National Park? More like nature’s playground  

The United States boasts some pretty unbelievable landscapes but perhaps none more so than the ones found on our tours in Joshua Tree National Park. We’re talking towering cliffs, winding canyons, billion-year-old rock formations and desert vegetation for as far as the eye can see. And that’s just the top of the (Joshua) tree. Get your feet dusty on famous walks such as the Willow Hole Trail and The Maze. Summit soaring mountains and check out sparkling, naturally created oases. Learn about the park’s Native American history and good ol’ gold mining days. Excited yet? We’re just getting started. 

Our Joshua Tree National Park tours & holidays

11 Days From 3420

Travel from LA via Joshua Tree, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Yosemite, Sierra Nevada to...

13 Days From 3850

Take an adventure through California, Arizona, Utah and Nevada past Joshua Tree, Grand...

10 Days From 6645

From the famed LA streets to the glitz of the Vegas strip, travel through the hush of...

18 Days From 6695

Travel for 18 days from Los Angeles to San Francisco, passing through Las Vegas, the...

5 Days From 1843

Take a five-day road trip from Los Angeles to Vegas, stopping by Joshua Tree National...

Tailor-Made trips

Take four or more on an exclusive trip and tailor your itinerary

17 Days From 11955

From Los Angeles to San Francisco, take a trip through the USA’s best National Parks....

4 Days From 2730

Experience Joshua Tree’s surreal landscapes, cool oases, and famous Joshua Trees on a 4...

Popular US national parks

Highlights of our Joshua Tree National Park tours 

A group of travellers posing for a photo in front of Skull Rock in Joshua Tree National Park

Trek to Skull Rock

Looking like it’s come straight out of the pages of a Harry Potter book (Voldemort much?), the naturally created rock formation known as Skull Rock is an unmissable site (and sight) in Joshua Tree National Park. The best part? The trail that leads to this spooky configuration is extremely accessible and easy to walk with fascinating vegetation such as cat’s claw acacia and desert almonds lining the way. 

A lone traveller standing on a rock in Joshua Tree National Park under a starry night sky

Do some stargazing

While you can easily spend hours focusing on the beauty beneath your feet, Joshua Tree is also a designated International Dark Sky Park (and has been since 2017), meaning it’s perfect for planet spotting and stargazing. Head to the park in winter to see ‘Orion the hunter’ and ‘Gemini the twins’, while warmer weather promises the annual phenomenon of the Perseid Meteor shower. 

A lone traveller walking through the arid landscape of Joshua Tree National Park on his way to Ryan Mountain

Hike to the summit of Ryan Mountain

Lace up your hiking boots, fill up your reusable drink bottle and make sure your camera is fully charged in preparation for your 5km hike to the summit of Ryan Mountain. This popular hike gains around 1000 feet of elevation and while it might have you catching your breath as you near the top, the promised panoramic 360-degree views of the park are more than worth the challenging climb. Plus, there’ll be giant boulder formations, desert wildlife and stunning native flora to spot along the way. 

The spiky branches of a Joshua Tree at golden hour in Joshua Tree National Park

Marvel at the park’s unique vegetation

There’s no way you haven’t already seen a photo of Joshua Tree National Park’s synonymous inhabitant…the Joshua Tree. But don’t be fooled. This iconic example of California vegetation isn’t a tree at all, nor does its name begin with a J – it’s actually a flowering plant called Monocot (but that doesn’t roll off the tongue as nicely). Wander around the park and marvel at these spectacular desert plants, as well as cacti, spiky trees and the bizarre rock formations Joshua Tree is famous for. 

Joshua Tree National Park tour reviews

Joshua Tree National Park FAQs

Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).

However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

Learn more about Intrepid’s COVID-19 policy

The best way to get to Joshua Tree National Park depends on where you're travelling from. If you live in a neighbouring state, driving to Joshua Tree National Park is relatively easy and won't take too long. If you're coming from further afield, the closest international airport to the park is Palm Springs International Airport (60kms away from the park itself); however, it only offers flights to and from other states in the US. If you're coming from overseas, you'll likely have to fly into bigger airports in California, such as LAX in Los Angeles or SFO in San Francisco, before catching a connecting flight to Palm Springs. Once at Palm Springs airport, you can rent a car to reach your final destination with the journey from the airport to the park taking about 50 minutes. 

Even though Joshua Tree National Park is open year-round, the best time to visit is during the shoulder seasons of spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November). This is when temperatures are at their most enjoyable for spending long periods of time outside and when rainfall is kept to a minimum. As the park is situated in the California desert, you shouldn't go hiking by yourself in the middle of summer - temperatures can reach a staggering 37°C and conditions can become dangerous if you're not well equipped. 

Learn more about the best time to visit Joshua Tree National Park

Packing for Joshua Tree National Park is much like packing for any holiday where you know you'll be in the elements. A wide-brimmed hat is a must (a cap will also do), plenty of sunscreen (we recommend two bottles just to be on the safe side), a reusable drink bottle, comfy walking shoes (ones you've already broken in before your trip), a camera and a day bag/backpack that's big enough to carry the essentials but not too big that it'll get in the way and slow you down. 

Read our ultimate packing list

Compared to bigger cities in the US, the internet connection in Joshua Tree National Park is slow and often patchy, especially in remote areas within the park. However, WiFi is readily available in the Black Rock Visitor Center, the Joshua Tree Visitor Center and the Joshua Tree Cultural Center if you need to Google maps your hike before you set out. 

There is plenty to explore in Joshua Tree National Park and the best way to do it is by lacing up your hiking boots and hitting the trails. Luckily for you, Joshua Tree National Park has several that are well worth the effort. Here are a few of our favourites:

  • Skull Rock Hike 
  • Willow Hole Trail 
  • The Maze 
  • Ryan Mountain climb
  • Arch Rock Hike
  • The Lost Palms Oasis Hike 

Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. However, we’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.

Learn more about accessible travel

Read more about the United States