Where to Stay Near Joshua Tree National Park: Rimrock Ranch
I stumbled upon Rimrock Ranch of Pioneertown, CA a couple times while browsing Pinterest so it was on my checklist for our California vacay from day 1. Joshua Tree National Park is a common destination for hikers, campers and people looking for an outdoor-sy Palm Springs day trip. However, staying nearby is key to being able to get an early morning start to beat the heat while you’re in the park. Instead of the common bed and breakfast, we decided to stay somewhere a little more rustic, a little less expensive and a little more unique in order to really enjoy the panoramic views and stunning landscapes of the California high desert. Rimrock Ranch fits the bill. It’s a beautiful property in the middle of nowhere…and that’s no exaggeration. Make sure you have enough gas because once you turn off Twentynine Palms Highway in Yucca Valley and head into the hills, you’ll travel another 5 miles into the vast desert over winding pavement that eventually turns into dirt road.
Rimrock Ranch may be secluded but it’s surrounded by the most beautiful desert wilderness. Rock formations and Yucca trees similar to what you would find in Joshua Tree National Park are scattered around the property in every direction. On site is an above-ground pool perfect for a quick dip, an observation deck and a campfire pit. The ranch itself sits on roughly 11 acres, making it a very popular destination for boho and Coachella-themed weddings. Google "Rimrock Ranch weddings" and you'll see the dreamy backdrop this area of California provides. Throughout the grounds are an eclectic mix of sculptures, woodworking pieces, and vintage odds and ends that blend perfectly with the landscape and desert sand.
Stay in a comfy desert cabin
There are multiple lodging options including original 1940’s Rimrock Ranch cabins (the land was built up in 1946 when Western films were constantly filmed in the area), a larger lodge, an architecturally stunning modern hatch house and even an airstream camper. We chose one of the smaller cabins which was equipped with a full bathroom, air conditioning (much needed for that late-July heat) and just enough of a Western theme to be fun but not kitschy. Although I’ve camped countless times in my life, Rimrock is probably the closest I’ve been to “glamping”. You get all the amenities in a bare bones environment.
Hang out under the stars
We were the only ones staying on the grounds that evening and the quiet was amazing. We sat on the observation deck as the sun went down and were given the most amazing light show from the cloudless sky and the immense number of stars that can be seen in the desert. You may be in the middle of nowhere but to be so far from light pollution is really a treat. Can’t get that in Chicago! It was even my first time seeing the Milky Way! With owls hooting nearby and a beer in your hand, it’s a great way to get way to relax and prepare for a day of hiking ahead.
Grab a Hearty Breakfast
Frontier Café is the perfect stop to fill up with a delicious breakfast before you head out for hiking. This is definitely the BEST breakfast option in the area; you can grab oatmeal, parfaits and breakfast sandwiches and the classic egg sandwich is WONDERFUL. They also have specials everyday and play with fun flavors like strawberries and mint.
Experience the old west in Pioneertown in the evening
There’s something magical about being in the middle of the desert, especially when it allows you to happen upon an Old West town that is currently having it’s own cultural renaissance. Originally built in 1946 like much of the area, Pioneertown, CA is a quaint and legit peek into the Old West lifestyle. From a saloon to working post office, it’s definitely a cool place to stop. Learn more about Pioneertown HERE.