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  • Sunset at Mojave Desert in Twentynine Palms, CA

As our modern lifestyles cause us to be increasingly plugged-in to technology, it becomes more and more vital to find balance, and ways to maintain and restore our health and well-being. Taking a break from our daily, fast-paced routines helps us recharge and re-energize our senses, and while there are countless ways to consider doing so, none are as tried and true as getting outdoors for some fresh air and quality time in nature. Spending time in nature has immediate positive impacts to our lives, especially for our overall health, fitness, and wellness.

From the quiet and soothing sounds of nature, to an otherworldly landscape with fascinating flora and fauna, to commanding sunsets and night skies bursting with stars, the California Desert offers unparalleled opportunities to connect with the natural environment and recharge your senses, and 29 Palms is the perfect destination to experience it all.

Here’s three ways to improve your health, fitness, and wellness in 29 Palms:

1. Hike your way to wellness

From feeling the warm sunshine on your face, to taking in the calming sights and sounds of nature, to the rush of endorphins as you reach the summit, you’ll feel good about lacing up those hiking boots and hitting the trails this winter. While hiking is proven to have significant health and fitness benefits, it can also help boost your mood and improve your mental health by reducing stress and calming anxiety.

Planning a visit to 29 Palms opens up endless opportunities for hiking, climbing, and exploration in the California Desert region, and whether you’re looking to start with short and scenic trails like the 0.5-mile Indian Cove nature trail, something more moderate like Lost Horse Mine or 49 Palms Oasis, or ready to take on the challenging Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree National Park offers nearly 300 miles of world-class hiking trails.

For those seeking solitude on the trails, plan your visit to Joshua Tree National Park during a quieter weekday, and consider exploring new areas in Mojave Trails National Monument or taking the scenic drive out to the Mojave National Preserve where you’re sure to find a nice variety of hiking trails.

2. Stop for the sunset

Few places in California offer such commanding sunsets as the Mojave Desert. There’s always been something inherently powerful and spiritual about the sunset, and with research showing the experience of sitting outside and watching the sunset enhances our overall sense of satisfaction in life, we can all benefit from making more time for sunsets.

Key’s View in Joshua Tree National Park is one of the most popular places to watch the sunset, and for a good reason. At over 5,000 feet in elevation, the lookout at Key’s View offers panoramic views of the Coachella Valley and Salton Sea, and Mount San Jacinto and Mount San Gorgonio, two of the tallest mountains in southern California.

While Key’s View can be crowded during the peak holiday periods, sunset chasers looking for an equally stunning vantage point but with less people should consider making the drive to the iconic Amboy Crater Natural Landmark in Mojave Trails National Monument, or the exotic Kelso Sand Dunes in the Mojave National Preserve. Both locations will reward you will an outstanding spot to sit and watch the dramatic shift in the colors and tones of light across the vast desert landscape.  

And let’s not forget about those sunrises; an equally powerful and calming experience for those willing to get up before dawn. Early risers seeking a quiet and serene place to watch the sunrise will want to plan a drive to Cholla Cactus Garden in Joshua Tree National Park, where the rewarding east facing views and picture perfect vantage point offer an incredible view of the sun rising over the horizon.

3. Find solitude under the stars

There’s nothing like looking up at a clear night sky and getting lost in the stars. After a rejuvenating day spent outdoors in the fresh air, pull up a comfy chair, rest your legs, and spend the evening under our breathtaking dark night sky, where the shinning stars and stunning constellations will surely take your breath away.

Enhance your stargazing experience with a private star viewing party with the 29 Palms Astronomy Club who bring the telescopes and passionate astronomers to you – whether you’re in the national park or lounging on the patio at your hotel or vacation rental. If you’re looking to enjoy the night sky in a social setting, look no further than Sky’s The Limit Observatory and Nature Center who offer free public star parties every Saturday evening. Sky’s The Limit is located on Utah Trail, just outside of the north entrance of Joshua Tree National Park.

Find accommodations
Book your stay in 29 Palms where you can choose from the areas largest collection of hotels and motels, plus a wide variety of vacation rentals – all located within in minutes of the north entrance of Joshua Tree National Park.

Plan your adventure
Once you arrive, be sure to drop by the 29 Palms Visitor Center where you’ll find helpful staff, informative resources and a great collection of free road maps for Joshua Tree National Park, Mojave Trails National Monument, the Mojave National Preserve and surrounding areas. Open daily from 10:00am – 4:00pm at the corner of Hwy 62 and Desert Queen Ave in downtown 29 Palms.

It’s the best time of the year to hike!

