Joshua Tree Basecamp Tour

Las Vegas, NV
5.0 (24 reviews)

Trip Highlights

  • Fantastic Winter Hiking
  • Surreal Monzogranite Formations
  • Sweeping Vistas
  • The Paranormal Wonderland of Rocks
  • Wonderful, Secluded Camp
  • Amazing Desert Oasis
  • Desert Wildlife Including Possible Big Horn Sheep
  • Fascinating Natural & Cultural History

Description

For those who have spent significant time in Joshua Tree National Park, adjectives like “magical”, “enchanting”, “otherworldly”, and “spectacular” are commonly used to describe the area. Without a doubt Joshua Tree is home to some of the most serene and surreal landscapes in the American West. Billion-year-old monzogranite intrusions bloom above the surrounding desert, and expansive Joshua Tree “forests” blanket broad valleys. In the mornings and evenings, it feels more like a savannah than a desert, with the bizarre looking Joshua Trees (a member of the Yucca family) framing the horizon at the very edge of the Mojave desert.

By visiting Joshua Tree in the wonderful winter months, we’ll enjoy relative seclusion and calm in what is quickly becoming one of America’s top national parks. We’ll maximize our time with fulfilling hikes by day to a variety of Joshua Tree must-see features like desert oases and soaring desert summits. In the evenings we’ll feast on outdoor dinners and relax around well-stoked campfires at our basecamp in the heart of Joshua Tree National Park.


NEED TO KNOW: WINTER TRIPS

If you want to get out hiking this winter, Joshua Tree is a great place to do it! Winter temperatures in the Mojave Desert are wonderful for hiking and enjoying being outdoors and surrounded by vast wilderness. Joshua Tree is one of our top recommended winter hiking destinations at Wildland.

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From
$1490 Per Person
Return Guests get a 10% discount on all Trips!
Trip Type: Basecamp Tour
Difficulty Level:
Solitude Level:
Group Size: 4-10 Guests
Trip Length: 4 Days
Distance: 21+MI / 34+KM

DIFFICULTY LEVEL 2

Scale of 1-5. 1 is least difficult; 5 is most difficult

SUMMARY OF DIFFICULTY
This trip has mostly moderate hiking distances and elevation gains/losses. Because it’s a basecamp tour, our packs are very light. The terrain is mostly well maintained trails with some areas of moderate ruggedness and light exposure.

Hiking Distances:

4-10 mi

Backpack Weight:

8-12 lbs

Terrain:

Moderately Rugged

Max Daily Elev. ↑↓:

1200 ft

Heights Exposure:

Light

Please Note: Terrain, Elevation Gain and Heights Exposure ratings reflect the section or day of the trip with the maximum difficulty of each. Much of the trip is at easier levels. See the trip itinerary for more detailed information.

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS

  • Hiking uphill or downhill with a 8-12 lb backpack for 5-7 hours
  • Maintaining balance and footing on moderately rugged terrain

SOLITUDE LEVEL 3

1 least solitude, 5 most solitude

We rate this Joshua Tree tour a solitude 2. You can expect as much as an hour of solitude at a time.

TRAVEL TO LAS VEGAS

Las Vegas’ McCarran Airport is one of the most easily accessed destinations in the country. Many major cities in the United States and internationally offer direct flights into Las Vegas. A company named Airline Shuttle (1-888-554-1156) can help you with economic transport to most hotels. Taxi cabs run about $40 to downtown, and the city is also Uber- and Lyft-friendly.

This trip can also originate in Joshua Tree National Park, in which case you will meet your guide and group on the morning of Day 1. Your guide will coordinate the rendezvous with you when they contact you approximately 10 days prior to your trip.

UTAH SALES TAX

Utah is the only state we are based in that charges sales tax to outfitters and guides (this trip leaves from our Utah base of operations, so Utah laws apply). The sales tax is based on the St. George, UT municipality rates, which are adjusted occasionally but are in the 6-7% range. For all of our hiking and backpacking tours that originate from our St. George, Utah base (Utah trips and Death Valley trips), the sales tax will be applied automatically to your payments. Feel free to call us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) with any questions!

Private Trips

Travel in perfect company by booking a private trip exclusively for your group!

Our sliding scale for private trips is based on the final number of guests in your group. Rates are per person and do not include sales tax, national park fees or guide gratuity. The final rate is based on the actual number of guests on the trip and may adjust based on cancellations or additions.

Please Note: you can also enjoy a private trip at our normal scheduled rates by filling any empty tour to capacity. However, if group members drop from the tour those spots will automatically become available on our website for instant booking. By purchasing a private trip at the rates listed below, your trip will remain exclusive to your group regardless of cancellations. 

