Camping is one of the best ways to experience Joshua Tree National Park. From its iconic Joshua trees, gigantic rock formations, and phenomenal stargazing, it is one of the best place to be in nature. There are nine campgrounds (Belle, Black Rock, Cottonwood, Hidden Valley, Indian Cove, Jumbo Rocks, Ryan, Sheep Pass, White Tank), each with their own unique charateristics. There are also many backcounty camping options if you prefer to go all out.
My second time at Joshua Tree was my first time planning my own camping trip. As a newbie camper, I chose Jumbo Rocks as our campground. It is the perfect campsite for first-timers!
Jumbo Rocks is the largest campground with 124 sites with a campsite fee of $15. All campsites are first-come, first-serve. There are pit toilets but no running water. Each campsite has its own picnic table and fire ring. It is family friendly and also the most popular campsite, so getting a spot can be difficult during peak times. We got super lucky with our campsite. We arrived at the park around 9 A.M. and drove around the campground twice before noticing a family packing up to leave. Our campsite (#20) was spacious and had easy access to the gigantic boulders. Score!
The best part about Jumbo Rocks Campground is the gigantic boulders. The boulders makes a fun playground for climbing and jumping. Just…don’t fall. The campground is also conveniently located. It is close to the park entrance which makes it about a 30 minutes drive into town (Twentynine Palms). My party and I decided to go to the town’s Stater Bros. to purchase dinner. We brought the food back to our campsite and had salad, mac n cheese, and tender roasted chicken. Yum!
- Check the tags on any campsite you think might be vacant. Some people forget to take the tags off before they leave.
- No service, at all.
- You pay the site fee at the self-registration station at the entrance. Grab an envelope, put cash in it, seal it up, and drop in the box.
- The weather can easily fluctuates so dress in layers.
- It can get very cold at night.
- Don’t forget the sunscreen!
On my recent visit to Joshua Tree, I learned that you now have to reserve campsites at Jumbo Rocks, which is awesome! No more worries about whether or not you’ll get a campsite.