It was my first time in Joshua Tree, and I was completely blown away. It was crazy to me that these rock formations are over 200 million years old, and were once underground. There are many hiking trails in the park that wind through interesting rock formations—the most popular being Skull Rock (pictured below), Ryan Mountain, and the Split Rock Trail.
There are three camping areas in Joshua Tree that are first come, first served sites. Those are: White Tank, Belle, and Hidden Valley. These each cost $15 per night. Despite it being President’s Weekend, I was able to snag a campsite in White Tank, the closest first come, first served campsite from the northern entrance. The campsite has a picnic table, a fire pit, and toilets nearby. All the other campsites require reservations, and they fill up quickly, so definitely book ahead!
From my experience, I would recommend that you always check the weather before going. While you should do this any time you go camping, Joshua Tree’s weather can change very quickly, as it is in the High Desert with its high elevation and unique weather patterns. Although I checked the weather beforehand, I still thought it would be a good idea to camp during a high wind warning. I noticed many empty campsites, despite there being a “reserved” sign in front of them. I guess they must’ve left because of the relentless wind the previous night. I didn’t put two and two together and decided to camp anyway. I wasn’t about to let a little wind stop me from camping there! Can you guess what happened? Throughout the night, the wind blew the tent like crazy to the point that my air mattress moved as though there were an earthquake. It was so unbearable to the point that I decided to sleep in the car for the remainder of the night. The next morning, I woke up to a broken tent.
Despite the tent setback, I still had a wonderful time! One of my favorite parts of camping is sitting around the campfire. While I was warming myself by the fire, I looked up and was blown away by the star-filled skies at night; I had never seen so many stars before. It is such a beautiful place to camp, hike, and explore the unique terrain, and I would highly recommend it to everyone who can make the trip out there!