Natural Sisters Café
61695 Twentynine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree
After a hike in Joshua Tree (it’s located near the entrance of the park), Natural Sisters in Yucca Valley— with its smoothies, fresh juices, veggie scrambles, and hummus wraps—is the ultimate recovery station. The Rock Climber’s Revenge is our personal favorite—a not-too-sweet blend of cashews, dates, and banana. The restaurant also acts as a gallery, its walls full of work by local artists.
Beal Rd., Calipatria
While the man who spent more than thirty years painting a tribute to God on a mountain in Southern California wouldn’t have called himself as an artist, what he left behind is an absolutely wonderful specimen of folk art. Leonard Knight recently passed away, but Salvation Mountain is still open, thanks to a group of local volunteers and Knight groupies. It helps that Salvation Mountain is located right near Slab City, a famous campsite haven for hippies, travelers, and “snowbirds,” who continue to watch over Knight’s masterpiece.
Wonder Valley Oil Shop at the Station
61943 Twentynine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree
Alison and Jay Carroll packed their bags in 2015 and headed south from LA down to Joshua Tree where they put down roots in Wonder Valley. Yes, Wonder Valley is a real place, and it’s every bit as magical as it sounds. Housed in an old 1940s gas station, the newly minted Wonder Valley Oil Shop sells Carroll’s own artisanal namesake olive oil, harvested in Northern California, plus a unisex face oil—the brand’s foray into the beauty space. Look for made-in-LA supersoft graphic tees, a few carefully chosen pieces from Carl Auböck (a cheese board and knife, a bottle opener, and a corkscrew), plus ceramic vases fired right here in the high desert.
The Joshua Tree House
Olson Rd., Joshua Tree
This 1949 hacienda, just 10 minutes from the park, fully encapsulates the slow living vibe that Joshua Tree is known for. The two bed, two bath Airbnb, with its smooth polished stone floors strewn with colorful rugs, an open fireplace, wood-beamed ceiling, and natural light contributes to the space’s rustic, yet supremely comfortable vibe. We love the tent room, a textural sleeping space with a canopied bed and bright layered rugs. This house is the perfect retreat to pack full of friends for a weekend in the desert. Despite the pull of local joints like Pappy & Harriets, La Copine, and the park itself, stargazing in the outdoor tub with only the record player breaking the total silent stillness is a pretty sublime experience worth staying in for. The owners (who instantly fell in love with the area at the tail end of a road trip) have imbued the house with plenty of thoughtful touches—the snug kitchenette is stocked with locally roasted coffee and Chemex for brewing.
Joshua Tree National Park
Just 45 minutes from Palm Springs, Joshua Tree is at its most majestic at night, when the sky glitters with stars and all you can hear are the yelps of resident hyenas (weirdly romantic). At almost 800,000 acres, the stunning terrain should be experienced by everyone at least once. This geologically unique intersection of the Mojave and Colorado deserts was granted national park status in 1994 and is home to all manner of intricate ecosystems. You can get a feel for Joshua Tree by driving through but we recommend booking a spot at one of nine designated camping grounds. There are also a ton of hiking trails, bird-watching expeditions, rock-climbing oops, and historic tours on offer.
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