Test your fear of heights in one of California’s most beloved national parks.

By Travel & Leisure
September 05, 2012
Joshua Tree Rock Climbing
Credit: iStockphoto

The unique topography of this national park is a magnet for the adventure-sporty. With 800,000 acres spread over the Colorado (Sonoran) and Mojave Deserts, the preserve can be explored countless ways, but offers more than 400 formations and 8,000 routes for rock climbers. Go in the spring or fall to stay safe and comfortable.

Joshua Tree Rock Climbing School

The school runs full-day classes that introduce you to the fundamentals of climbing in Joshua Tree National Park.

Crossroads Cafe

The fresh-made multigrain pancakes and cheddar-jack omelettes are popular with breakfasting climbers.

Pappy & Harriet's Pioneertown Palace

Located off the beaten path in Yucca Valley, this historic “canteen” was first built in the 1940’s as part of Pioneertown, an elaborate movie set for some of Hollywood’s most famous Westerns. Today, the restaurant draws an eclectic crowd with its Old West theme, Santa Maria—style barbecue, and free live music (past performers range from Robert Plant to Sonic Youth). The exposed-brick dining room is decorated with colorful Christmas lights and old band flyers, while the outdoor patio contains picnic tables and a mesquite-burning grill, where the staff prepares house specialties like the baby back ribs with homemade barbecue sauce.

29 Palms Inn

The adobe bungalows and wood-frame cabins have fireplaces and sun patios, and are set in an oasis of palms, paloverde, and mesquite.

Joshua Tree National Park