A Passion Project

California Travel

Camping in Joshua Tree

March 30, 2017

Camping in Joshua Tree

I went camping for the first time in over a decade. Joshua Tree had been on my bucket list for a while, and I was really excited when I got the chance to go. Equipped with a brand new tent, some recently ordered camping supplies, and a few random things from my friend Rafa, my friend Hailey and I set out into the desert.


I think it’s notable that neither Hailey, nor I, had ever gone camping on our own before. Hailey’s only camping trip was on the beach in Hawaii, and my experiences were with my brother’s boy scout troop. (I did a lot of watching them set up…) So, we were pretty stoked when we were able to pitch the tent and get everything for our campsite set up with relative ease.


We went all out. I bought a coffee percolator, and used it to boil hot water for tea over the campfire. I used my cast iron skillet to cook chicken over the flames of the fire, and we made grilled cheese sandwiches on the propane stove.


We stayed at the cottonwood campsite, which worked out really well. It’s $15 to get into the park, and $20 per night to stay at cottonwood. There were three main areas at cottonwood, one group campsite, and two areas with individual campsites that you could pull your car right into. They don’t take reservations, so they’re completely first come first serve. We got in at around 12:00, which was perfect, because many of the people who stayed the night before had packed up, leaving quite a few openings on that Thursday. (It’s notable that all of the many other campsites at Joshua tree were full. Seriously, we drove through the entire park and all of the other sites were filled up.) To check out all of the campsite options in Joshua Tree, go here.


While there, we met some seriously awesome people. From Oregon natives turned full time travelers with a very cute dog, to a botanist student doing research on desert plants, it was really amazing getting to interact with lots of different people. We had a really cool conversation with an older gentleman, who told us about his adventures post retirement, and a boy scout troop leader who digs for geodes.

Another really amazing part of Joshua Tree were the gorgeous wildflowers that were in bloom all over the park. You can see some more flower photos in my Joshua Tree hike post. This hummingbird and these really beautiful white flowers were right by our campsite.

Although our camping trip was just over 24 hours, it felt like we were there for a few days. We got to do a lot of different things, and it was really relaxing being in nature and unplugging for a little bit.

To see more photos from the trip, including more nature shots, check out my hiking post here.


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