Adventures / Wild Hikes

Hiking Adventure in Joshua Tree National Park

Hike, explore and stargaze among the Southwest’s most iconic flora

This trip is no longer on sale

Trip Ref #10183

Adventures / Wild Hikes

Hiking Adventure in Joshua Tree National Park

Hike, explore and stargaze among the Southwest’s most iconic flora

DURATION

3 nights

LOCATION

USA

ANNUAL LEAVE

2 days off work

SEASON

Mar-May, Sep-Oct

GROUP SIZE

Up to 10 people

MEETING POINT

Los Angeles International Airport

ACCOMMODATION

Campsite

DIFFICULTY

Moderate

There are some challenging hikes but with little elevation gain anyone with reasonable fitness can enjoy this trip

Learn about the unique ecosystem of the California Desert in the Joshua Tree National Park as you hike through it's iconic rugged rock formations, stark desert landscapes and signature twisted trees.

Spend hours marvelling at the clear desert night sky - an oasis for stargazing.

Take in the highlights including spectaular views from the summit of Mount Ryan, and the eight-mile Boy Scout Trail into the boulderstrewn Wonderland of Rocks.

All our reviews are verified

We only invite travellers to leave a review if they have booked this trip with Much Better Adventures.

Maarten, August 2021

The national parks are beautiful and our guides Megan and Alex were great! We had a chance to see a ton of wildlife, including wolves, bears, bison and more. The evenings at the campsite were very nice with campfires and some games. We would highly recommend this trip.

Included

Guides

Expert, medically-trained naturalist guides with wilderness first responder training

Accommodation

3 nights camping inside the Joshua Tree National Park

Meals

Delicious fresh food included throughout

Transfers

To and from the airport and everything in-between

Equipment

We'll provide all the group equipment you need for your camping including tents, sleeping mats and cooking items

Permits

All your National Park entry fees and permits

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Tips for your guides

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Los Angeles International Airport

12pm on Day 1

Ends

Los Angeles International Airport

14:00 on Day 4

Transfers

Your host will meet you at LAX Airport at 12pm on Day 1 so please ensure your flight arrives in advance of this. The drive to the park takes around 2.5 hours.

At the end of your trip, your host will drop you back at LAX at around 14:00 for your onwards travel home. We recommend booking any flight departing 16:00 onwards.

Travel options

There are direct flights to Los Angeles International Airport from major cities in the US and Europe.

Day 1

Campsite · Twin tent

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2 – Day 3

Campsite · Twin tent

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 4

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Breakfasts and dinners will be prepared at camp by your expert guides. Breakfasts may include foods such as oatmeal, eggs, toast, pancakes, and bacon. Dinners are hearty and include a rice or grain, fresh vegetables, and a protein. Lunches will be sandwiches prepared each day with trail snacks such as nuts, bars, and fruit. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options are available but must be requested when booking.

What is the accommodation like?

Campsites

You will sleep in twin-share tents.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private tent can be requested. See Optional Extras for prices. Please request at the time of booking (this is subject to availability).

Day 1

Head to Joshua National Park

Hiking

1-2 hours · 2-3km

Your adventure begins in Los Angeles, where you'll meet your guide and fellow travelers. After a quick greeting, you'll load up and head out for a 2-3 hour drive to Joshua Tree National Park. There is time for a short walk to re-energise, before heading to your campsite to get set up. Tonight, you'll enjoy a camp cooked dinner and your first opportunity to see the legendary night skies.

Day 2

Ryan Mountain and the Lost Horse Mine

Hiking

4-5 hours · 12km · 500m up

After a delicious breakfast cooked over the fire, you'll head out on a morning hike to the summit of Ryan Mountain (5457m). The hike is short, but steep, and affords beautiful views around the park. From the summit you are rewarded with impressive panoramic views: the perfect spot to get top-down view of the heart of the park. After a hearty lunch back down from the mountain, a gentle hike through wild flowers takes you to Lost Horse Mine: one of the best-preserved mines under National Park protection. Tonight, relax under another stunning night sky while enjoying a mouthwatering group meal.

Day 3

Hit the Boy Scout Trail

Hiking

6-8 hours · 20-25km

A big hike awaits today! Leaving right from camp, you'll head out on the extraordinary Boy Scout Tree Trail: a showcase of the world’s best redwood scenery. The trail feels wonderfully remote and is one of the most pristine old-growth trails in existence. Depending on trail conditions and what you're up for, you may hike all the way out to Willow Hole or explore the Wonderland of Rocks. Along the way, as you hike along the remote trails, take in views of the otherworldly trees, blooming wildflower, and bizarre rock formations. A full day on the trail behind you, you'll enjoy one final group dinner and your last chance to stargaze before tomorrow's departure.

Day 4

Time to head home

After one last campfire breakfast feast, you'll pack up and say farewell to the desert. You'll have time for a few final photos and one last walk before heading back to Los Angeles.

15% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • All your camping equipment including tent, sleeping mat and cooking items.

What's available to hire?

  • Sleeping bag (see optional extras for prices)

What do I need to bring?

Bags

  • Daypack (20-45 litres)
  • Duffel bag (max 1 per guest)

Clothing

  • Hiking boots with sturdy soles
  • Light wool hiking socks, multiple pairs
  • Athletic shirts for hiking (synthetic and moisture wicking)
  • Long sleeve sun protection shirt (synthetic and moisture wicking)
  • Hiking pants or shorts
  • Long pant base layer for sleeping at night
  • Long top base layer for sleeping at night
  • Insulating layers for cool evenings (fleece jacket or vest, down jacket)
  • Hat
  • Casual clothes for camp
  • Camp shoes such as sandals or crocs

Sleeping

  • Sleeping bag (rated 40 degrees or lower). Also available to hire.
  • Cotton or silk sleeping bag liner (optional)

Other

  • Water bottles or Camelbak, 3L total minimum capacity
  • Headlamp
  • Small towel or facecloth
  • Toiletries and personal first aid
  • Sunscreen and insect repellant
  • Sunglasses
  • Personal mess kit (bowl, plate, mug, utensil/s)
  • Trekking Poles (Optional)
  • Camera
  • Book
  • Ear plugs

Sleeping Bag Hire

Payable Before Departure

Sleeping Bag Hire

Per Person

We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 72kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. The amount to tip is entirely at your discretion but there is an expectation to tip in the USA; your guides will rely on tips for a considerable portion of their income.

We suggest to budget for 10%-20% of the trip cost as a guideline.

Of course, you are free to tip more or less, and the amount should be reflective of your perception of service and quality - a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

Water will be bulk purchased in advance by the guides and stored in the van at camp. Refills are available but guests should bring their own bottles for storage (bottles should total at least 3L capacity per person).

Joshua Tree is an all-year park but temperatures are most comfortable in the spring and fall, with an average high and low of 85°F and 50°F. The Mojave Desert zone on the park’s western half is on average 11 degrees cooler than the Colorado.

Additional bags can be stored in the van, but must be limited to one duffel per person.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

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