Private Rates FOr This Trip

  • 2 People: Rate x 2.5
  • 3 People: Rate x 1.75
  • 4-5 People: Rate x 1.5
  • 6-8 People: Rate x 1.25
  • 9-12 People: Rate x 1.15

*all rates are per person

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ITINERARY

ITINERARY

Day 1

  • Shuttle from Las Vegas: 4-hour drive
  • Hiking Mileage: 3 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1,000 feet

Our four-day Joshua Tree Basecamp Tour begins with your morning hotel pickup in Las Vegas. Leaving the bustle of the city behind, we’ll soon find ourselves on a scenic drive through sparsely populated desert expanses, including Mojave National Preserve where we’ll get our first enigmatic taste of Joshua tree groves. We’ll stop at the historic Kelso Depot Visitors Center to stretch our legs and then continue south past the Kelso Sand Dunes, skirting a teaser of iconic granite monoliths, Amboy Crater, and bisecting gypsum-laden, dry Bristol Lake before arriving in the military town of Twentynine Palms.

After a rendezvous with additional members of our group at the park’s Oasis Visitor Center, we’ll drive into the heart of the park to reach Sheep Pass Campground. Nestled into the surrounding rock formations, this will be our basecamp home for the coming days. We’ll enjoy a delectable lunch together before hiking right from our campground to summit Ryan Mountain. At first wrapping our way around its base, we’ll then ascend as piles of boulders shrink below us, becoming like distant drip sand castles. The stunning 360-degree summit vista is reminiscent of something Salvador Dali might have painted – granite rock piles seem to melt into the surrounding plateau while otherworldly Joshua trees spread out in the broad valley bottoms, forking and sprouting at odd angles. Having let our first hike, we’ll descend victoriously back to camp and enjoy a celebratory dinner and campfire before tucking ourselves in beneath the Milky Way.

With the setting sun comes the stirring of much desert nightlife. Keep your eyes peeled for the scampering of a kangaroo rat gathering food or a jackrabbit bounding into the brush as you slumber off to the soulful hoots of a great-horned owl.

Day 2

  • Drive Time: 2 hours
  • Hiking Mileage: 8 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1,000 feet

Today we’ll rise with the sun to share in a wonderful outdoor breakfast and hot coffee or tea. Our first stop will be at the charmingly unique Teddy Bear Cholla Garden, where we’ll stroll among a family of deceptively inviting cacti. Dropping down through an ecological transition zone where the lower Colorado Sonoran Desert meets the Mojave, we’ll make our way to our main hike for the day: The Lost Palms Oasis.

Sustained by water seeping up through fault lines, five oases can be found within Joshua Tree National Park. Today we’ll visit two! Beginning at Cottonwood Spring Oasis, former home to the Cahuilla Indians, we’ll meander our way over arroyos dotted with ocotillo and through sandy smoketree washes to reach at last the largest group of California Fan Palms in the park. After a delicious lunch in this remote desert oasis, we’ll wind our way back to the trailhead, soaking in views to the south of California’s largest lake, the Salton Sea.

While options for stops on our return to camp are numerous, we’ll likely embark on a pleasant walk and/or scramble to Arch Rock, a monzonite granite natural arch set amidst a playground of jumbo boulders. Back in camp, we’ll enjoy a toasty campfire and a delectable dinner before turning in for the night.

Day 3

  • Drive Time: 30 minutes
  • Hiking Mileage: 6-8 miles
  • Elevation Change: 400-500 feet

Perhaps already awakened by a dawn song of coyotes, you may decide to indulge yourself in rising just before breakfast today. Soaking in the sight of Joshua trees silhouetted against the break of day, or climbing to the top of one of the monoliths surrounding camp to greet the morning is an experience you’ll not soon forget.

Our first hike today will loop us through Barker Dam. This valley is rich with petroglyphs, bouldering problems and tall tales from the days of gold mining and cattlemen, as well as lush with plant life thanks to the precious reservoir of water.

We’ll then embark on a journey into another portion of the famed Wonderland of Rocks: The Maze. This trail will weave us through a jungle of spires, granite monoliths and delusionary rock formations, opening up to tantalize us with breathtaking views of the National Park. Returning back to camp, we’ll enjoy one last evening of fine dining, good company, and a campfire beneath the desert sky.

Day 4

  • Drive Time: 1 hour
  • Hiking Mileage: 2-5 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 600 feet
  • Shuttle to Las Vegas: 3 hours

Upon filling our bellies with another tasty spread of breakfast and hot drinks, we’ll break down camp and head off for one last day of exploration.

We’ll begin our excursion in Hidden Valley, a favorite destination for climbers and hikers alike. Long valued for its diverse flora and protection from the elements, this microcosm is a historically significant ecological haven. We’ll then make our way into a new portion of the park where, conditions permitting, we’ll scramble through one or more of Indian Cove’s finest remote hollows.

After soaking in the astounding landscape and enjoying one last scrumptious lunch together, we’ll bid farewell to any of our group members departing directly from the Park. We’ll then embark on the scenic drive back to Las Vegas and return you to your hotel for an evening of relaxation and much-deserved showers.

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. Normal terms and conditions apply to trips with itinerary changes.

Trip Dates & Booking

TRIP DATES & BOOKING

Click on a date to register. You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.

Available to Book

AVAILABLE TO BOOK

This trip is available and bookable online! Click on the date to register now or contact us online to book through our award-winning customer service team!

