Joshua Tree Backpacking Trip
- Point to point thru-hike
- Amazing desert landscapes
- Wonderful winter trip
- Dramatic rock formations
- Desert wildlife
- Fascinating history & interp
Experience Joshua Tree like few do. Our 4-day Joshua Tree National Park Backpacking trip traverses the most stunning parts of the park. Starting in the famous Wonderland Of Rocks, we’ll hike through these surreal rock formations, and travel overland to the western edge of the park. On our final day, we’ll summit 5501-foot Eureka Peak to enjoy 360-degree views surrounding San Bernardino Mountains and the Coachella Valley before descending to our waiting vehicle.
Throughout the journey, we’ll enjoy delicious, guide-prepared meals and rest easy in secluded backcountry camping spots. Join us for the ultimate Joshua Tree backpacking adventure.
Trip Dates & Booking
You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.
We may be able to add new trip dates.
- Shuttle to Death Valley: 4 hours
- Hiking Mileage: 4.3 miles
- Elevation Gain: 1500 feet
- Elevation Loss: 280 feet
Our four-day trek into the backcountry of Joshua Tree National Park begins with a desolate drive deep into North America’s driest desert: the Mojave. Following your hotel pick up in Vegas, we’ll head south through a series of arid basins and abrupt ranges, bisecting Mojave National Preserve and getting our first elegant glimpses of Joshua tree groves as we proceed to our trailhead. After fueling up with a delectable lunch and readying our packs, we’ll embark on our hike.
Ascending through sprawling fields of creosote, Mojave yucca and other high desert shrubs, we’ll disappear into a canyon of towering boulders, winding our way into the infamous Wonderland of Rocks. Twisting and turning among the cretaceous plutons, at last we’ll end our day of ascent by setting up camp amidst the boulders and Joshua trees. We’ll soak in the desert sky and listen for the howls of coyotes as we fill our bellies and settle in for a good night of rest.
- Hiking Mileage: 8.5 miles
- Elevation Gain: 1100 feet
- Elevation Loss: 1500 feet
Today’s hike will delve us further into the heart of the park. After hot drinks and breakfast, we’ll break camp and set off along a series of crests and furrows yielding stunning views into the surrounding countryside. Descending from the maze of monzogranite formations, we’ll pause to refill our water supply and then disappear again into the remote wilds of the park.
Skirting our way along rolling foothills and slanted bajadas, we’ll descend gradually into a vast sea of Joshua trees. Just before the end of our day’s miles, we’ll stop to investigate a handful of evocative historical remnants dating back to the 1800’s. At last, we’ll sneak our way down a wash and into grassy quail territory to rest our weary legs for the evening, nestled in against the rocky outskirts of what will be tomorrow’s adventure.
- Hiking Mileage: 6 miles
- Elevation Gain: 1600 feet
- Elevation Loss: 150 feet
While shorter in miles, today’s terrain will put the challenge level on par with the previous day. We’ll fill up with a delicious breakfast before endeavoring up our charming backcountry canyon, littered with sandy washes, marbled slickrock chutes, riparian thickets and boulders galore. Emerging from the canyon, we’ll make our way to the next water cache and replenish our lifegiving stores in the midst of this xeric land.
We’ll then follow a series of trails and gradual washes, witnessing a welcome transition into a lush high elevation flat, where we’ll find ourselves surrounded by craggy knolls spotted with some of the largest Joshua trees in the park. This grassy expanse will host us for our third and final night as we eat well and rest up for our exciting day tomorrow.
- Hiking Mileage: 7.5 miles
- Elevation Gain: 1400 feet
- Elevation Loss: 2500 feet
- Shuttle to Las Vegas: 4 hours
Our final day brings with it a substantial amount of descent, but not before a heart-pounding summit of Eureka Peak. Right at the brink of the San Andreas Fault, we’ll follow a series of twists and turns before climbing to soak in panoramic views of Coachella Valley and the surrounding San Bernardino Mountains.
