• Activities:

    Chillin, Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking, Rock Climbing

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Spring, Autumn, Winter

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    2 Miles

Easy Parking
Romantic
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Backcountry camping in Joshua Tree National Park is a great way to get out and experience the serenity of the desert.

Backcountry camping can be done at various locations throughout the park (13 different locations). Upon arrival to the park, you will be given a map and can backcountry camp from any of the locations marked with a "B".

At these locations you will find a backcountry registration board. It's extremely important that you fill out a registration card at one of these boards with information about your group, destination, and car. Registration/camping is free in the backcountry and a vehicle without registration is cause for concern so don't forget to do it!

You will need to hike at least 1 mile from the road and 500 feet from any trails or water sources before setting up your camp.

Once you hike in a sufficient distance, set up your tent and explore the area! It's extremely easy to get lost in the desert so make sure you take note of landmarks and use a compass along the hike to your campsite.

A personal favorite for backcountry camping is from the Twin Tanks backcountry registration board. From here you can follow the California Riding and Hiking Trail Southwest and then go off the trail either South or West.

Pack List

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Water (bring at least 4 liters per person per day)
  • Food (bring more than enough)
  • Warm clothing (the temperature drops quite a bit at night)
  • Camera
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Compass
  • Map
  • Trash bag (pack everything out)
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Reviews

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I backcountry camped off the Boy Scout Trail and it was awesome! There were hardly any people around and the desert was quiet and peaceful as far as the eye could see. Since we got to choose exactly where we wanted to camp, it was my preferred way of camping compared to crowded campgrounds. We enjoyed the morning in the privacy of our camp.

4 months ago
4 months ago

Lauren Schusterman Explorer

Law student at the University of Michigan. Born and raised in Boulder, CO. In love with the outdoors and all it has to offer.

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