Weekend Warriors: Joshua Tree
Situated in a basin flanked by warm Pacific beaches, several mountain ranges, and an open desert beyond, Angelenos are in no shortage of resources for recreation. In Murphy O’Brien’s Weekend Warrior series, our team members will share insights to the industry we so passionately work in – travel. Each feature will spotlight a destination that can be reached in a day’s trip from the Los Angeles area, including tips on places to visit, our lodging and dining recommendations, and other fun insights to round-out the trip.
This week, we are spotlighting Joshua Tree, a region encompassing an 800-acre expanse of nationally-protected parkland and a small town by the same name known for its artistic influence and burgeoning scene among young bohemians. Located less than an hour from Palm Springs’ menagerie of midcentury architecture and poolside parties, Joshua Tree provides a refreshing alternative for those who want to spend their weekend in relative seclusion while taking in the colorful desert backdrop.
How to Get There? Take the 10-E toward Riverside County and continue on CA-62 E/29 Palms Hwy. Drive to Park Blvd in San Bernardino County. Approximately 130 miles from Los Angeles.
Places of Interest:
Joshua Tree National Park: Joshua Tree National Park is a geological wonder. Large red-orange boulders protrude from the ground which, for the most part, can be scaled by amateur-to-moderate climbers. The Park consists of a special blend of lower, arid Colorado Desert and the higher, cooler Mojave Desert which is dusted with Joshua Trees (for which the park receives its name). During the winter season, it’s not uncommon for Joshua Tree to be blanketed with snow, providing a perplexing prettiness in the variety of color and shapes that drape the landscape. The park can be accessed for $15 and offers a number of campsites which can be reserved on a first come, first serve basis
Noah Purifoy Outdoor Art Museum: Noah Purifoy Outdoor Art Museum is an assemblage of curated sculptures that exude Joshua Tree’s quintessential quirk. The exhibit contains collections of artist, sculptor and LA influencer, Noah Purifoy, whose work served as a creative vessel for his progressive beliefs on social reform. When strolling through the park, his mix-material installations may be mistaken for large exotic animals and other objects not typically found in a desert landscape – a manmade mirage created by his artful ingenuity.
Pappy and Harriet’s: Named one of the “Top Ten Hidden Gems in the Country” by Billboard magazine, Pappy and Harriet’s is an understated saloon, nightclub and restaurant serving classic American fare. Once the production set of a list of American Westerns, the property was purchased in 1972 and transformed into the bar that stands today. Pappy and Harriet’s also serves as a music venue for performers that range from niche American Folk musicians to Indie and Classic rock bands. Popular acts have included Vampire Weekend, Neil Young, Queens of the Stone Age and a roster of other talent.
Hotel Lautner – chic, mid-century accommodations designed by an architect of the same name. For more information, visit: http://www.hotellautner.com/.
Mojave Sands – an ultra-boutique, five-room hotel lauded for its “eco-chic” appeal. For more information, visit: http://www.mojavesandsatjoshuatree.com/.
Camping – for the adventurous and budget-conscious, there are many campsites within Joshua Tree National Park. It’s recommended you arrive early as spaces fill up fast. $15 admission per vehicle is required to access the park.