Joshua Tree National Park

Old Oct 20th, 2019, 04:19 AM
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Joshua Tree National Park

Visiting our son in LA for Christmas 2019 and would like to visit Joshua Tree and the area for 2 or 3 nights just prior to New Years. We enjoy hiking, but won't be equipped for anything too long or difficult. Where would you recommend staying for access to the park? Rather than a hotel we'll likely look for an inn/air B&B or even glamping would be fun. Is the whole park open in winter? (We did Sequoia/Kings Canyon last Thanksgiving and much was closed, but we really loved it.) What is the weather likely to be at that time of the year?

Thanks Fodorites!
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Old Oct 20th, 2019, 06:22 AM
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You could call 29 Palms Inn and see if they have anything that works, but it is a very busy time. Expect a strict cancel policy (2 weeks for them).

If they don't have anything, I'm sure you can find an Aibnb anywhere between Morongo Valley and Joshua Tree.

Even Indio or Desert Hot Springs are options. Or really, anywhere in the Coachella Valley. I've even done day trips from my former condo in Palm Desert.

Weather likely to be cold overnight and sunny during the day, although rarely rain. Yes the entire park (or nearly all) is likely to be open AFAIK. You can check the Alerts on the NPS page for closures

https://www.nps.gov/jotr/planyourvisit/conditions.htm




Last edited by mlgb; Oct 20th, 2019 at 06:27 AM.
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Old Oct 20th, 2019, 06:35 AM
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Welcome back! The weather may be a bit on the chilly side with highs in the mid 50's to 70 and overnight lows can reach the freezing mark. As high desert, precip in December is only in the half inch range for the month. Joshua Tree NP is open all year with several visitor centers which open before 9AM.
Joshua Tree is far from the only place that you can see Joshua Trees growing. I actually prefer the Mojave national Preserve which also has some good sand dunes and other volcanic features.
You are likely to find lodging in the town of Twenty Nine Palms. Some parents come to visit their Marines when they are stationed at the base there.
If you wanted to go to Las Vegas for the NYE celebration, I would try for a room at Wild Bills in Primm NV (Exit 1).
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Old Oct 20th, 2019, 06:54 AM
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I was surprised to hear a piece on NPR yesterday about crowds, long waits to enter the park & full parking lots, visits having doubled in the last 5 years. There are a number of reports about the issue (google "crowds in joshua tree") with information on best times to visit & other interesting tips:
https://www.google.com/search?client...39.m-s2_WX20H0

Park website, also mentioned above, will have latest information.
https://www.nps.gov/jotr/index.htm
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Old Oct 20th, 2019, 07:31 AM
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Thanks, everyone. I have looked at the park website. We're from Maine, so cold is not a problem! We definitely like visiting the parks on the off season, although we do visit Acadia every year in August. We just know how to get away from the crowds and summer in Maine is crowded everywhere! tomfuller: we're not just going for the Joshua trees and Mohave is further than we want to go from LA on this trip. No interest in New Year's even in Las Vegas for us. I think we will look for an Airbnb because young adult son won't want to share a hotel room with us and two rooms gets expensive. Plus we will enjoy hanging out after exploring during the day. It looks like staying on the north side in Yucca Valley or Twentynine Palms is most convenient to the park's major attractions. Does anyone know if they do horseback tours through parts of the park or something else special we might book ahead?
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Old Oct 20th, 2019, 08:47 AM
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Honestly, I'd stay in Palm Springs and do day trips into the national park. It's not very far, and given short daylight hours in December, PS will give you way more evening options - activities, restaurants etc. - than other places. Plus there are umpteen cool places to stay, at all budget levels. You might also want to monitor conditions up in the mountains - the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway can take you up Mt. San Jacinto to the snow (if there is any) in minutes.

We did the (easy, scenic) Barker Dam trail and the cactus garden both in one day, and still had time for a date milkshake at Shield's in Indio before getting back to PS around sunset. Map - https://goo.gl/maps/Gode92XExR9DEMED7

Roadside en route to Barker Dam



Barker Dam reservoir



Cactus garden

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Old Oct 20th, 2019, 08:52 AM
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Can't speak to holiday crowds but we stayed in the town of Joshua Tree in early March and found it convenient to the park. Air BnB was fine, seemed to be a lot available. Hike to Barker Dam not difficult, beautiful. Did a day trip to Living Desert Zoo in Palm Desert. Some quirky things around Joshua Tree town.
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Old Oct 20th, 2019, 10:10 AM
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Thanks so much! I'm getting excited.
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