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Joshua Tree National Park

Monday, November 4, 2024 - Monday, November 11, 2024 -- $1700 ★

Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California features a desert landscape whose signature plant is the rare and beautiful Joshua Tree. The park boasts unique geological formations such as granite monoliths and rugged canyons. Barren but beautiful, it is a destination that particularly appeals to those who enjoy desert landscapes, rock scrambling and mild weather with little precipitation. The park features a variety of elusive wildlife including bighorn sheep, jackrabbits and coyotes. November is a great time to explore the arid and rocky Mojave desert because the oppressive summer heat is ostensibly gone and freezing night temperatures have not completely moved in yet.

Topographical Map of Proposed Route

See CalTopo map


Weather is always an important concern when backpacking. Expect warm, sometimes hot days of hiking. Historical weather averages 60s during the day, which is perfect for hiking, although we might also experience blazing heat during the day or freezing temperatures at night. Expect 40s at night although on the February 2009 trip, it did get down to the low 20s so be prepared for weather extremes.

Probable Trip Leaders

Rick Romine
Beau Devlin
Any Other Guide(s) TBD


Some of the trails will be rugged, much of them exposed to the sun all day. On some of the trails, there may be bouldering opportunities for you to climb up or down various rock formations or canyon walls. There are rocks to climb for every ability level or you may not want to climb any rocks at all ... no judgment. Note: You will have to navigate a 30 foot rock scramble downclimb during our hike in Smith Water Canyon which some find rugged and difficult.


$1700 per person double occupancy. You will be responsible for transportation to and from Palm Springs, CA (PSP) as well as personal equipment, any restaurant meals eaten off the trail and any gratuities for guides.

Covered expenses include 1 hotel night, 6 nights in a frontcountry campground, 6 days of trail meals, airport transfers, ground transportation to/from/within the National Park, park permits, park entrance fees and awesome guides.

Tipping: In order to keep our prices competitive with (and hopefully favorable to) other outfitters, we shamefully can’t pay our guides as much as we think they deserve. Like most other guiding services, we rely on the generosity of our participants to make up this shortfall by tipping the guides. While tips are not required or expected, if your guides have served you well, please consider a gratuity so they can continue living their extravagant lifestyles of eating powdered meals, sleeping in the dirt and pooping in smelly outhouses and small holes they've dug.


We will stay in a frontcountry campground all week.

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Guides for this trip
Important Note
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Monday, November 4, 2024

Fly or drive into Palm Springs, CA (PSP)

We will pick you at the airport and shuttle you to our local meeting place / hotel (TBD). Since people are flying in from all over the country, you may have to wait around an hour or so for other participants to arrive to minimize number of airport trips. You are welcome to cab or Uber to our local hotel if you'd prefer not to wait.

We will assemble at: TBD, To Be Determined

As you arrive, we will perform a a quick equipment shakedown. We expect to have done this online prior to the trip and will only be looking for obvious last minute omissions such as water containers, day pack, hiking shoes etc.

Make-your-own trail mix from our cornucopia of ingredients

At around 3PM, shuttle to campsite: Blackrock Campground, 9800 Black Rock Canyon Rd, Yucca Valley, CA 92284. Site(s): 002 & 003 Elevation: 4000'

Shuttling will take about 1 hours

Guides prepare dinner in camp. On some trips with longer shuttle times, we may opt to go out for an opening dinner at a local restaurant. (Cost of restaurant dinner not included in trip price)

Camp at Blackrock Campground, 9800 Black Rock Canyon Rd, Yucca Valley, CA 92284. Site(s): 002 & 003 Elevation: 4000'

Buy last minute and forgotten items at Nomad Ventures, Joshua Tree, 61795 29 Palms Highway, Joshua Tree, CA 92252, (760) 366-4684. This can be done "as needed" during the trip as well.

