What is there to do in the desert? For some, the right answer can be "Absolutely nothing!" For others, here are some activities to punctuate your relaxation.
Amargosa Opera House
From October through mid-May, talented painter and dancer Marta Becket performs a one-woman show of ballet and pantomime at the Amargosa Opera House (a converted movie theater) in Death Valley Junction.
Downtown Art Nights of Joshua Tree
On the second Saturday of each month, the art studios in downtown Joshua Tree have fun stuff going on. The public is invited to meet artists and enjoy entertainment at more than 9 participating galleries and locations in Joshua Tree at varying start times between 5 and 10pm.
The Hi-Desert Cultural Center and Playhouse
The Hi-Desert Cultural Center is committed to providing the best live entertainment and educational opportunities to the Morongo Basin and the surrounding desert regions.The theatre currently offers high-end entertainment from some of the industry's finest performers. In addition to the award winning shows, the Cultural Center's new direction is to function as a destination off Broadway repertory theatre.
If you can attend a performance at the Harrison House, you won't be disappointed. Harrison House Music & Arts is a non-profit artist residency, performance and community arts program based in the late composer Lou Harrison's desert retreat just five minutes from Green Acres Ranch. In addition to providing an enriching creative setting to dedicated artists, the program offers high-quality performing arts and workshops to the local and visiting community.
Founder/Director: Eva Soltes A non-profit project of Community Initiatives
Highway 62 Art Tours
Last two weekends of October. Nearly 100 local artists and craftsmen open up their studios to the public during this art-hunting weekend.
Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum
A strange and wonderful must-see! Noah Purifoy filled 2 1/2 acres of the high desert in Joshua Tree with a sculpture garden that grew out of the earthy concerns of his life, using cast-off junk like tires, car parts, bowling balls, foam rubber, iron, shoes, and old clothes bleached in the sun, as well as construction materials like steel, aluminum, weathered wood, glass bricks, Astroturf, chicken wire, old windows, adobe and aluminum.
Oasis of Murals
The "Oasis of Murals" is like an outdoor gallery, using the sides of buildings in Twentynine Palms as its walls. Painted by world-class artists, the murals portray the community's rich history.
Simi Dabah Outdoor Scultpures
Simi has been welding steel sculptures from industrial scrap for over 30 years. Witness his brilliance on eight acres of land on SunFair Road, just a few miles from Green Acres. A must-see and a good, long walk (45 min) if you have the time.See Simi here.
Bike riding in the park is restricted to vehicle roads. The park’s Backcountry and Wilderness Management Plan designates approximately 29 miles of trails for non-motorized bike use, however, the new trails cannot be used until Congress gives its approval. In the meanwhile, the park's backcountry roads offer opportunities to explore many areas.
Paved roads in the park are narrow without paved shoulders. Curves, boulder piles and Joshua Trees restrict the vision of bikers and motorists. The unpaved (dirt) roads in the park are safer for bikes and offer many opportunities to explore the area.
Carry plenty of water, at least one gallon per person per day—two for extended or uphill trips.
Wear a helmet. Watch for RVs and trucks with extended siden mirrors. Wear reflective clothing after dark.
We have not yet found a standard bicycle rental option, but you can rent an electric bicycle, which can run on pure electricty and/or peddle power. Call at least 1 hour in advance, and Dino will DELIVER the bikes to you! We have not had any confirmation on this service yet.
Joshua Tree Electric Bikes
$15 for first hour
$10 each additional hour
Joshua Tree Climb
Stay on top of what’s happening at the climbing area that has the most established climbs in all of North America.
Joshua Tree Outfitters
Rents quality camping and cooking equipment, and provides a grocery shopping service to campers and climbers.
The Gram Parsons connection
Joshua Tree Rock Climbing School
760.366.4745 or 800.890.4745
Experience the exciting sport of rock climbing. An adventure that delivers great fun, breathtaking scenery, and physical and mental stimulation with spiritual and emotional rewards.
The emphasis at Joshua Tree Rock Climbing School is to create a safe, fun experience. JTRCS is the only locally based guide service. They contract with local guides who are are skilled rock climbers and instructors, making your safety their prime concern.