Descending steeply into the labyrinth of ravines that make up the Little San Bernardino Mountains, we’ll snake our way between canyon walls, over open slopes, and through pinyon-juniper woodlands, dropping at last down sandy gullies into Black Rock Canyon Campground. After a celebratory lunch at the trailhead, we’ll make the return drive to Las Vegas for a a well-deserved shower and bed.
Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes.
- Top-of-the-line tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and technical backpack
- Use of trekking poles
- All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
- A professional, knowledgeable, certified Joshua Tree backpacking guide
- Comprehensive, roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Las Vegas and back
- All necessary entrance fees and permits
- Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
- You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!
- Clothes, raingear, and footwear (Oboz hiking shoes and boots recommended)
- Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
- Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
- Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)
All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.
For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.
We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.
We provide all group gear which includes the following:
- Deuter or Osprey backpacks
- Sierra Designs, Kelty or Big Agnes tents
- Sierra Designs, Kelty, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware sleeping bags
- Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
- Leki or Black Diamond trekking poles
- Cooking stoves and cookware
- Company-issued first-aid kit
- Emergency communication device(s)
We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are three 1-liter water bottles per person and either a headlamp or flashlight per person. Basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.
Please refer to the trip packet for a recommended clothing list (we email you a detailed trip packet when you inquire and when you register). All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, and non-cotton and cotton clothing layers. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.
NOTE: See the Packing Lists page for more detailed information on what clothes and gear to bring on your hiking tour. The trip packet you receive when you contact us will have the most accurate clothing and gear list for the tour you're interested in.
Ready to hike? In the Dates section of this trip page, the green dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you're ready to register we'll email you a link to a registration profile. You'll have 72 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit ($100).
Feel free to call us for more info - we're here 7 days a week!
This trip originates in Las Vegas, Nevada. Your guide will be in contact approximately 10 days before the trip start date to coordinate the pre-trip orientation, which will be at 5:00 PM at a hotel in Las Vegas. Your guide will then pick you up at your hotel the next morning for transport to the trailhead. For Private Death Valley Tours your guide will meet you at your hotel in Las Vegas at an agreed upon time.
Your guide will inform you of the first day's pick-up time at the orientation meeting. Generally, you can expect it to be between 5 and 8 am, although the exact time will depend on current weather and road conditions. We will drop you off at your hotel on the final day normally before 5 PM (this time is not guaranteed, as a variety of circumstances can influence our exact return time).
Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT's, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. We've developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and most tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.
Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with a solid guiding background, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.
Guides are required to take 8 hours off each 24-hour period to sleep, recuperate, take personal/down time...etc. In addition, as part of the 8 hours off they must sleep/rest or be in their tents/rooms uninterrupted for a minimum of 5 hours each night. We ask guests to respect these requirements and to not interrupt guides' off time and sleep time unless there is a true emergency.
The standard group size on our Joshua Tree trips is 6 guests and 1 guide, with a maximum of 10 guests and 2 guides. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) and we'll answer all your questions.
Age restrictions are as follows:
- 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
- 5 and older to join private tours, with final approval and specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis
Joshua Tree National Park is a desert environment, and an exceptional winter destination. See below for average summer temperatures in Joshua Tree:
|Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)|
Camping on Backpacking Trips
Sleeping on backpacking trips is in premier 1-person, 2-person or 4-person backcountry tents. Solo travelers, and anyone else who requests it, are issued single tents. Top-of-the-line self-inflating sleeping pads and sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided.
Fresh & Delicious
Meals from breakfast Day 1 through lunch the last day are fully included and prepared by your guide. We never use dehydrated backpacking meals, instead serving freshly prepared, delicious backcountry cuisine made with a variety of common and specialty ingredients that travel well in the wilderness.
In the Action
Of course campsites vary tremendously by destination, trip and even by the individual day of a trip. However, you can expect to camp in beautiful areas that put you right in the action to make the most of your backpacking adventure. We carefully design our itineraries with campsites in mind.