13 Best Instagram Spots in Joshua Tree
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From the stunning desert landscape of the Joshua Tree National Park to the quirky and kitschy vibes in the town, there are some amazing Instagram spots in Joshua Tree.
Having fallen in love with Joshua Tree during our many California trips, we’ve put together this list of the 13 most Instagrammable places in Joshua Tree. We hope you have as much fun exploring as we did!
13 Best Instagram Spots in Joshua Tree
From the unique rock formations and namesake Joshua Trees in the park to the weird and wonderful art installations and wild west vibes in the surrounding area, these are our 13 most Instagrammable locations in Joshua Tree.
Where to Stay in Joshua Tree
There are a vast number of options for places to stay in Joshua Tree, ranging from basic hotels to luxurious Airbnb’s. SO choosing where to stay can be difficult. We highly recommend staying in the area known as TwentyNine Palms. It is right beside the quieter North entrance to Joshua Tree National Park and a shorter drive to most of the main sights in the park when compared to the West Entrance.
Joshua Tree National Park tip: If you’re planning to spend a few days exploring the park it’s worth staying as close to the park entrance as possible. This allows you to visit multiple times a day and to relax in your hotel during the hottest part of the day.
- Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Twentynine Palms – We chose to stay at the Fairfield Inn & Suites and it was a perfect option a comfortable stay and for exploring the park. The hotel also has a small pool out back and theres a handy grocery store just across the road for supplies – check prices now!
- Holiday Inn Express & Suites Twentynine Palms – The Holiday Inn Express is just down the road closer to the Joshua Tree Park entrance and another great option as a base for exploring the park – check prices now!
1 | Heart Rock
A little off the regular park trails, Heart Rock is a hidden gem and one of the best Instagram spots in Joshua Tree! The perfectly heart shaped rock is our favorite spot in the park and makes for great photos.
Best time to photograph Heart Rock
Heart Rock is best photographed from the east side as the heart shape is more pronounced. This side is also clear of surrounding rocks making for a great shot.
For people shots, the best light is after sunrise although it does take the sun a little longer to rise over the mountains and hit the rock.
The best shots of Heart Rock itself are sunset when the softer late evening light illuminates the rock.
How to get to Heart Rock
It took us two attempts to successfully locate Heart Rock. Although it is not far from Arch Rock there is no distinct trail and we came across a few other hikers also on the search for the rock. We’ve written a detailed guide on how to get to Heart Rock which you can use if you’re planning on hiking to it during your trip to Joshua Tree – click here to discover how to get to Heart Rock!
Best Instagram spots in Joshua Tree tip: As there is no marked trail to Heart Rock you’ll likely find yourself scrambling over flat boulders and navigating around cactus plants as you cross the desert. I can’t stress how important it is to beware of the cactus! The Joshua Tree cacti tend to leap out at hikers who even glance past their needles. It’s easy to avoid them but it’s also easy to forget they are there – Dave had an unlucky encounter with a cactus and ended up having to extract a huge cactus needle from his thigh while I provided moral support!
2 | Arch Rock
The 30 foot granite arch sits in the middle of a large boulder field. The flat hike is fun and, towards the end, involves some scrambling over rocks to get to the Arch. The hike to Arch and Heart Rocks are one of our favorite things to do in Joshua Tree National Park!
How to get to Arch Rock
Rock is accessed via a 1.2 mile flat out and back hike from the Twin Tanks/Arch Rock parking lot. You will need to scramble over some rocks towards the end of the trail.
Best Instagram spots in Joshua Tree tip: Arch Rock is located in the same area of the park as Heart Rock so we recommend combining a hike to Arch Rock with a detour to Heart Rock. For more on Arch Rock, check out our guide to the Arch Rock trail!
3 | Skull Rock
With its two sunken eyes and skull shaped rock, the aptly named Skull Rock sits just off the main Joshua Tree road.
Best time to photograph Skull Rock
It’s rather challenging to capture an Instagram worthy photo at Skull Rock as it tends to be crowded for most of the day and there are shadows during the typically quieter sunrise hours. We managed to grab some shots after a sunrise hike when we had the rock to ourselves for about 10 minutes
How to get to Skull Rock
Skull Rock is located along Park Boulevard, one of the main roads which runs through Joshua Tree.
4 | World Famous Crochet Museum
The self titled World Famous Crochet Museum is another Joshua Tree gem! Once a photo stand, the booth has been transformed into an eclectic collection of crocheted unicorns, dogs, teapots and superheroes to name a few!
Visiting is so much fun and it’s hard not to feel happy surrounded by colourful and cute crocheted delights! Both the crochet collection inside and the lime green photo booth exterior are Instagram hits.
The World Famous Crochet Museum is one of our favorite things to do near Joshua Tree!
Best time to photograph the World Famous Crochet Museum
Anytime. The museum is open 24/7 although we prefer daylight hours for Instagram shots.
How to get to the World Famous Crochet Museum
The World Famous Crochet Museum is located in a lot behind the Joshua Tree Salon in Joshua Tree town.
5 | The Joshua Trees
The twisted, spiky Joshua Trees are the park’s namesake and the towering trees make for an iconic photo opportunity.