For women. Revolves around a circuit of exercise machines placed in a circle, with timed changes from station to station.
61325 29 Palms Hwy
Their mission is to "provide an unparalleled, personalized, high desert hiking experience, to locals and visitors alike." Professionally guided outdoor eco tours of Joshua Tree National Park and the surrounding Mohave Desert.
Our masseuse partner Rhonda Duvalcan give you a stress-relieving, professional massage right in your own cabin. She offers stress relaxation, deep tissue, trauma release or herbal wrap techniques.
Call her ahead of time to arrange an appointment.
Rate: $80/hr. One hour minimum.
The Air Force Flight Test Center Museum
The Air Force Flight Test Center Museum is an Air Force Field Museum with a mission to interpret the history of Air Force flight test and Edwards Air Force Base. The museum features several displays, a small library, a theater, and gift shop and is open 9 am to 5 pm Tuesday through Saturday (closed on federal holidays). Admission is free. For more information call
Dedicated in 1991, Blackbird Airpark features the world's only display of a Lockheed SR-71A together with its predecessor, A-12 and the once ultra-secret D-21 drone. The A-12 on display is the first Blackbird to fly. It was used as a test aircraft throughout its career and never flew an operational mission. The SR-71A on display was delivered to Strategic Air Command in 1968 and flew operational missions with the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale Air Force Base in California until its retirement in 1987.
Blackbird Airpark is located at Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, and is staffed by museum volunteers. The park is open 10 am to 5 pm Friday through Sunday (weather permitting) and is closed on federal holidays. Admission is free. For more information call (661) 277-8050.
Hi-Desert Nature Museum
Tue-Sun 10 am to 5 pm. Free Admission.
This museum is a family oriented facility with collections and exhibitions related to the high desert's unique natural and historical elements. The museum has a full range of educational activities for visitors of all ages. The museum encourages questions and active participation. It has has a live desert mini-zoo. and a gift shop specializing in desert and southwestern items.
Joshua Tree and Southern Railroad Museum
Joshua Tree Southern Railroad is a first class 7 & 1/2 gauge railroad, offering first class trackwork with scale bridges and beautiful desert vistas. Tours are by appointment only. Call Terry Watson to arrange a date & time.
He will customize the tour based on your interests and time available.
Interested in viewing Native American rock art? The Maturango Museum in Ridgecrest displays ancient American Indian petrogylphs, and provides tours of the nearby China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station where thousands of rock art figures have been carved into "Big Petroglyph" and "Little Petroglyph" canyons.
Twenty Mule Team Museum
At the Twenty Mule Team Museum in Boron, videos and exhibits take you back before the turn of the twentieth century. The museum sits on the site of an old borate mining camp. The Borax Museum in Boron is another interesting stop.
Big Morongo Canyon Preserve
Highway 62 at East Drive, Morongo Valley
Open daily 7:30 a.m. - sunset. Free!
Birders flock to Big Morongo where several natural springs and a year-round stream attract birds rarely seen elsewhere. This 29,000 acre nature preserve has 2 billion year rock old formations. The water and surrounding lush vegetation also make the canyon a perfect home for a number of desert mammals and several species of reptiles and amphibians.
56200 Sunnyslope Dr, Yucca Valley, CA 92284
This little park has drawn travellers for over forty years to wander among its collection of giant biblical statuary and tableaus.
The Desert Institute at Joshua Tree National Park is an adult education program offering an in-depth exploration of the park's natural wonders. Learn from highly qualified instructors who are passionate about sharing their expertise, and committed to providing a personal and fun learning experience. The Desert Institute offers classes for adult learners in cultural history, natural science, survival skills, desert naturalist studies, citizen science, and creative arts. All programs are taught by expert instructors. Join them for a personal and fun educational adventure.
