Should we go to Joshua Tree for New Years? What is there to do there? Other recommendations?
December 30, 2007 2:54 PM   Subscribe

Is visiting Joshua Tree a fun thing to do for this time of year and if we go, what kinds of things do people do for fun when they're there?

It's going to be cold there (32F at night, 50F during the day).
Any suggestions on what to do or bring?
Where do people stay when they are there? Do they camp? Are there cabins?

If it's not a good thing to do at this time of year, are there any other recommendations for places to go in the outdoors for people who don't have a lot of camping gear?

We need specific recommendations because we want to go for New Year's.
posted by DarwinianDan to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
We live in L.A., by the way.
posted by DarwinianDan at 2:54 PM on December 30, 2007

It's a great time of year for Joshua Tree! There are tons of camping sites and they vary in the amenities and accessibility. Look at the NPS site for J Tree here. Some require reservations, some are first come, first serve. But it's very popular with rock climbers during the winter so it may be tough to find a spot.

There are no cabins in the park but lots of motels (varying greatly in quality) outside the park, mostly on the 29 Palms side. It should be pretty easy to find a room but it may not be luxurious. It's not far from Palm Springs though so if you want deluxe, get a place there.

Joshua Tree is awesome (if you're into the desert) and I'd totally recommend going.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 3:17 PM on December 30, 2007

I've never stayed here, having always camped, but the Joshua Tree Inn is supposed to be kind of cool. And has the added panache of being the place where Gram Parsons took his last breath. You can also visit his memorial, hidden in the rocks at Cap Rock.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 3:22 PM on December 30, 2007

Joshua Tree is like disneyland for adults. At least that's what I always think when I'm there. The rock climbs are the e-ticket rides, but if you're not into that scrambling around on the rocks is great fun. Get some sticky rubber approach shoes and wear clothes that you don't mind getting abraded on the sharp rock. Take a stroll around Real Hidden Valley, and hike up to the top of Mt. Ryan. Hike up the back side of Cyclops Rock and take pictures in the eye. Take a long day-hike out into the wonderland of rocks.

There used to be parties on New Years eve on top of Intersection rock, easiest route up is 5.3.
posted by Manjusri at 3:38 PM on December 30, 2007

Go on the Barker Dam hike, and when you get to the dam, just start wandering from there and scrambling on rocks. But don't get lost.

Rock climbers often go to Ed Chadas Mexican restaurant in Twentynine Palms. Decent, cheap place.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:03 PM on December 30, 2007

Two recommendations for lodging near J Tree:

Twentynine Palms Inn
Harmony Motel

I've had good experiences at both.

posted by chicainthecity at 5:23 PM on December 30, 2007

I agree with Manjuari. You can scramble and climb for days. Make sure you bring a pair of gloves (or two). Hands will take a beating.
posted by tom_g at 6:04 PM on December 30, 2007

I've driven up from San Diego to JTree at least twice a year for the past eight years. It's definitely one of my favorite places to car camp in Southern California. This is not the best time of year to be out in the high desert because of the cold, but if you have a sleeping bag rated for the temperature you'll be OK. Bring lots of firewood and dress in lots of layers. None of the campsites have cabins. None have showers. But at least you won't have to worry about rattlesnakes.

We usually camp at the Indian Cove campground. There's no water at the camp sites but the location is perfect. Right in the middle of lots of easy-to-climb-with-no-equipment towers of granite boulders. The campsites are nestled right up to the rocks, giving them more privacy than you get at most drive-up campgrounds. The park is absolutely beautiful, and the climbing is tons of fun.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 8:56 PM on December 30, 2007

Evenings are kinda dead but you can drive to Pappy and Harriets for some bizzarre pioneertown music late at night.
posted by lalochezia at 6:42 AM on January 3, 2008

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