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.
Come celebrate 20 years of High Desert Artists sharing their works in their own spaces for this year's HWY 62 Open Studio Art Tours. October 8 & 9, 15 & 16, 22 & 23.
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.
A major cultural force for good in the High Desert, The Joshua Tree Music Festival began in 2003 and has been happening twice a year since 2006. If you love to boogie in a family-friendly and entirely scene free environment be sure to grab tickets for either the May or October shows...or both.
A desert protection podcast produced by desert people. 90 Miles from Needles dispenses with the thinking that deserts are big empty places where no living things can thrive. Chris Clarke and Alicia Pike succeed in communicating desert smells, sights, sounds, and ecology with this project that began in January 2022.
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.
The Dez is the place where you'll find Stumptown Coffee, delicate sandwiches, and higher-end fair for your desert picnic. LIke all of my listings, The Dez is owned and operated by folks that call the Mojave thier home.
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.
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 Yucca Tree Eatery is hidden between an Applebee's and a Starbucks in "Anywhere America", Yucca Valley. You'll never feel like you're in a herd of tourists here and you'll appreciate the simple and tasty meals.
The Tiny Pony, beyond great drinks, has a great burger and rotating food specials. You'll often find more locals than not in there, especially on Karoake nights.
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.
JT Country Kitchen is our fave greasy spoon, with desert history to boot. Along with your diner faves, you can also find some asian inspired dishes, as a Cambodian family once ran this joint. Once featuerd in Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. The current owners have lovingly kept the vintage flavor and the good food coming.
Boo's Organic Oven is our place for a treat. While we've never had anything we didn't like, our favorites are the mini pies, the savory pasties, and the cutest succulent cupcakes. Also, they specialize in vegan goodies!
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.
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.
Looking for something a little more ...luxe? Check out Mojave Sands. My long time friend Sue B. is the Manager...and if she's involved it must be cool.
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.
Our buddy Daniel has been a great champion of Wandering Mojave, sending us more referrals than anyone else. Because of this fact and because his places are awesome we offer guests that stay wtih him a 10% discount. Check out his Host Profile on AirBnB and let him know you want to hike with us and he'll give you the discount code.
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 my friend Lori a shout. Something I especially love is that all of her places have incredible hiking right out the door.
The ultimate glamping experience, AutoCamp has everything. With all the amenities you could want (including a pool) and clubhouse with recurring events, Auto camp is centrally located and in downtown Joshua Tree so you can walk to restaurants, shopping and more.
Before the days of AirBnB, we leaned on the roadside inns and motels for a place to lay our heads. Maybe not as luxe but easy and convenient, these places still exist in the high desert. A few of them: Safari Motor Inn, High Desert Motel, Best Western, Sands Motel, America's Best Value Inn, & Super 8 Motel.
Coyote Corner is the OG shop of Joshua Tree. A haven for dirtbags and wanderers, the Corner has what you need and what you don't and everything in between.
Want a little bit of a scene with a good cocktail and some live music? On one end of the basin in 29 Palms is Out There Bar. The drinks are stiff, the tunes are good, the bartenders friendly, and overall a pleasant vibe. At the other end in Yucca Valley is Awe Bar. Stepping inside for a show feels like you are in a bigger city and the sound is incredible.