Belfield Boulevard, Landers
Considered to be the largest solitary boulder on this earth, this 23,000 ton mass was seen as sacred by Native Americans who once lived in the Mojave Desert near Landers, California. In the 1950s, it was a popular gathering point for UFO believers. Giant Rock is about 3 miles north of the Integratron. The rock and surrounding area are public land. There is not much to do at the rock itself. Adjacent to the rock is a hillside of big boulders, whichcan be fun to scramble through. The Giant is about 12-15 miles north of Yucca Valley. From the junction of Routes 62 and 247, go 12.5 miles north on 247 to Linn Road. Turn east on Linn Road, and go three miles until you see the domed building (the Integratron). Continue east on Linn Road, which turns to dirt. Bear left at the first fork. About 1.5 miles later, you'll encounter another fork. Keep right here and you'll find the rock.
Joshua Tree National Park
A visit to the park will never disappoint. Joshua Tree National Park, which sprawls across the lower Colorado Desert and the higher Mojave, is a vast place to enjoy the desert. For all its harshness the desert is a land of surprising variety and complexity, a land of extreme fragility. Viewed from the roadside, the desert only hints at its hidden vitality. To the close observer, however, a tiny flower bud or the lizard's frantic dash reveals Joshua Tree National Park as a place of beauty and life. Take your time as you travel through this area. Joshua Tree National Park provides a space for finding freedom from everyday routines, space for self-discovery, and a refuge for the human spirit. Let the desert take hold of you.
Oasis of Mara
Once a thriving Indian village, the Oasis of Mara later brought prospectors and homesteaders. It is now part of Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center.
Self-guided walking tours. Free!
Hidden Valley Trail
One of the most popular trails in Joshua Tree National Park.
Cholla Cactus Garden
A quick must-see trail in the park. Tthis small area contains awesome man-sized Cholla cacti that grow in profusion.
A lookout point located a couple of thousand feet above Joshua Tree National Park that provides incredible views of sunrise and sunset.
Four mile hiking trail in the park, offering great views from the top.
Interested in viewing Native American rock art? The Maturango Museum in Ridgecrest displays ancient American Indian petrogylphs and also provides tours of the nearby China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station where thousands of rock art figures have been carved into "Big Petroglyph" and "Little Petroglyph" canyons.
Mitchell Caverns Natural Preserve
Explore a cave! Mitchell Caverns Natural Preserve is located 16 miles from Hwy. 40 on Essex Road. Tours begin every day at 1:30 pm. Originally established by Jack Mitchell, these caverns are now part of the Providence Mountains State Recreation Area.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
1 Tramway Road, Palm Springs
Enjoy the most spectacular views of the desert from the top of Mt. San Jacinto - the steepest mountain in North America! Ride the rotating cars to the summit to hike in this alpine wilderness.
Big Bear Lake and The San Bernardino National Forest
The largest lake in Southern California is one of the true treasures of the 737,280 acre National Forest. An incredible alpine location for skiing (both snow and water), hiking, boating, swimming, biking, and fishing.
ODDS n ENDS
Copper Mountain Campus
A community college where visitors are always welcome.
Originally Morongo Indian Village, now a public park
Rural community, especially inviting horse riding buffs
29 Palms Historical Society Museum
Artifacts, memorabilia. Tues-Sun 1 - 4 pm
Joshua Tree Retreat Center
(formerly The Institute of Mental Physics)
59700 Twentynine Palms Hwy, Joshua Tree (10 minute drive)
For those seeking to understand the "physics" of their mind, or perhaps just a higher sense of consciousness, the Institute of Mentalphysics may be just the thing they were looking for. Built by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1946, the Institute of Mentalphysics sits in the high desert of Joshua Tree, California. Based on enlightenment philosophy, the Science of Mentalphysics is advertised as "a portal to your inner being."
The Science of Mentalphysics was originally created by Ding Le Mei in 1927. Born as Edward John Dingle, Ding Le Mei was one of the first Westerners to study under a Tibetan Lama Master, and used his experience to fuse the similarities between Eastern and Western religious philosophies.
Mentalphysics is a hybrid of meditation and breathing techniques which, when coupled with the sharp powers of the mind, can bring about a "Christ-like" transformation of consciousness. The philosophy borrows many techniques from Tibetan breathing exercises and yoga principals. It is commonly referred to as "The Super Yoga of the Western World."
