Wild camping in Joshua National Park

Hey everyone!

So our journey went on and we got to Joshua! When I was here for the last time, the entire national park was closed due to floods, so I didn’t see much of it. Finally, I had the opportunity to explore it thoroughly, even at night actually.

We decided to sleep here. And not just so ordinarily. Like a boss. In a tent. In the wild. In fact, we were not even sure if we could do that. To tell the truth, we were convinced that it was forbidden, but we wanted to try it anyway. Well, how did it go? 

  1. How we thought it was gonna go: 
    We’re gonna arrive there in the dark, no one will be at the entrance booth, so we’re just gonna go into the park with the lights off, or raise the entrance bar (if there is any). We’ll drive a couple of miles, park the car at a pullout, walk for a couple of feet and put the tent there. In the morning, we’ll be gone by the sunrise.
  2. How it actually went: 
    We got to the booth when it was already dark, but the lights were still on and there was a lady. We stopped at the booth and looked at her. She asked if we had a reservation. We had no clue what reservation she meant, so we said we didn’t. She replied that all the campsites were full (what?!? There are there any campsites?!) and the only one which still had room was the one next to the town (about 10 miles back). She gave us a map and showed us where this camp was. We didn’t wanna discuss with her, so we thanked and turned around, because there were impatient campers waiting behind us, who obviously HAD a reservation. We stopped a couple of yards from the booth to figure out what to do. We didn’t want to camp n the town obviously, so we started a brainstorming. The first idea was to wait until the woman in the booth goes home (it was 4.30pm), which was followed by a better idea, and that was to wait until she goes to the bathroom and then we’ll quickly pass through the entrance. Another suggestion was that we wouldn’t wait any longer and when she wouldn’t be looking, we’d drive through the gate super-fast, park the car in one of the campsites, and get lost in between the other cars, camping legally. 
    And then I got an idea, that we could ask her, whether we could camp out of the campsite. We didn’t have anything to lose and if this fails, we could still use one of the previous choices. 
    We turned the car again and drove to the booth. We started mumbling: “This will probably sound like a very stupid question, but …” The woman first made a weird face, but then she said we should have said it right away, and that wildcamping was also possible, we just needed to beat least 1 mile away from the road and more than 500 feet from the hiking trail. She was so caught out by our question, that she’d forgotten us to ask for the $25 entrance fee and we drove to the park. 
    We found a hiking trail and measured the distance from the road and hiking trail. We found a cool place right next to one of the unique trees (this was my condition so I wouldn’t have to go far for a picture, haha:))). We set up the tent and around 7pm, we were already in sleeping bags.

The next day we woke up at sunrise and went exploring this beauty. We drove to the very end of the road, and I occasionally jumped out of the car for a picture of every tree I liked.

For lunch, we left the National Park and went to our favorite Denny’s. By the way, surprisingly, Joshua Tree is actually a desert and during the day it was about 80°F and at night the forecast said it was about 40°F. 

Anyways, what about you guys? Have you ever been to Joshua NP? Did you enjoy it there? Tell me your stories! :))))