Camp in Joshua Tree: The 5 Best Campgrounds and More

Susan Rai

Joshua Tree National Park is a unique and captivating destination that offers a wide range of outdoor activities and breathtaking scenery. Whether you're an avid camper or a nature enthusiast looking to explore the wonders of the desert, Joshua Tree has something to offer everyone. In this blog post, we'll dive into the five best campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park, the best time to visit, and essential camping tips to make your experience unforgettable.

The 5 Best Campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park

We've done the research for you and listed the top 5 best campgrounds in the area. From stunning views and ample amenities to unbeatable locations and serene surroundings, these campgrounds are sure to make your stay unforgettable.

Hidden Valley Campground


Hidden Valley Campground is renowned for its proximity to the park's famous rock formations, making it a preferred choice among rock climbers and hikers. The campground is nestled amidst massive boulders, creating a picturesque and serene setting. These towering rock formations provide a sense of seclusion and privacy, allowing campers to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the desert landscape.

  • Location: In the heart of the park
  • Best Visit Time: Fall and Spring
  • Features: Serene setting, popular among rock climbers and hikers, surrounded by massive boulders, 44 campsites with picnic tables and fire rings.

Jumbo Rocks Campground


Jumbo Rocks Campground's most notable feature is its remarkable rock formations, which create a surreal and captivating environment. The jumbo-sized granite boulders that surround the campsites form a breathtaking backdrop.
These massive rocks, weathered by time and the elements, exhibit fascinating shapes, curves, and textures. The juxtaposition of the rocks against the desert landscape, with its Joshua Trees and cacti, provides a picturesque and photogenic setting. Photographers and nature enthusiasts can capture stunning images of the unique geology and the interplay of light and shadow on the rugged surfaces of the rocks.

  • Location: Central Joshua Tree
  • Best Visit Time: Year-round
  • Features: The largest campground, Surreal camping experience, 124 campsites nestled among granite boulders, privacy, stunning views, picnic tables, fire rings.

Belle Campground


Belle Campground in Joshua Tree National Park offers a unique and captivating scenery that showcases the beauty of the desert landscape. As the sun rises and sets, the colors of the desert landscape transform, casting beautiful hues across the terrain. The interplay of light and shadows creates a dynamic and visually appealing atmosphere. The campground's location near the park's North Entrance allows for easy access to various hiking trails and attractions. The peaceful ambiance of Belle Campground also makes it an excellent spot for stargazing.

  • Location: Near the park's North Entrance
  • Best Visit Time: Spring and Fall
  • Features: Peaceful and tranquil setting, 18 campsites with picnic tables and fire rings, perfect for a quieter camping experience.

Ryan Campground


One of the notable scenic features near the campground is Ryan Mountain. Rising majestically in the distance, this prominent peak showcases the park's rugged topography and offers breathtaking panoramic views from its summit. Hiking to the top of Ryan Mountain rewards visitors with sweeping vistas of the desert plains, rocky terrain, and distant mountain ranges.
Additionally, the campground is in proximity to Cap Rock, which adds to the scenic allure of the area. This unique rock formation is known for its balanced boulder perched on top, creating a whimsical sight.

  • Location: Near the park's main road
  • Best Visit Time: October to April
  • Features: Easy access to hiking trails and rock formations, 31 campsites with picnic tables and fire rings, nestled among Joshua Trees.

Cottonwood Campground


One of the highlights of Cottonwood Campground is its proximity to the spring wildflower bloom. During the spring months, the desert floor comes alive with vibrant bursts of color as various wildflowers carpet the landscape. This creates a stunning and vibrant backdrop, offering a unique and captivating experience for nature enthusiasts and photographers alike.
In the evening, as the desert sky darkens, Cottonwood Campground provides an ideal setting for stargazing. With limited light pollution in this remote area of the park, the night sky comes alive with a dazzling display of stars.

  • Location: Near the park's South Entranc
  • Best Visit Time: Early fall and late spring
  • Features: Spring wildflower bloom, Close proximity to hiking trails such as Mastodon Peak and Lost Palms Oasis, Excellent stargazing opportunities, 62 individual campsites.

The Best Time to Go Camping in Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park experiences hot summers and cool winters, making the best time to go camping in the park during the spring and fall seasons. From March to May and September to November, the weather is generally mild, with comfortable temperatures during the day and cooler nights. During these seasons, you can enjoy pleasant hiking conditions, vibrant wildflowers, and avoid the scorching heat of summer.

If you prefer solitude and lower campground occupancy rates, consider visiting during the weekdays or shoulder seasons. However, keep in mind that some campgrounds may be closed or have limited services during the offseason, so it's important to check the park's website for updates and closures before planning your trip.

Camping in Joshua Tree Essentials

camping-in-joshua-treeWhen planning a camping trip in Joshua Tree National Park, it's essential to come prepared with the right equipment and supplies to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Here are eight camping essentials for your trip:

  1. Tent: A sturdy and reliable tent is crucial for providing shelter and protection from the elements. Choose a tent that suits your group size and offers proper ventilation and durability.
  2. Sleeping Bags and Sleeping Pads: Invest in high-quality sleeping bags and sleeping pads to ensure a comfortable night's sleep. Look for bags that are suitable for the temperatures you expect during your stay.
  3. Camping Stove and Cookware: Pack a portable camping stove and cookware for preparing meals. Opt for lightweight, compact options that are easy to set up and clean.
  4. Water Containers and Filtration: Water is vital during your camping trip. Bring sturdy water containers to store an ample supply of water, and consider a water filtration system to purify water from natural sources within the park.
  5. Camping Chairs and Tables: Make your campsite comfortable by bringing camping chairs and a table. They provide a place to relax, dine, and enjoy the surroundings.
  6. Lighting: Ensure you have reliable lighting options for the evenings. Pack headlamps, lanterns, and extra batteries to navigate your campsite and provide illumination at night.
  7. Sun Protection: Joshua Tree's desert climate means exposure to intense sunlight. Bring sunscreen, sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, and lightweight, breathable clothing to protect yourself from the sun's harmful rays.
  8. Solar Generator: Solar generators harness the sun's energy and provide a sustainable power source in remote camping areas. Consider bringing an Anker solar generator to power essential devices such as phones, cameras, or GPS units. Anker solar generators are lightweight, portable, and designed for outdoor use, making them ideal for camping in Joshua Tree National Park.

By packing these camping essentials, you'll be well-prepared for your adventure in Joshua Tree National Park. Remember to check the park's regulations and guidelines before your trip, and practice Leave No Trace principles to help preserve the park's natural beauty for future visitors.


Joshua Tree National Park offers a remarkable camping experience with its unique desert landscapes, stunning rock formations, and abundant wildlife. Whether you choose to camp at Hidden Valley, Jumbo Rocks, Belle, Ryan, or Cottonwood campgrounds, you're sure to be surrounded by natural beauty and serenity. Remember to plan your trip during the spring or fall for milder temperatures and make necessary reservations in advance. Pack the essential camping gear, respect the park's ecosystem, and enjoy stargazing under the dark desert sky. Your Joshua Tree camping adventure awaits!

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