13 Best Instagram Spots in Joshua TreeFrom 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 TreeThe North Entrance (Twentynine Palms) and the West Entrance (Joshua Tree town) are the most convenient for visiting many of the Joshua Tree National Park highlights. We have a full guide on where to stay in Joshua Tree, but here are our top 3 places to stay in Joshua Tree and are perfect for couples, small groups and families:
- M&L Desert Cottage: this beautiful 2 bedroom cottage is just 6 minutes drive from the north entrance to Joshua Tree. The cottage has been completely remodeled and is the definition of desert chic. The interior is gorgeous and there is a fire pit, BBQ and hammocks on the patio for stargazing and al fresco dining. – check prices now!
- Castle House Estate: with the accommodation options including guard towers, yurt tents, a tiny container house (the perfect chance to experience tiny home living!) and a vintage RV, Castle House Estate perfectly encompasses the unique Joshua Tree vibe. It’s the perfect mix of indoor and outdoor living and the accommodation is beautifully presented and incredibly unique. The hardest part is choosing which accommodation to reserve – check prices now!
- Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Twentynine Palms – clean and well equipped, the Fairfield Inn is one of our go to hotels when we’re exploring the park and want somewhere clean and quiet to rest up. The hotel has a small pool out back, free breakfast, laundry facilities and there’s a grocery store just across the road for supplies – check prices now!
1 | Heart RockA 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 RockHeart 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 RockIt 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 RockThe 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 RockRock 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 RockWith 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 RockIt’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 RockSkull Rock is located along Park Boulevard, one of the main roads which runs through Joshua Tree.
4 | World Famous Crochet MuseumThe 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 MuseumAnytime. The museum is open 24/7 although we prefer daylight hours for Instagram shots.
How to get to the World Famous Crochet MuseumThe World Famous Crochet Museum is located in a lot behind the Joshua Tree Salon in Joshua Tree town.
5 | The Joshua TreesThe 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 TreesThey’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 ViewThe 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 ViewKeys Views is incredible at both sunrise and sunset when the light is softer.
How to get to Keys ViewKeys View is a 20 minute drive from Park Boulevard. There is parking directly beside the path to the viewing area.
7 | The open roadSurrounded 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 | PioneertownOnce 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 PioneertownWeekdays are generally quieter in Pioneertown.
How to get to PioneertownPioneertown is a 20 minute drive from Joshua Tree town.
9 | Barker DamDuring 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 DamBarker Dam is especially pretty at sunset. The dam typically has water in winter and spring.
How to get to Barker DamBarker Dam is accessed via an easy 1.1mile loop close to the Hidden Valley campground.
10 | Noah Purifoy Desert Art MuseumThe 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 MuseumAnytime during the day. The museum is open from sun up to sun down.
How to get to the Noah Purifoy Desert Art MuseumThe 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 MuseumIn 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 MuseumThe 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 SaloonA 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 SaloonEarly 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 SaloonThe 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.