee native spent her childhood exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and traveling with her parents to National Parks and around the Caribbean.  She is always planning her next adventure and is ready to see the world while trying to visit all 59 National Park (*She is ignoring the hunk of concrete that just became a national park).

    Jennifer Melroy has 116 posts and counting. See all posts by Jennifer Melroy

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