Joshua Tree and Packed Campgrounds


ALL CAMPGROUNDS FULL!! What were we thinking?


Heading out to Joshua Tree all three of us were very excited. We had picked out our favorite campground (Belle Campground) and even went as far as to narrow down the spot we were most interested in getting. There are nine campgrounds inside Joshua Tree and they are first come, first serve spots.Three of the campgrounds (Hidden Valley, White Cove and Indian Cove) will not allow trailers over 25 feet and none of them have RV hook-ups. Being that it was the week before Easter, we called the ranger station on our way to see how full the campgrounds were getting. We were told it was filling up, but that there were still quite a few spots open around the park and in various campgrounds.

By the time we got there and checked in at the welcome center, there was a large sign that read: ALL CAMPGROUNDS FULL (except a few spaces in Cottonwood Campground). Cottonwood was the campground that was furthest south and furthest away from the typical Joshua Tree sites we wanted to see. We envisioned a camp spot nestled among the inspiring jumbo rocks and picturesque views and stargazing. Cottonwood was so far south that it was a very different terrain, with no big boulders and jumbo rocks to climb or admire. The spaces were “pull off the road to your right” spots that left our slide out on the main road waving “hello” to everyone that passed.

We had never been to Joshua Tree, so we picked a spot in Cottonwood long enough to fit our rig and settled in. Campers next to us said there had been no wind and it was perfect temperature outside when we arrived. Blue skies, hot sun on your face and an occasional light breeze to cool you off and keep you comfortable. We opened up all the windows in the trailer and sat for a few minutes just to enjoy the breeze and finally take a moment to relax in our trailer.

Before sunset we ventured up into Joshua Tree, not realizing that the nearest campground and large boulders were a 45+ minute drive. We drove through Joshua Tree completely in awe of the sheer size and remoteness of the park. You can’t see anything but the park for miles and mile and the terrain changes from flat open, prarie-like areas to rugged mountain terrain in a matter of minutes. The park itself is 794,000 acres and NO cell service anywhere…talk about feeling remote and isolated (even with the 1.4 million visitors they get each year)!

We finally found the jumbo boulders as it was getting dark and we had to head back for dinner…no rock climbing on this trip 🙁 We decided to only stay the one night and come back again when we can camp at Belle or Jumbo Rocks Campground and really make the most of the true Joshua Tree experience. It’s a good thing we decided to leave the next morning, because the high winds followed us up to Joshua Tree and we spent another night and early morning with a rockin’ trailer. Up next for us….San Andreas Fault and Hot Mineral Baths…


Cottonwood campground Joshua Tree April RV
Cottonwood Campground in Joshua Tree at 3,000 ft elevation and has 62 sites


Belle Campground Joshua Tree Park camping
First Joshua Tree we saw near the entrance to Belle Campground at 3,800 ft elevation


Breaking in the appliances with some good old fashioned “burnt” marshmallows!


2015 Keystone Cougar 28RBS Joshua Tree Camping Solar boondocking
Hubby also put out small orange cones around our slide out on the street, just as an added precaution. We tied rocks to them to keep them from blowing away, lo and behold, they ended up scattered around the camp area when we woke up the next morning. If you were to pan right you would find three other cones on the far side of the road!


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