It’s not all sweeping views, cactus, and jackrabbits out here. There’s a community of collaborators that provide all sorts of services you may find yourself in need of while visiting the High Desert. Below, you’ll find a list of my faves. Please note...this list changes, grows, and shrinks over time.
Looking for a more vertical experience that gets you intimately acquainted with the rocks of Joshua Tree? Rope up with the best rock climbing guides in the region. Cliffhanger Guides is owned and operated by power couple and dear friends of mine, Seth and Sabra. These two always put community before profit and work tirelessly to maintain the character and protect the values that make this desert great.
Maybe you've seen them...the bikes with the crazy huge tires cruising effortlessly through the sand. Well, there's a whole lot of sand in the desert and The Joshua Tree Bike Shop is happy to connect you with a Fat Tire Bike to find your way with.
The cultural landscape in the High Desert is just as varied and interesting as the natural one. Explore the vibrant arts scene with Bernard Leibov at JT Cultural Expeditions.
If you're not satisfied with simply seeing the stars, rocks, and sweeping landscape of the desert and want to capture it for posterity reach out to Mitch Miller from Fine Earth Photography. He'll help you through the finer points of landscape photography to make the Milky Way and Golden Hour last forever.
On the verge of opening after a long covid slumber, this establishment is loved by both locals and visitors for it's rotating menu, care for quality and presentation, and ultra kind staff. As a local, there aren't many places that I'd consider waiting but this is certainly one of them. You can always grab a glass of wine while you wait.
Road Runner Grab & Go is the perfect place to grab something pre-made and delicious. This is my go to suggestion for clients that want lunch on the trail and need it to be made with love, not require a forever wait in line, and entirely satisfying. If they have the vegan chocolate chip cookies you must buy them.
If you manage to snag a table by the pool, in the summer time, and have a few drinks by the time dusk rolls around then you just might start to feel as though you are inside the song "Hotel California." The 29 Palms Inn is notable for several reasons. To name a few...it's located on the site of the Oasis of Mara, their garden produces much of the produce used in their food, and they've been providing sanctuary in the desert for 5 generations.
Pappy and Harriets...The fact is, I don't need to promote this High Desert institution owned and operated by bad-ass women from New York. Steak, Ribs, Chicken, Rock & Roll, Country, Alt Everything, and a selection of spirits that'll rock your world and that of the horse you rode in on.
Back in the early 2000's, if you were a 20 something, wanted to do little more than climb rocks, and still make a bit of money to buy beer and gear with, then you worked at CrossRoads Cafe and Tavern. While I've noted them for breakfast, I would also like to mention that they have the best french fries in the Basin.
John's Place in Yucca Valley is the closest thing to an In and Out Burger you'll find in the Morongo Basin. The burger is simple, reasonably priced, and while you're sitting there enjoying it you'll notice that you're surrounded by locals and that the staff is nicer than you might be accustomed too.
The Joshua Tree Saloon has gone from the local dive bar to the most packed place in the town of Joshua Tree. Their grass fed Mineshaft Burger is best in class when it comes to paying a higher price and having the option to have a beer or cocktail.
Pie for the People is proper NY Style Pizza in the Desert. By the slice or the whole pie. I've been eating this pizza for 17 years and still crave it.
Sam's Indian Food is owned and operated by a Sihk Family who are surprising people every day with top notch world flavor in our small rural town.
CasaGogo...not exactly glamping and not quite camping. It's a simple, groovy, and fun lodging option that provides the open view sheds, quietude, and starry skies one desires from a trip to the High Desert. Family friendly. Tons of original art work. And easy to accommodate your circle of covid safe homies in multi unit pods away from others. CasaGoGo was created by the same folks that produce the Joshua Tree Music Festival.
What's special about the Coyote Den? It's simplicity. It's cleanliness. It's very reasonable rates. The fact that it's owned and operated by local residents. The fact that those local residents have been living and working in the outdoor industry and conservation community of the High Desert for more than 30 years. And why the name? Proximity to Coyote Hole which lines inside the Desert View Conservation Area.
This place is right down the street from my house. The views up here are proper 360degrees vistas that include the tallest peak in Southern California, San Gorgonio at 11,503'. The Hidden Tower provides a decent rendition of modern architectural design with a rustic accent that works with the surroundings.
Ever heard the term Cosmic American? How about the name Gram Parsons? If the answer to either question is "No," then I'd encourage you to look up the Joshua Tree Inn and its connection to modern music history. The pool is the most refreshing in the Basin and the relation to downtown Joshua Tree is perfect for access to restaurants and other services.
Looking for something a little more ...luxey? Check out Mojave Sands. My long time friend Sue B. is the Manager...and if she's involved it must be cool.
Spin and Margies was way ahead of it's time out here. They were amongst the first to capture a fresh desert aesthetic that appealed to savvy travelers looking for culture and vibe in the early 2000's. Along with places like The Integratron, Pappy and Harriets, and the Joshua Tree Music Festival, the Desert Hideway paved the way for "Joshua Tree" to go from place to Idea.
If you're looking for modern or fancy these cabins are not for you. If you're looking for desert art, homestead architecture, rustic, sweeping western views, killer sunsets, and unmatched access to seldom visited areas of Joshua Tree National Park give me friend Lori a shout. Something I especially love is that all of her places have incredible hiking right out the door.
This place is absolutely what I'd call Classic Desert...thoroughly Mojave...and even historic. Located on the site of the Oasis of Mara, The 29 Palms Inn has been in operation for 5 generations. The grounds are lovely. The proximity to the North Entrance is amazing. Eating and drinking poolside, even in the peak heat of summer, is a perfect desert moment.
A new addition to the local retail scene on HWY 62 in downtown Joshua Tree, the Mercado Joshua Tree is an excellent collection of local and visiting artisans. Located at 29 Palms HWY and El Reposo St, The Mercado Joshua Tree is only a short walk away from several locally owned and operated retail locations. One of the principal organizers is a regular local client of mine.