Visiting Joshua Tree National Park with your furry companion can be a great way to experience the beautiful desert landscape together. However, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip for both you and your dog. This travel guide will help you figure out the best things to do in Joshua Tree, where to stay, eat and play with your dog.
Our recent visit to Joshua Tree National Park was a great time, especially considering it was our first time visiting. The weather in January couldn’t have been better and we were able to enjoy some of the many outdoor activities that the park has to offer. As avid travelers, we always try to bring our dog along with us wherever we go and were pleasantly surprised to discover that Joshua Tree National Park has some pet friendly options. While it’s true that you can't explore the full park with your pup, it's still a great luxury to have the option and get a taste of this beautiful desert oasis.
Things to Know Before Visiting with your Dog:
First, it's important to know that dogs are only allowed on designated trails and in developed areas of the park. By developed, this means that you will need to stick to paved paths and roads, and avoid any areas marked as off-limits to dogs. Unfortunately, hiking trails within Joshua Tree National Park do not allow dogs, but don't worry because there are alternative options for you and your furry friend within the park that I will cover in this blog. You should also note, dogs are not permitted on backcountry trails or in the wilderness.
Be sure to bring enough water and food for your dog, as the desert can get very hot and dry. It's also a good idea to bring a portable water bowl and a shade shelter for your dog to rest in during breaks.
It's also important to be aware of the wildlife in the park and in the town of Joshua Tree, as snakes, coyotes and other animals can be dangerous to dogs. Keep your dog on a leash at all times, and be mindful of your surroundings.
When to Visit Joshua Tree with your Dog:
The best months to visit Joshua Tree National Park are typically from October to May. During these months, the temperatures are milder and more comfortable for hiking and exploring. The park can get extremely hot during the summer months, with temperatures often reaching well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Hiking in this kind of heat can be dangerous, not only for humans but also for dogs. The fall and spring months offer more comfortable temperatures, making it easier to explore the park and enjoy its many trails and viewpoints. Additionally, during spring, Joshua Tree National Park is in full bloom, making it a great time to visit the park to see the wildflowers and cacti.
Where to Stay in Joshua Tree with your Dog:
There are three main areas to stay near Joshua Tree National Park - 29 Palms, Joshua Tree, and Yucca Valley. The closest town to Joshua Tree National Park is 29 Palms, which offers plenty of dining options, convenience stores, and lodging. Pros for staying in 29 Palms include its proximity to Joshua Tree National Park, but it can get crowded during peak season, so plan ahead!
Staying in Joshua Tree is great if you’re looking for a more laid-back vibe. Joshua Tree offers plenty of unique Air Bnbs and lodgings with desert views. There are also several restaurants and shops in Joshua Tree - perfect for stocking up on snacks before heading to Joshua Tree National Park! We partnered with Hygge Home Rentals (@_hyggehomerentals) during our visit to Joshua Tree with our dog and absolutely loved our stay at two of their properties - The Drive In (@thedriveinjt) and The Hangar Hideaway (@hangarhideaway).
If you’re looking for a unique, pet-friendly glamping experience near Joshua Tree National Park, Autocamp Joshua Tree is the perfect place to stay. Located just minutes away from Joshua Tree National Park, this luxury camping resort offers a variety of accommodations that are both comfortable and stylish.
If you’re looking for an even quieter stay, you should look into Yucca Valley. Lodging options are more limited in this area, but it offers a much more rural atmosphere and less crowds
Check out other Pet Friendly Home's and Villa's from Hotels.com in Joshua Tree -- my favorite travel booking site!
Dog Friendly Hikes in Joshua Tree National Park:
Keys View: Although this isn't much of a hike, Keys View is a great viewpoint within the National Park which offers panoramic views of the Coachella Valley and is a great spot to take in the sunset with your dog!