Going Fast

GOING FAST

This trip has 1 or 2 spots remaining and is bookable online! Click on the date to book now or contact us online to book through customer service.

Request a Reservation

REQUEST A RESERVATION

This trip is exclusively booked through customer service due to logistics with lodging, permits, staffing, availability, or something else. Please contact us online or call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to request a reservation.

Don't see your dates? Call us! We may be able to add new trip dates.

800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Details

Trip Details

What's Included

  • Top-of-the-line tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and daypack
  • Use of trekking poles
  • All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • Trained hiking guide(s) with years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. See Guide Bios.
  • Roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Las Vegas, NV to Joshua Tree and back (can also meet in Joshua Tree at the Oasis Visitor Center)
  • Entrance fees and national park permits (entrance fees are not covered if you choose to meet the group at the Oasis Visitor Center)
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and communication device (InReach Explorer or satellite phone)
  • A Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and dependents to a discount of 10% off any Wildland hiking trip after your first one (must book directly with us to receive the discount)!

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear (see recommendations)
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about what to pack.

Meals: What To Expect

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 outdoors – 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.

Gear We Provide

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 trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Emergency communication device(s)

Guest Packing List

When you register for this tour you’ll receive access to a printable, downloadable trip information packet with a detailed packing list specific to this trip (click here to see it now.) All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, a recommended clothing system, a headlamp or flashlight, a hydration system (water bottles and/or bladder) and other items specific to each trip.

Additionally, some guests choose to bring their own sleeping bag. We supply high quality, synthetic fill bags that are professionally laundered after every trip. Synthetic fill is non-allergenic, insulates when damp and stands up well to repeated washings, but is heavier and bulkier than down. If you’re able to bring your own down sleeping bag, there are multiple benefits. If not, we’ve got you covered!

Trip Logistics

Trip Logistics

How do I Register?

Reserve your spot today! In the Trip Dates & Booking section of this page, the green and red 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.

Feel free to call us for more info – we’re here 7 days a week!

Where Do We Meet?

You’ll meet your hiking guide and group in Las Vegas, Nevada the morning the trip begins. Your guide will be in contact approximately 2 weeks before your trip to coordinate pick-up. You can also meet us in Joshua Tree on the morning of Day 1 at the Oasis Visitor Center.

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about flights, shuttles, recommended lodging and more.

Start/End Times

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 6 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 no later than 7 PM.

Safety Precautions

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. Guides adhere to standardized risk management protocols in case of any potential or actual incident, and all tours carry an emergency communication device and comprehensive first-aid kit. Additionally we have a “24/7” system through which guides or guests can reach Wildland support personnel at any time.

If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.

Guide Working Parameters

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.

Age Restrictions

Age restrictions on this trip 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

Weather in Joshua Tree

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)

MonthHighLow
November69°41°
December60°35°
January62°37°
February64°39°
March71°
42°

Accommodations

Accommodations

Premier Campgrounds

3 NIGHTS

On our basecamp tours we hand pick wonderful campgrounds that put us right in the action for exceptional hiking and camping vacations. They may be national park, state park, or private vehicle-accessible campgrounds. They may vary by trip date depending on availability and seasonality.

Fantastic Meals

11 MEALS

Basecamp trips include meals for the duration of the tours beginning with breakfast the first day through lunch the final day. Meals are prepared by your guide(s) using fresh ingredients, exclusive Wildland recipes, and we adhere to all department of health outdoor cooking codes.

Comfortable Camping

CAMPING AMENITIES

What amenities do basecamp tours include? Cold and hot drinks, campfires (where/when allowed), camp chairs, access to showers, fresh food, roomy tents, comfortable sleeping pads, comfy sleeping bags, camp pillows and more! Camp comfortably, eat like royalty, and hike til your heart’s content!

Trip Reviews

Trip Reviews

  • Average Customer Ratings:

  • 5.0 (24 reviews)
Elizabeth B
5.0

I can see why people return over and over again.

5 months ago

This trip exceeded all the expectations I had!! Marlo was a fantastic, knowledgable, open guide. She was great at providing, history, education and fun. She was a flexible strategist: we went over the plans and options and flexed when necessary. She made sure our days were a balance of activity and rest. She was constantly assessing and checking in making sure everyone was doing alright and having fun. The food was really good! I am dairy free and primarily paleo- and this was no big deal. She was so detail oriented packing interesting, flavorful, protein packed meals. It was really great, and I am so appreciative. I will use wildland again, I can see why people return over and over again.

Constance T
5.0

Incredible Experience

5 months ago

The Joshua Tree Basecamp tour was an incredible experience- our guide, Jessie, had a ton of knowledge of the park and was very engaging! We were able to hike lesser-known trails and experience much more unique aspects of the area, including cacti in bloom and a desert tortoise! Overall a wonderful hiking experience in a beautiful desert setting.

Judy B
5.0

Wonderful Experience

6 months ago

The breathtaking beauty of the blooms in the spring desert was overshadowed by the skills and pure joy of our guide and the camaraderie that developed with my hiking buddies. A great measure of my life is experiences and this one is way up there!

See All Guest Reviews!

Go to our reviews page

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