Sometimes for holidays I just want to recharge and spend time with my husband and puppy dog. And that is exactly what we did this year for Thanksgiving in Joshua Tree. Patrick and I have both been before last year camping, but this trip was very different and more relaxing. Oh and if you are wondering if Joshua Tree can be a dog friendly trip, then follow along because Finley had a BLAST and everything we did was dog friendly!
W H E R E W E S T A Y E D
We stayed in the Cactus Mountain Airbnb located in Twenty nine Palms which is about 20 minutes north of the Joshua Tree Park entrance at the Oasis Visitors Center. It is a cozy, studio house sitting on tonssss of land. You feel like you can enjoy the entire desert all to yourselves. It was wonderful to just explore the backyard in the mornings with Finley after drinking our morning coffee on the covered patio. We chose to Airbnb this time instead of camping in Joshua Tree like we did last year in October (read post here) because it was pretty chilly at night camping in the middle of October so it would have been freezing at the end of November for Thanksgiving week. Plus we really wanted to bring the dog! There are plenty of modern, eclectic homes for rent in the Joshua Tree area. If you click this link, you can get $40 in travel credit when you signup with Airbnb.
I N D I A N C O V E C A M P G R O U N D
Indian Cove Campground was a hassle free way to enjoy a picnic and walk with your dog without having to "officially" enter the Joshua Tree park. Head to the visitors center for Indian Cove Campground to get the map and confirm where your dog can go within the campground. We were able to take Finley to the picnic areas and within 100 feet where a car has access, aka all roads. We drove all the way through the campground to the far end at the picnic area. There is a place to park your car and enjoy a packed picnic lunch sitting right up next to the boulders. From there we walked the dirt road that we just drove to get to the picnic area back to the campground spots. Finley loveddddd being on alert chasing lizards or whatever she could see. The road is flat and an easy walk. Highly recommend on for a fun half day with no stress.
B A C K C O U N T R Y R O A D T R A I L S
The dog rules for Joshua Tree park was very similar to Indian Cove campground. We found on the map that there were multiple backcountry roads, meaning a dirt path for cars to drive on but was less frequently traveled on compared to the main Park Blvd paved path throughout the park. So we parked our car at a bathroom location right at the entrance to Geology Tour Road. We then crossed Park Blvd to do a pretty lengthy hike along Desert Queen Mine Rd to Queen Valley Rd to Odelle Rd and then back along the main Park Blvd to the car. It was pretty secluded and not many cars on the road when we went so it was the perfect hike with Finley. All flat and you felt completely immersed in the scenery. It was roughly 4.5 miles to walk the entire route back to the car so bring plenty of water and maybe a snack just in case. This was our longest day in the park to just enjoy seeing all the Joshua trees away from the crowds in the park. We then headed directly to the back patio area of the Joshua Tree Saloon. They had great burgers and a bar with live music playing. Also, dogs are allowed on the back patio area. Parking was located at the back where the entrance to the patio is.
S C E N I C P A R K D R I V E
On the last day, we stopped at the Joshua Tree Coffee Company to enjoy yummy coffee on their back porch before making the drive from the Joshua Tree Visitors Center to the Cottonwood Visitors Center. We had never driven through the entire park before and wanted to enjoy a nice scenic drive viewing how the landscape and plants change as you go from the north end of the park to the south end. Right where the North from South part of the park starts to drastically change in scenery and plants is the Cholla Cactus garden. If you haven't stopped here, I highly recommend going to visit. I covered the cactus garden in my last trip to Joshua Tree in this post. Once we made it to the end, we got out at the Cottonwood Visitors center to get one last photo and take a restroom break before heading to Palm Springs for lunch. We ate at Wexler's located on the patio in the Arrive Hotel. They have a shaded patio with yummy brunch and lunch options. And yes, dogs are allowed as well.
Also, here is a good reference map of Joshua Tree Park.
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