Tuesday, November 5, 2024

Drive to Joshua Tree National Park

Drive to the Boy Scout Trailhead

Begin hiking at the Boy Scout Trailhead, elevation 4050'

Hike 3.6 miles to Willow Hole, elevation 4170'

Hike 3.6 miles back to the vehicles, elevation 4050'

Mileage Today: 7.2. Total mileage: 7.2

Shuttle back to Black Rock campground, sites 002 & 003, elevation 4000''

Possible bailout: Boy Scout Trailhead

Wednesday, November 6, 2024

Drive to Joshua Tree National Park, Pleasant Valley Backcountry Board, elevation 3300'

Hike about 4.3 miles on the Fried Liver Wash Trail to the Hexahedron Mine, elevation 4300'

Hike about 4.3 miles back to the vehicles at the Pleasant Valley Backcountry Board, elevation 3300'

Mileage Today: 8.6. Total mileage: 15.8

Shuttle back to Black Rock campground, sites 002 & 003, elevation 4000''

Possible bailout: Pleasant Valley Backcountry Board

Thursday, November 7, 2024

Drive to Joshua Tree National Park, Juniper Flats Backcountry Board, elevation 4340'

Hike 3.7 miles on the California Riding and Hiking trail (CR&HT) to the Stubble Springs Loop trail, elevation 4700'

Hike 3.4 miles on the Stubble Springs trail to the Fan Canyon View, elevation 4900'

Hike 5.1 miles on the Stubble Springs trail and CR&HT to Juniper Flats, elevation 4340'

Mileage Today: 12.2. Total mileage: 28.0

Possible bailout: Juniper Flats

Shuttle back to Black Rock campground, sites 002 & 003, elevation 4000''

Friday, November 8, 2024

Drive to Joshua Tree National Park, Cottonwood Backcountry Board, elevation 3000'

Today we are hiking a reverse lollipop loop to Victory Palms

Hike 1.7 miles to Mastodon Peak, elevation 3285'

Hike 3.7 miles to Victory Palms, elevation 2680'

Hike 5.1 miles back to Cottonwood, elevation 3000'

Drive back to 29 Palms

Mileage Today: 10.5. Total mileage: 38.5

Shuttle back to Black Rock campground, sites 002 & 003, elevation 4000''

Possible bailout: Cottonwood

Saturday, November 9, 2024

Wake up an hour before dawn in anticipation of a long day that requires us to shuttle vehicles and take 2 trips into the park. Please be ready to go early.

Drive to Joshua Tree National Park at the head of Smith Water Canyon dropping one vehicle off at Uphill Rd, 29 Palms, trailhead elevation 4650'

Hike 3.9 miles down beautiful and ever-changing Smith Water Canyon to the Quail Springs Trail, elevation 3650'. Please note: There is a 30 foot downhill rock scramble that may unnerve you so please be mentally and physically prepared for it.

Hike 4.1 miles out of the park to Uphill Rd. in 29 Palms, elevation 3250'

Shuttle back to Smith Water Canyon to pick up vehicle

Mileage Today: 8.0. Total mileage: 46.5

Shuttle back to Black Rock campground, sites 002 & 003, elevation 4000''

Possible bailout: 29 Palms

Sunday, November 10, 2024

Drive to Joshua Tree National Park, Covington Backcountry Board, elevation 4820'

Hike 3.8 round-trip miles to Covington Crest, elevation 4890'

Take an aimless driving tour around the park, possibly stopping by Eureka Peak

Mileage Today: 3.8. Total mileage: 50.3

Possible bailout: Covington Crest

End of hiking

Shuttle back to Palm Springs

Shuttle back to local hotel: TBD, To Be Determined

Gather your off-trail items from storage

Dinner and awards ceremony at a local restaurant (Dinner cost not included in trip price)

Stay in our local hotel (included in trip cost)

This is the official end of the trip. You are welcome to spend the night at the hotel, however if you drove and would like to get on the road or if you flew and would like to schedule a late flight (or a red-eye if this is a West Coast trip) you can definitely do so.

Monday, November 11, 2024

We would like to get everyone to the airport in a timely manner and not have people sit around all day waiting for their flights. We expect to shuttle everyone early in the morning in one shuttle to make sure those leaving earliest can catch their flights. We may also have a 2nd shuttle which will depend greatly upon how many participants we have and when their flights are. As we get closer, we'll have a better idea of how to proceed.

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