Have you ever heard of a national park called Joshua Tree east of LA? The simplest and silliest way to describe the aesthetic is that there are many, many big rocks, and a lot of Joshua Trees. This park is the only home to Joshua Trees which make it extra special. I recently took a creative adventure to Joshua Tree with three of my friends and we gathered some amazing photos as well as built a memorable experience. Keep reading for photography and travel advice in Joshua Tree, California.

How We Got to Joshua Tree

We are all from Washington and Oregon, so we had to organize our transportation. Joshua Tree National Park is east of Los Angeles about 2 hours and about 45 minutes from Palm Springs. Luckily, we were able to find affordable flights into Palm Springs, which made our compute more simple.

Secondly, we rented a car from a service called Turo. Turo is essentially an AirBnb for cars and cost friendly. There are options to rent all types of cars and various options for pickup locations. We rented a Volkswagen Passat, one of the cheaper options, which gave us 600 miles to go for free and the owner agreed to meet us at the airport. Picking the car up once we landed and dropping it off before we flew out was super simple thanks to Turo.

Where to Stay in Joshua Tree

There are many nice Airbnb options in the town of Joshua Tree, in which we found our perfect stay. We looked for a few amenities and details when booking:

  • Price (ended up being under $300 a night) (4 guests)
  • Location (Not far from the park entrance, ours was about 15 minutes)
  • Whole place to ourselves (no private rooms or guesthouses)
  • Artistic culture
  • Hot Tub (the cool air at night and the wide starry night made this a must)

We ended up staying at a “Art House” AirBnb which features beautiful desert art pieces and magnificent lighting. Depending on your party size, there quite a few brilliant stays available in the area.

Here’s some photos from our home for the week:

What to do in the National Park

There are a LOT of things to do and see at the park, and for that reason it’s easy to get overwhelmed. The park is also huge so don’t be alarmed if getting to a trail takes a few miles. We went to four different specific spots pretty much the whole. Primarily because we were inspired, intrigued and kept returning.

Arch Rock

Arch Rock was one of our first spots to visit in the pitch black starry night. We went out there with confidence and went searching for the popular boulder with a beautiful arch in it. After climbing over rocks in the pitch black for about 15 minutes we finally found it and ended up exploring there for a good share of the night.

My friends and I ended up taking some incredible pictures with the stars and a photography technique called light painting.

Incredible work by @rodriguez.reel

Awesome shot by @masphotography.jpeg

And finally, another great shot by @logghess

Arch rock was so interesting to us that after we visited one time we had to return two other times to enjoy it’s beauty both in the day and the night!

Jumbo Rocks

Jumbo Rocks was probably our second favorite spot to visit because it felt like an adult playground. We spent a lot of time climbing up and down huge boulder formations and enjoying the long valley view to the west where the sun rises. My favorite pictures were of the sunrise and sunset.

Here’s some of the photos I took:

I also really enjoyed the spaciousness once you climbed up the rocks allowing us to run up and down.

Here’s a couple photos by @rodriguez.reel:

Skull Rock

Skull Rock was a more short lived pit stop, but interesting nonetheless! The huge skull shaped rock is intriguing and definitely worth checking out. We managed to climb on up into the eye sockets to snap some photos.

We also did a little exploring and found some cool caves to crawl in and out of.

Desert Art Museum

This was one of the most underrated locations we visited – we actually had no intention of going at all initially!

The museum is essentially a big chunk of land with various junk and trash organized in intricate ways. It was first of all, random, and second of all, an artist’s sanctuary. Our group enjoyed the unique creations and came out with some awesome images.

Trip Expectations Vs Reality

Honestly, we had a tremendous amount of fun and created more content then we all knew what to do with. Between 4 photographers, it was easy to get carried away with the endless art. I think my expectations were highly exceeded by the raw aesthetic enraptured my Joshua Tree. If you are someone who enjoys photography, stars, science, nature, and beauty – go visit!

If you enjoyed the edits on these photos, download Adobe Lightroom. Check back soon to download my exclusive presets to use on all your amazing images!

By, Delaney Lawrence