From scenic natural trails and loops, to longer more challenging hikes, Joshua Tree National Park offers some of southern California’s most beautiful hiking trails.The fall is the best time of year to take on these more challenging hikes such as 49 Palms Oasis, a moderate 3-mile round trip trail that takes you down into one of the five fan palm oases found in the park.

Bordering Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave National Preserve, the newly designated Mojave Trails National Monument offers endless adventure for outdoor recreation enthusiasts. Start your adventure at Amboy Crater National Natural Landmark where a moderate 3-mile round trip hike up and into the volcanic cinder cone will reward you with stunning views of the surrounding Mojave desert, and as a bonus, you’ll get to drive a stretch of the iconic Route 66 getting there!

From Amboy Crater, continue north on Amboy Road to Kelbaker Road in the Mojave National Preserve where you can hike the stunning Kelso Sand Dunes. Rising almost 700-feet high, the 2.7-mile round trip hike to the top of the sand dunes will certainly be a good workout and might just be one of the most beautiful places in the California desert to watch the sunset!


There’s a great lineup of festivals & events!

Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tours October 5-6, 12-12, 19-20
Now in its 18th year, and having just extended to three weekends, the annual Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tours is California’s second largest open studio art tours event! With more than 120 studio locations and more than 200 participating artists this year,

Joshua Tree Music Festival October 10-13
In addition to an always incredible lineup of musicians, the Joshua Tree Music Festival offers variety of multidisciplinary workshops, such as yoga and movement, visual arts, music, and myth, and with a robust schedule of Kidsville activities, this is one of the top family-friendly festivals in the country! 

Climb Smart
October 18-20
Hosted by Friends of Joshua Tree, this annual festival brings together the largest gathering of rock climbers in Joshua Tree to kick off the climbing season! This three-day event offers fantastic clinics and workshops with some of the best certified and accredited guide organizations, giving experienced climbers a great chance to refine their skills, and first-time climbers the chance to get into the sport.  

We have lots of fun and quirky attractions to discover!

Beyond spending your time outdoors exploring the national park, or weekend attending festivals and events, fall is great time of year to explore the unique and quirky attractions in the City of 29 Palms!

How about a movie at Smith’s Ranch Drive-In, one California’s last remaining drive-in movie theaters?

Love live theater? How about a play at Theatre 29? This award-winning, premiere venue for year-round live community theatre offers a fantastic lineup of plays and comedies.

Ever thrown an axe? Trust us, once do it once you’ll be hooked! Discover your competitive side at The Boardroom, the high deserts first and only axe throwing venue.  





Coinciding with Earth Day 2019, Visit 29 Palms is pleased to announce that it is now an official Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics Community Partner, to help inspire and educate visitors on Leave No Trace skills and ethics.

Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics is a national, 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the environment by teaching people to enjoy it responsibly.

The City of 29 Palms is fortunate to be surrounded by incredible national parks, preserves, and monuments in this special part of the Mojave Desert, and visitation to these special places and public lands serve as a significant driver for the City’s tourism industry.

More than 5 million people visited Joshua Tree National Park, Mojave National Preserve, Mojave Trails National Monument, and Death Valley National Park last year alone, and with studies showing that only 1 out of 10 visitors are educated on Leave No Trace Principles, Visit 29 Palms recognizes an important opportunity to help educate visitors about responsible outdoor recreation practices through raised awareness of the Leave No Trace Seven Principles.

More information and resources about Leave No Trace skills and ethics are available at the 29 Palms Visitor Center, open daily from 8:30am – 5:30pm at 73484 29 Palms Hwy.

Leave No Trace Seven Principles:
1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
3. Dispose of Waste Properly
4. Leave What You Find
5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
6. Respect Wildlife
7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

© 1999 by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org

Leave No Trace Social Media Guidance:

Tag thoughtfully – avoid tagging (or geotagging) specific locations. Instead, tag a general location such as a state or region, if any at all. While tagging can seem innocent, it can also lead to significant impacts to particular places.

Be mindful of what your images portray – give some thought to what your images may encourage others to do. Images that demonstrate good Leave No Trace practices and stewardship are always in style.

Give back to places you love – invest your own sweat equity into the outdoor spaces and places you care about. Learn about volunteer stewardship opportunities and get involved in the protection of our shared lands.

Encourage and inspire Leave No Trace in social media posts – given the millions of social media users in the world, think of the incredible potential that social media has to educate outdoor enthusiasts – first timers to seasoned adventurers – about enjoying our wild lands responsibly.

Learn more about the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics organization!

Learn more about the incredible national parks, preserves, and monuments surrounding 29 Palms!

