Riverside County, California

Dispersed Camp at Old Dale Mining District

Originally added by James Horg

Camp just outside Joshua Tree National Park away from everybody, but still be close enough to spend the day inside the park exploring and climbing.

It can be a pain to try and camp in Joshua Tree. Most of the sites get reserved way in advance and if you are looking for privacy or a quiet area, it's not going to happen.  But you can camp outside the park on BLM land and there is a great place to do this, it's called Old Dale Mining district. Here's how to get there...

The easiest way is to take HWY 62 through the Yucca Valley/ Twentynine Palms area. This will also give you a chance to stop and grab any supplies you may need, including firewood, which you should always try to buy in the area you're going to be camping to limit the chances of introducing new pest to an area.

Once you're in Twentynine Palms you'll want to turn west onto Park Blvd. You'll find the Joshua Tree Visitor Center here on the right hand side of the road, stop grab some maps and souvenirs. Continue heading into the park, after about 25 miles Park Blvd will come to a T-intersection, you'll want to head west(Turn right) to go onto Pinto Basin Rd.

Take Pinto Basin Rd about 20 miles until you get to Old Dale Rd. Its a dirt road but it should show up on your GPS or Navigation system. There are two dirt roads here, make sure you take the left road. The other road is Black Eagle Mine and it is not where you are heading.  From this point on you will need a 4 wheel drive vehicle with some ground clearance, any stock SUV or Truck will be just fine.

Follow Old Dale Rd about 12 miles, at this point you'll be outside the park. You will know you're out of the park when you pass the Joshua Tree National Park sign(see photos). From this sign you can see the building that is painted with a CA state flag on one side and American flag on the other. This is an excellent spot to camp, even for a large group. There are countless areas along this road were you can camp and many have flat concrete areas from old mining buildings.  Pick a spot and enjoy the solitude you really can't go wrong.

When you leave you can head back into the park the way you came or take Old Dale Rd all the way out to HWY 62. You'll come out about 6 miles south of Twentynine Palms.  You can also come in from this way. Take HWY 62 to Old Dale Rd, from here its still about 12 miles to the JTree park sign. Remember that your driving on dirt roads so its going to take about 40mins to an hour to drive the 12 miles. There is some pretty rocky parts that can look intimidating but they are easily passable, just go slow over the rocks. 

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Rock Climbing
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