Big Horn Pass Rd & Queens Valley Rd: These dirt trail roads are perfect for enjoying the serenity of Joshua Tree National Park with you dog, and was our favorite spot for walking! We parked on a dirt pull out on Big Horn Pass Rd and walked along the dirt road to take in the scenery of the Joshua trees, cholla cactus and mountains in the distance. Barely any cars came down the road and if they do, just safely step aside to let them pass.
National Park Campgrounds: The campgrounds within Joshua Tree National Park are dog friendly and offers gorgeous desert views from the paved pathways, and also makes for a great place to take your dog for a walk under the stars if you enjoy Astrophotography.
One dog friendly hike that we didn't have time to get to which is outside the National Park's boundaries is the Friendly Hills Hike.
5 Safety Tips for Hiking in Joshua Tree with your Dog:
Bring enough water and food for your dog: The desert can get hot and dry, so it's important to have enough supplies to keep your dog hydrated and well-fed. Bring a portable water bowl and pack extra water and food in case of emergencies.
Keep your dog on a leash: Joshua Tree National Park requires dogs to be on a leash at all times when outside of designated off-leash areas. This will keep them safe from wild animals, as well as other hazards such as cacti and other desert plants.
Be mindful of the heat: The desert can be very hot, especially during the summer months. Be sure to bring shade for your dog, and avoid strenuous activity during the hottest parts of the day.
Watch out for wildlife: Joshua Tree is home to many wild animals, including snakes, which can be dangerous to dogs. Keep a close eye on your dog and be aware of your surroundings.
Keep your dog on designated trails: Dogs are only allowed on designated trails and in developed areas of the park. Avoid backcountry trails and wilderness areas, as these are off-limits to dogs. This will keep both you and your dog safe and prevent damage to the park's delicate ecosystem.
Lastly, be sure to clean up after your dog and dispose of any waste properly. This will help keep the park clean for future visitors and wildlife.
Dog Friendly Places to Eat and Drink:
Kitchen in the Desert: Kitchen in the Desert is a unique destination for travelers visiting 29 Palms and Joshua Tree National Park, conveniently located nearby and offering organic Caribbean and New American cuisine, made with locally sourced ingredients, heritage spice recipes, and served up in an inviting 1940s-style setting full of lush cacti and palm trees.
Pappy & Harriets Pioneertown: Pappy & Harriets, located in Pioneertown since 1982, is a legendary destination offering classic American fare and live music in an authentically rustic Western setting, with Santa Maria-style barbecue and friendly service sure to keep guests entertained and delighted.
JT Country Kitchen: JT Country Kitchen, a beloved local diner in Joshua Tree National Park, has been serving up home-cooked comfort food, friendly service, and generous portions for over 40 years! The menu features all the classic American diner fare you know and love, along with specialties like buttermilk pancakes and tasty omelettes.
La Copine: Experience the best of New American cuisine in a modern and minimalist setting at La Copine in Yucca Valley, where you can enjoy seasonal dishes and creative cocktails in the chic indoor-outdoor restaurant. Enjoy a quick lunch with friends or an evening out with your special someone as you savor the vibrant flavors of the season in a stylish atmosphere. From small plates to larger entrees, La Copine offers something for everyone's tastes.
Tost Pizza: Tost Pizza in Yucca Valley is the perfect destination to experience authentic Neapolitan-style pizza, offering customers a variety of choices ranging from classic Margherita to a special cinnamon stick dessert pizza topped with cinnamon sugar and drizzled frosting.
Yucca Valley Outpost: Yucca Valley Outpost is an innovative and inspiring eatery that serves up delicious vegan and nut-free dishes with plenty of gluten-free options inspired by global flavors, perfect for anyone seeking a nutritious yet tasty meal experience.
Red Dog Saloon: The Red Dog Saloon in Pioneertown, founded by Gene Autry and Roy Rogers in 1946, offers a unique Tex-Mex menu bursting with fresh, organic ingredients and expertly crafted cocktails for an unforgettable dining experience that will leave you wanting more.
With these tips in mind, you and your dog can have a great time exploring the beauty of Joshua Tree National Park together. Remember to take lots of photos, and have fun!
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