Join us in 29 Palms this March 31 – April 7 for International Dark Sky Week – a worldwide event hosted by the International Dark-Sky Association that celebrates the wonder of our night sky! Founded in 1988, the International Dark-Sky Association works “to preserve and protect the nighttime environment and our heritage of dark skies through environmentally responsible outdoor lighting,” and has hosted the International Dark Sky Week event since 2003.

The theme of the 2019 International Dark Sky Week is “open a window to the night” and we’ve highlighted some special opportunities to do just that this week in and around 29 Palms:

Star Party at Sky's The Limit Observatory and Nature Center in 29 Palms, CA.

Star Party: Mars and a Bright Open Cluster
Sky’s The Limit Observatory and Nature Center, 29 Palms, CA

Saturday, April 6, 2019
8:00pm – 10:00pm

The constellation Leo is near zenith (directly overhead) with bright star Regulus. To the east is M66, a bright galaxy that is 21 million light years away. Look further east and find Bootes and the brilliant globular cluster M3. It is 32,000 light years distant. To the left of the Star Regulus, look to the west for the dim constellation Cancer. You will find a great open star cluster M44, commonly called the Beehive – one of the brightest as it is only 538 light years distant. Sunset will be at 7:08pm. Prominent constellations: Leo (The Lion), Virgo (The Virgin), Bootes (The Herdsman), Hydra (The Water Snake), Cancer (The Crab). This is a free event, no registration required.

Learn more about events at Sky’s The Limit Observatory and Nature Center
Find lodging in 29 Palms

Dark Sky Astronomy Programs at the Mojave National Preserve near 29 Palms, CA.

Dark Sky Astronomy Program
Mojave National Preserve

Saturday, April 6, 2019
8:00pm – 9:00pm

Join the Dark Sky Ranger to view the magnificent night sky and learn about the importance of the dark sky at the Mojave National Preserve. Meet at 8:00pm at Site #1 at Hole in the Wall Campground, and be sure to bring some warm layers, a flashlight, and a camp chair. This event is free and does not require registration.

Learn more about astronomy programs at the Mojave National Preserve
Find lodging in 29 Palms

Designated as an International Dark Sky Park by the IDA, Joshua Tree National Park offers visitors to 29 Palms an incredible way to experience the night sky.

Starry Starry Night Evening Program
Joshua Tree National Park
Thursday, April 4, 2019
8:00pm – 8:45pm

Celebrate International Dark Sky Week in an International Dark Sky Park! Join a Park Ranger for a tour of the universe as seen from Joshua Tree National Park. Meet at the Indian Cove Amphitheater, near Site #40 at the end of Indian Cove Road. Bring warm layers, water and snacks, and consider carpooling as parking is limited.

If you have explored Joshua Tree National Park at night you have surely marveled at all those stars, but did you know it’s an official International Dark Sky Park?

Designated as an International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark Sky Association on August 12, 2017, Joshua Tree National Park boasts some of the darkest night skies in southern California! Defined by the IDA as “a land possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and a nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural heritage, and/or public enjoyment,” Joshua Tree National Park joins 19 other national parks with Dark Sky Park status, and offers visitors an unforgettable experience under the stars.

Learn more about stargazing in Joshua Tree National Park
Find lodging in 29 Palms

Save the Date – the 5th annual Night Sky Festival is taking place in 29 Palms on Saturday, September 21, 2019!

Join us in 29 Palms this fall as we celebrate of our stunning night skies! From astronomy lectures and solar telescope viewing, to guided walks with docents and astronomy themed crafts and activities for youth, to the evening star party with astronomers and 20+ telescopes, this festival offers fun for the whole family! Located just outside the north entrance of Joshua Tree National Park, Sky’s The Limit Observatory and Nature Center hosts the majority of the Night Sky Festival events, and will open ticket sales in the summer. Learn more about the Night Sky Festival, and book your stay in 29 Palms today.



Recently during my tour of the Mojave Desert in southern California, I was captivated by the natural landscape of this mysterious desert, with its open vistas of rugged wilderness that gives you the privilege to experience total freedom of space when camping or hiking. The authenticity of the Mojave’s landscape enhances the natural beauty of the southern California terrain. I am an adventurous traveler, one that loves exploring the mystery of a place, and discovering the hidden treasures of a destination. During my travel to the Mojave Desert, I stumbled upon a rural desert city, called Twentynine Palms.  

