Joshua Tree National Park is a quick 2 hour drive from Los Angeles. It's famous for climbing but also for it's unique landscape. We were really excited to go but quickly became disappointed when we found out that it is one of the least dog friendly national parks. We did a lot of searching to find the best spots so you can enjoy a weekend with your pup!
We stayed at a great airstream called the Joshua Tree Land Yacht. If you haven't used Airbnb yet, you can sign up here. We looked at a ton of other Airbnb options, but very few of them are dog friendly. If you want to camp, there are a lot of good camping options. (The temperatures dropped to 20 degrees when we went, and we were afraid it'd be too cold for a young puppy!)
Dogs aren't allowed on any of the park trails, but they are allowed on unpaved roads (where cars rarely drive on anyway). The thing about Joshua Tree is that there aren't a ton of big landmarks like Glacier Point, Maroon Bells, etc. That makes your experience walking on unpaved roads almost the same as if you walked on a regular hiking trail. Anywhere you look, the desert landscape is beautiful!
Stargazing is also amazing at Joshua Tree. Even though 'civilization' is close by, there isn't a ton of light pollution! Even though it was freezing cold at night, we bundled up with blankets and looked up at the stars from our airstream. You can do this almost anywhere.
Lastly, the Cholla Cactus Garden trails are not dog friendly, but the 'garden' is a wide patch of cholla cactuses, and you don't need to go on the trails to enjoy! You can see them from the parking lot and from the other side of the road where there are no trails.
Dog Friendly Dining
If you don't feel like cooking, there are lots of dog-friendly options in Joshua Tree and the surrounding area! Our favorites were:
- Joshua Tree Coffee House
- Natural Sister's Cafe
- Pappy & Harriets (you can make a half-day out of it by checking out the rest of Pioneertown!)
Don't forget to pack hiking and dog necessities! It gets extremely dry in the desert, even in the winter so you'll want to pack a lot of water wherever you go. There is no water available once you get into Joshua Tree NP. Some of our favorite gear: