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  • Sunset at Mojave Desert in Twentynine Palms, CA

Day One: Outdoor Adventure

Enjoy blue skies, dark nights, and an otherworldly landscape in Joshua Tree National Park

Start your Joshua Tree National Park adventure at the park’s Oasis Visitor Center in 29 Palms and explore one of the many fascinating aspects of this otherworldly national park with a free, half-hour Ranger Talk, held every morning at 10:00 AM. Following the Ranger Talk head out for an easy stroll along the Oasis of Mara Nature Trail where you will discover how this natural desert oasis is the cornerstone of the Joshua Tree National Park story, and how in the presence of water, life has thrived in and around the oasis for more than 9,000-years.

If popular trails like Hidden Valley, Barker Dam, or Ryan Mountain are on your to-do list, we recommend planning your visit on a weekday, between Monday and Thursday, when you’ll find more space to yourself on the trails. We also recommend getting an early start to your day and entering through the north park entrance in 29 Palms where you can avoid the congestion and potentially long wait times at the west entrance in the town of Joshua Tree.

After an adventurous day outdoors, you’ll surely have worked up a big appetite! Check out 29 Palms diverse collection of restaurants – and enjoy a great meal after a great day outdoors. Once you’ve relaxed and refueled, we invite you to sit back and watch our dark night sky come to life!

The California desert is known for it’s stunningly dark night skies, and our community was thrilled to see Joshua Tree National Park receive International Dark Sky Park designation by the International Dark Sky Association in 2017. Be sure to spend at least one late night marveling at the stars and Milky Way while you’re visiting 29 Palms, whether it’s in the National Park, at a free, public star party at Sky’s The Limit Observatory and Nature Center, or with a private stargazing experience with the 29 Palms Astronomy Club who will bring the star party to you!

Day Two: Arts & Culture

Discover an Oasis of Murals, a thriving arts community, and a small city with a rich history!

Discover the rich history of our vibrant desert community by exploring our Oasis of Murals. The series of outdoor murals are located throughout the downtown area and illustrate the colorful history of 29 Palms, from the history of the Serrano and Chemehuevi Native America tribes, to the founding pioneers and homesteaders, to the establishment of the 29 Palms Marine Base, to a celebration of the unique flora and fauna of the beautiful Mojave Desert. Download our Oasis of Murals brochure and plan a self-guided tour!

The Mojave Desert has long since been a place of inspiration for artists and musicians, so whether you’re feeling inspired to drop in to the 29 Palms Creative Center and Gallery to paint or learn the pottery wheel, or view the latest exhibit at the 29 Palms Art Gallery, you will be impressed by the rich arts and culture of our desert community.

Continue your exploration of our city’s rich history and culture with a docent led tour of the Old Schoolhouse Museum, owned and operated by the Twentynine Palms Historical Society. Every city has its own story and history just waiting to be discovered, and there’s no better place to immerse yourself in 29 Palms history than at the Old Schoolhouse Museum.

Day Three: Road trip through the Mojave

Explore the unimaginable diversity of Mojave Trails National Monument and take a cruise along the iconic Route 66!

Spanning 1.6 million acres, the newly designed Mojave Trails National Monument is an incredible part of the California desert, and is home to beautifully rugged mountain ranges, pristine sand dunes, ancient lava flows, historic Native American trading routes and incredible WWII history, plus the longest undeveloped stretches of the iconic Route 66. Exploring Mojave Trails National Monument will require more research and planning than its neighboring Joshua Tree National Park or Mojave National Preserve so be sure to stop by the 29 Palms Visitor Center to pick up maps and travel information to help plan your day trip.

Grab lunch to-go from one of our restaurants and then head northeast on Amboy Road and make the nearby Amboy Crater National Natural Landmark your first stop in Mojave Trails.

Day Four: Discover our local hidden gems

Shop, dine, and play in downtown 29 Palms

A great way to spend the morning is to get out and explore some of the unique shops in downtown 29 Palms. You’ll discover a beautiful collection of home décor and furnishings at Habitat, a colorful collection of locally made art, gifts, and crystals at Mojave Sol, and eclectic collectibles and antiques at the Carousel of Treasures.

After a fun morning spent exploring the shops in 29 Palms, enjoy a leisurely lunch while you contemplate the many interesting ways to spend your afternoon. 29 Palms is home to some unique attractions including the high desert’s only axe throwing venue. Spend an hour or two at The Boardroom and let your competitive side shine while playing one of the many fun axe throwing games.

If quirky road side attractions peak your interest, take a short drive east on Highway 62 and visit Glass Outhouse Art Gallery. You’ll not only discover a great indoor gallery space with contemporary art exhibits, but also a fun collection of playful outdoor art displays, including one of our favorites, “Schwinn Ranch.”

Dinner and a show is great way to spend your evening in 29 Palms, and we offer some a unique take on this popular date night theme. Remember drive-in movie theaters? We’ve still got one! Smith’s Ranch Drive-In Movie Theater is one of only 18 remaining drive-in movie theaters in California, and offers double features on the big screen Thursday through Sunday, with new films every week. Another great option for the “show” part of your evening is to see a play or musical at Theatre 29, a non-profit community theatre that has been entertaining the Morongo Basin and Coachella Valley area since it opened in 1999!

And lastly, if you’re in town on Saturday, be sure to stop by the 29 Palms Farmer’s Market where you can shop fresh, locally grown produce and a wide variety of artisan goods!

Places to Stay in 29 Palms:

29 Palms Inn
29 Palms RV Resort
9 Palms Inn
America’s Best Value
Campbell House
El Rancho Dolores
Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott
Harmony Motel
Holiday Inn Express
Motel 6
Oasis Inn & Suites
Sunnyvale Garden Suites
SureStay Plus by Best Western

+ Choose from a wide variety of short-term vacation rentals!

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!

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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Know Before You Go

Your health and safety is the top priority for our hospitality businesses. In accordance with State/County guidelines we kindly remind you to wear your face mask/covering, practice healthy hand-washing, maintain a safe social distance, and postpone travel if you are sick.

Together, our everyday actions can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.