Out of all the campgrounds in the park, Hidden Valley may be the toughest spot to get a site, but if you get lucky, you’ll be grateful. The campground is set within a series of huge rocks giving it an eerie, alien vibe.
Welcome to the Moon! At first glance, J Tree looks like another planet, a sentiment shared by the first western settlers who came across this beautiful and harsh place. The park gets its name for the eponymous Tree that litters the desert around the campground, that much we know, but the actual origin of the name of the “Joshua Tree” is up for debate. The most popular, and most fun, origin story comes from Mormon Settlers in the late 19th century who wrote that the tree reminded them of the biblical story of Joshua reaching his arms into the air towards his lord to ask for help.
What Makes It Great
Of course, the 19th century Mormons were not first humans to set their eyes on the unique flora and geology of J Tree. Humans have been said to habitat the area that is now JTNP for the last 5000 years.
Whether or not this is where the story comes from, the name carries with it a certain otherworldly appeal. It is beautiful and epic in its form, and there is no better place to enjoy its company than at Hidden Valley Campground.
Hidden Valley is a campers’ paradise with huge, flat open, protected campsites but do not forget that you are still in the middle of the desert. If you get a spot, rejoice, and never leave because you must have been putting out some serious good karma. This is a first come-first serve campground, so you have to cross your fingers when you drive up and really hope. There is no running water at the campsite so you have to be prepared. Bring all the food and water you will need for your stay, and once you have all that, bring more as it gets very hot during the day all year long.
A Hidden valley sunset is something to behold. If you have never seen one of those in the desert, you really need to give it a try.
Who is Going to Love It
The camper with an adventurous spirit will love this spot. Don’t come if you don’t like cooking your own food in the wilderness, going to the bathroom in a porta-potty, or getting really, really dusty. If all these things, accompanied by memorable sunsets, amazing rock formations, and a beautiful feeling of solitude sound up your, alley you will love this spot!
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
First come first serve, bring your own water, food and warmth (it’s the desert, gets cold in the winter time). To get there from LA take Route 62 North off of the 10 East. This road winds its way to Twentynine Palms, the last stop in civilization before you enter the desert. Grab your ice and toilet paper here, you’ll need both. Take a right at park Boulevard right at the Joshua Tree Visitor Center. This will take you all the way to Hidden Valley