How to get to the Joshua Trees
They’re everywhere! There are hundreds of Joshua Trees dotted along the main roads in the west of the park and there are lots of pull ins to park safely. Each Joshua Tree is unique so it’s just a matter of finding one you like to photograph.
6 | Keys View
The views are incredible from the highest point in Joshua Tree. On a clear day you can see the Coachella Valley, the San Andreas Fault, the Salton Sea and the San Gorgonio Mountain. When the air quality allows, the views even stretch as far as Signal Mountain in Mexico!
Keys View is great for landscape photos. If you happen to be there at a quiet time you can get some great Instagram shots from the viewing area.
Best time to photograph Keys View
Keys Views is incredible at both sunrise and sunset when the light is softer.
How to get to Keys View
Keys View is a 20 minute drive from Park Boulevard. There is parking directly beside the path to the viewing area.
7 | The open road
Surrounded by Joshua Trees and cacti, the wide-open roads which cut through Joshua Tree capture the spirit of the park perfectly.
Best Instagram spots in Joshua Tree tip: Remember, SAFETY FIRST ALWAYS! We grabbed a few photos at 6am in the middle of winter on a stretch of road where we could see approaching traffic far in the distance and had a safe place to park up off the road. No one actually drove past because … 6am and winter…! There is zero chance of the road being quiet at any other time of the day and taking photos on the road would be a really, really silly idea!
8 | Pioneertown
Once a 1940s Hollywood film set, the wild west facade of Pioneertown is one of the most Instagrammable places near Joshua tree. Take a stroll down Mane Street, the town’s main street, and take your pick of photo spots! Make sure to stop by Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace next door.
Best Instagram spots in Joshua Tree tip: Pioneertown is home to small, independent businesses. We always try and support local businesses by spending some time and money rather than just using them as a photo shoot location.
Best time to photograph Pioneertown
Weekdays are generally quieter in Pioneertown.
How to get to Pioneertown
Pioneertown is a 20 minute drive from Joshua Tree town.
9 | Barker Dam
During Spring and Winter, when there is water in the dam, Barker Dam is an amazing Instagram spot in Joshua Tree. It’s surprising to see a body of water in the middle of Joshua Tree’s barren desert landscape! When the dam is full, there are some great reflections that are stunning against the dusty desert backdrop.
Best Instagram spots in Joshua Tree tip: the dam is typically empty during dry season.
Best time to photograph Barker Dam
Barker Dam is especially pretty at sunset. The dam typically has water in winter and spring.
How to get to Barker Dam
Barker Dam is accessed via an easy 1.1mile loop close to the Hidden Valley campground.
10 | Noah Purifoy Desert Art Museum
The Noah Purifoy Desert Art Museum showcases works by Noah S Purifoy, a visual arts and sculptor, who lived in the Joshua Tree area. The open air museum contains over 100 pieces of unique and quirky art installations most of which are comprised of discarded items like toilets, television sets and bicycles.
It’s fun, eclectic, makes for great photos and the art conveys some important messages. What more could you ask for?!
Best time to photograph the Noah Purifoy Desert Art Museum
Anytime during the day. The museum is open from sun up to sun down.
How to get to the Noah Purifoy Desert Art Museum
The Noah Purifoy Desert Art Museum is a 20-minute drive from Joshua Tree town. It’s only 6 miles but there are some dirt roads to navigate as you approach the museum so it takes a little longer to get there.
10 | Beauty Bubble Salon and Museum
In case you haven’t realised, the town of Joshua Tree is so much fun and the Beauty Bubble Salon and Museum is a vintage dream. Pastel colours are abundant and there’s a strange and wonderful assortment of vintage beauty tools. It’s also a working salon and everything is retro and fabulous!
How to get to the Beauty Bubble Salon and Museum
The Beauty Bubble Salon and Museum is located in a lot behind the Joshua Tree Salon in Joshua Tree town. It is in front of the World Famous Crochet Museum.
12 | Joshua Tree Saloon
A local Joshua Tree watering hole, the Joshua Tree Saloon is an old school western style saloon.
It’s dark and rustic interior and kitschy yard is a perfect backdrop for an Instagram shot. The Joshua Tree Saloon also serves cold beer and great food and is so much fun to visit!
Best time to photograph the Joshua Tree Saloon
Early in the day. The Joshua Tree Saloon opens at 11am. It is loud and busy (and a lot of fun!) and there can be long waits as the day progresses.
How to get to the Joshua Tree Saloon
The Joshusa Tree Salon is on the main street in Joshua Tree town.
13 | Cholla Cactus Garden
Our trip through Joshua Tree ignited my love for cactus! The Cholla Cactus Garden is an extremely Instagrammable boardwalk trail whichl passes through thousands of cholla cactus.
Best time to photograph the Cholla Cactus Garden
The Cholla Cactus Garden is stunning in the sunset glow.
How to get to Cholla Cactus Garden
The Choclla Cactus Garden is located in the middle of the park and is quite a drive from the rest of the park’s sights. It is located on the Pinto Basin Road.
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