Joshua Tree National Park

The Best National Park Campsites: Hidden Valley

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Hidden Valley
A little gumption goes a long way toward solitude in Joshua Tree. Photo by: Dan Holtz/

Can’t-miss plan for sussing out a stellar campsite: Go beyond the edges of where campers usually stay; evaluate sites on their merits, not on convenience; the higher you go, the better the views (usually); but don’t waste so much energy that you sleep through a good sunrise. Such a strategy pays off in sites like this in wide-open backcountry just beyond Joshua Tree’s Hidden Valley region. Scramble up the rock formation .5 mile past the western edge of the Hidden Valley camping area and look for a flat spot. Pack in all water (a gallon per person per day). When the morning sun dispels the desert’s evening cool, you’ll know you found the right spot. Trailhead Hidden Valley Season Spring and fall Permit Free; self register at backcountry kiosk