Twentynine Palms is a natural wonderland of desert wilderness and rich cultural history which is vividly captured with historical murals that are displayed throughout the city.  The city of Twentynine Palms I learned is not only the home of the popular and historical headquarters of Joshua Tree National Park, it is also an official gateway community to Mojave Trails National Monument and Route 66, which to my delight is a short drive of about (49 minutes), north of Hwy 62 via Amboy Road.  A key feature that I noted of the Mojave Trails National Monument is that it connects the Mojave National Preserve with Joshua Tree National Park, which “ensures the biological connectivity of this landscape, while preserving traditional uses, such as hunting and off-highway vehicle recreation.” (BLM website)

Welcome to Mojave Trails National Monument

The Mojave Trails National Monument was designated in 2016, and is home to several significant natural treasures, such as the longest remaining undeveloped stretch of the original and historic Route 66, which takes you to the old world, as you discover vintage road signs, iconic neon signs, historical highway motels, restaurants, and motor courts.

Moreover, you will find in the city of Barstow, California many street murals depicting and celebrating the iconic Route 66. This iconic route further takes you into the historical mining and ghost towns of southern California, such as Amboy and Calico.  

Route 66 has been popularly referred to as the “mother road” because it was originally used by many Americans as travel path, for vacations to California. It was at one time the link for the United States across the rocky mountain divide to the Pacific Ocean.  It was also a travel path that was used by many to  migrate to different parts of the US, hence it  “celebrates the legacy and resilience of the American people, more significantly connects you to the essence of the American spirit.

Significantly, the romance and nostalgia of Route 66 is immortalized in popular culture, in movies, songs, such as Bobby Troup’s (1946) hit, “Get Your Kicks on Route 66”, and the (1960s), Route 66 television show. The fascinating discovery for me on this tour was the Amboy Crater National Natural Landmark. An adventurer’s treat, a volcanic cinder cone in the middle of the Mojave Desert that resembles a lonely isolated mountain.

Visit 29 Palms and discover the iconic Route 66 to Amboy Crater Natural National Landmark in the Mojave Trails National Monument

Located 1.5 miles south of Route 66, and 55 minutes from the city of Twentynine Palms, Amboy Crater stands at 250 feet tall, 1,500 feet in diameter, and was formed by ash and cinders. Situated on one of the youngest volcanic field in the United States with its last documented eruption taking place 10,000 years ago, Amboy Crater is truly a geological wonder.

You can hike the trail on the west of the cinder cone, with the trail taking you to an opening where it seems that a one time a violent volcanic eruption ruptured the crater wall. CalWild provides a great description of the crater, explaining “inside, of the 250-foot-high crater contains two lava dams, which have formed small lava lakes. These are now flat in general appearance, covered with light colored clay, creating the impression of miniature “dry lakes.” Beyond the crater lies 24 square miles of lava flow, that has features of lava lakes, collapsed lava tubes and sinks, spatter cones, and massive flows of basalt.”

By hiking up to the 1,508-foot-tall center rim you will be rewarded with an awesome view that reveals an epic desert landscape. I recommend hiking the Amboy Crater trail in spring or early fall, when temperatures are cooler.

Visit 29 Palms and discover pristine sand dunes in the Mojave Desert, California

My partner, being the romantic he is, planned the last part of the tour towards the end of the day, so that I would experience the bold, brilliant, colors of the sun setting in the Mojave Desert.

As the evening progressed into the night, to my delight, I was taken to the exotic Kelso Dunes, located in the Mojave National Preserve. The night was lit up by the bright, sultry full moon. The light of the moon guided us in our hike to the top of the dunes. Once at the top you will experience panoramic views of the surrounding dunes and peaks, a picture perfect sea of sand that awakens all your senses. As we lay on the sand, we could feel the stillness of the night, the cool grains of the sand on our feet, the refreshing cool breeze of early fall silently fanning us. The Kelso Dunes have an energy of peace and tranquility that awakened my soul to experience the harmony of natures wonderland. 

According to popular belief, the dunes are noted for their singing.
 Jennifer Morrell describes “Kelso is one of a few acoustic dunes that produce a squeaking or booming sound as sand grains compress and slip over one another. A silica coating on the grains that helps them stick together also resonates when they are moved.”

Please note: that the wind and the sand continuously changes the outline of the dunes, this makes navigating the trail difficult, hence there is no permeant hike trail to the very top of the dunes.  Furthermore, driving through the Mojave Preserve to the Kelso Sand Dunes can be difficult, and requires planning and navigation research.

For more information on these destinations, visit:
Mojave Trails National Monument
Amboy Crater Natural National Landmark, Mojave Trails National Monument
Route 66, Mojave Trails National Monument
Mojave National Preserve
Kelso Sand Dunes

Ash Maharaj is an Advisory Board member for the 29 Palms Tourism Business Improvement District, and owner of the iconic Harmony Motel. Visit Ash’s blog to read more on her adventures in the Mojave Desert.

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