Though the philosophy has few similarities with the traditional, academic study of physics, Ding Le Mei believed that the mind created reality, thus leading to the name, "Mentalphysics." He concluded that through a series of self-realization techniques, one could rapidly develop their spiritual awareness and expand their consciousness, even coming to control reality itself, a la Neo in the Matrix. Believers often refer to the philosophy as "the science of the future."
The institute is located on 420-plus-acres in the Mojave desert. It features the largest collection of buildings designed by Lloyd Wright and includes titles such as the Preceptory of Light, the First Sanctuary of Mystic Christianity, and the 700-foot long residence, Caravansary of Joy. Since its opening, roughly 225,000 students worldwide have enrolled to learn Ding Le Me's teachings.
Today, the Institute of Mentalphysics, also known as the Joshua Tree Retreat Center, features a variety of workshops dedicated to spiritual awareness and healing. Visitors can plan an overnight retreat, walk the Medicine Wheel, or experience the 15 "holy" spiral-shaped stone paths. Known as vortices, these structures are said to channel the site's "natural energy" and help visitors find clarity, for a fee, of course.
The Mysterious Integraton
2477 Belfield Blvd, Landers, CA 92285 (28 minute drive)
The story is that visitors from Venus arrived in a flying saucer and told former aerospace engineer George van Tassel of a process for cell rejuvenation involving a dome based on principles of sacred geometry. He began work on it in 1953, calling the dome at once a time machine, a rejuvenation machine and an anti-gravity device.
This white dome is open to the public (limited days and times) for tours and demonstrations. It is owned by an organization that is trying to preserve Van Tassel's legacy. According to some, there is not much to see, since the project remains forever "unfinished". Inside, there are two wooden floors with a few museum-type displays. A tour guide turns on an electrical device and asks everyone to meditate and try to feel the Integraton-focused energy The draw today is 30-minute 'sound baths', in which docents stroke crystal bowls under the acoustically perfect dome. Many visitors report an out-of-body experience, so maybe van Tassel realized his goal after all.
Just five miles northwest of Yucca Valley on Pioneertown Road is the setting of many western movies filmed during the 1940's and 1950's. A replica of “How the West once was,” this small town was built by Roy Rogers and Gene Autry in the 1940’s as a permanent set for many old western movies.
Some of the old storefronts can still be seen, and the visitor's imagination can drift back to the old west. This is the site of the famous OK Corral, where the Shootout was filmed in the movie of the same name. Today Pioneertown is a community of private residences, retaining its Old West image. There's still lots of horse back riding activity there on weekends. Stop for a cool beverage, hearty food and a busy roster of live entertainment at Pappy and Harriet's, and view the dozens of Old West artifacts that decorate this old tavern.
Antique Row in Yucca Valley
There are at least half a dozen places to find unique items in Yucca Valley.
Sky Village Swap Meet
The coolest collection of junk and treasure on earth, set in an old drive-in theatre!
15 Minute drive.
Explore the various varieties of orchids and carnivorous plants grown here! Tour the greenhouses of one of the best known Orchid producers in the nation. Many species available for purchase and shipping
Free personal tours in Landers Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (closed Sun and holidays)
Morongo Basin Orchid Festival every year in early October. Orchids, Wine, Music & Food!
Joshua Tree Community Center on Sunburst Avenue
The Joshua Tree Park and Recreation Community Center contains playgrounds, tennis courts, handball courts, a skate park for skateboarders, and picnic facilities.
61738 29 Palms Hwy, Joshua Tree (5 minute drive)
A loft-style, light filled room in soothing colors with a beautiful, handcrafted wood floor. Their experienced and friendly instructors teach a wide variety of yoga styles including Hatha, Kundalini, Vinyasa Flow, Astanga and Anasura.
The Living Desert
47-900 Portola Avenue, Palm Desert (55 minute drive)
Not to be missed! This is an incredible zoo and 1,200 acre desert conservation center with lush botanical gardens. See over 130 animal species, including Big Horn Sheep, Coyotes, Mountain Lions, and Golden Eagles. You’ll see remarkable plants, animals, places and natural phenomena associated with deserts and learn how The Living Desert is helping to interpret and protect them. Zoo and endangered species conservation center – botanical gardens – natural history museum – wilderness park – nature preserve – education center.