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What Makes Us Avoid Joshua Tree National Park in October

The Joshua Tree Music Festival can be a fun toe-tapping time if you’re into that kind of thing. 

However, if you’re looking to peacefully explore the nearby national park in the fall, you might be in for a surprise. The timing of your trip can make or break your entire experience. 

Today, we’re sharing why you might want to avoid Joshua Tree National Park in October.

Let’s get rockin’!

In Joshua Tree, United States a classic Airstream trailer is parked in the Jumbo Rocks Campground inside the California National Park on a spring day.
Jumbo Rocks is one of the more popular places at the park

The Music Festival That Brings the Crowds to Joshua Tree National Park

The Joshua Tree Musical Festival has filled the California Mojave Desert with melodies since 2002. One of the unique features of this biannual four-day party is that the lineup isn’t full of big names. There’s a good chance you’ve never heard or seen any of them. It’s an opportunity to catch artists before you have to pay big-ticket prices for their shows.

While music is the primary draw, a sense of community weaves throughout the event. The organizers take pride in creating a welcoming space for all participants. 

Many attendees arrange their vacations to attend in either May or October. The most dedicated come to both festivals every year. By doing so, you often create lasting friendships with other regulars.

However, not everyone visiting Joshua Tree National Park in October is there for the tunes. If you arrive during the weekend of the event, you might run into issues. 

Thousands of people regularly come to the area in the fall to explore the park. Joshua Tree typically experiences increased traffic and crowds during this time. It may be best to plan your adventures for another time if you’re not attending the event.

Know Before You Go: Visit the Joshua Tree Music Festival’s website for dates, lineup, and to purchase tickets. 

Where Is the Joshua Tree Music Festival?

The Joshua Tree Music Festival takes place on the 40 acres of Joshua Tree Lake Campground. Sitting next to the Copper Mountains and BLM land, it’s the perfect spot for a small, intimate gathering. It offers premier views of the mountain and desert landscapes.

All of the excitement takes place in the middle of the Mojave Desert. You’re fifty minutes from Palm Springs, two and a half hours from Los Angeles, and a little over three hours from Las Vegas. Being within driving distance of several major cities makes it easy to access whether you’re driving or flying in for the event.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! How Many People Have Died from Exposure at Joshua Tree?

Is the Joshua Tree Music Festival Fun for Families?

Unlike many other events, the Joshua Tree Music Festival offers something for all ages. Organizers create a family-friendly atmosphere throughout the entire weekend. Whether you have a baby, toddler, or teen, they’ll have an incredible time. 

The family camp section is an excellent option if you bring kids along. You’ll be around others with youngsters and can enjoy a quieter atmosphere, especially in the evenings. 

However, little ones likely won’t have trouble drifting off to sleep after spending time in Kidsville. Your kids will love the interactive activities, performances, and playshops specifically for them. 

When you arrive, grab a Kidsville schedule so you’ll know all about the fun stuff planned for families.

Other Fun Things To Do Near the Joshua Tree Music Festival

While you may come for the Joshua Tree Music Festival, you’ll have plenty of additional attractions to check out in the area. Here are a few fun things you can enjoy before or after the event.

Catch a Movie at Smith’s Ranch Drive-In Theater

Why not take a trip back in time and enjoy a movie the old-fashioned way? At Smith’s Ranch Drive-In Theater, you can watch the latest films from the comfort of your vehicle. It’s only a short 20-minute drive from the campground.

Once you pay the per-person fee, drive your vehicle in and find the perfect parking spot with a view of the big screen. Tune your radio to 89.1 FM, and use your vehicle’s stereo system to listen to the movie.

Don’t forget to visit the Snack Bar. They have popcorn, nachos, pretzels, candy, and ice cream. In addition, you’ll find a wide selection of drinks. We don’t know about you, but we think movies are more enjoyable while munching on snacks.

Explore Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is just down the road from the concert festivities. The 800,000-acre park is some of the most epic terrain in California. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore and see the plants and animals that call it home.

Visitors regularly see herds of desert bighorn sheep, coyotes, and an occasional kangaroo rat. In addition, a constantly changing variety of birds inhabit the area as it’s part of the Pacific migratory path.

The most popular activities here include horseback riding, biking, and hiking. Due to the many rock structures, it’s one of the premier rock climbing areas in the country. 

Once the sun sets, the sky comes alive with stars. If you’ve never had the opportunity to stargaze away from city lights, it’s truly a phenomenal experience. 

Be aware: What Are the Most Dangerous Creatures in Joshua Tree?

Visit Pioneertown

Pioneertown is an authentic look back at life during the 1880s. Step into the chaos of the Wild West. With any luck, you may encounter a gunfight reenactment along the iconic Mane Street.

A group of Hollywood investors created the town in the 1940s. They wanted to design a working movie set that could also attract visitors. More than 50 Western films and shows used the location for productions.

Today, it’s a place for city folk to escape the hustle and bustle of urban life. It’s an active community focusing on food, entertainment, and shopping. When planning your trip, be aware that most of the town closes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Church in Pioneertown, California, near Joshua Tree National Park.
Pioneertown Church

Best Places to Stay Near the Joshua Tree Music Festival

Depending on how long you plan to be in the area, you’ll need a place to stay. Here are some of the best options to call home near the scene.

Joshua Tree Lake RV and Campground

If you’re attending the festival, staying on-site is an excellent choice. Three-day and single-day passes come with access to the walk-in tent camping area. All you need to do is find a parking spot and carry your gear to the campground. 

Staying on the festival grounds gives you the easiest access to the activities. In addition, the event provides hot showers, filtered water, and WiFi. You’ll have no trouble coming back and relaxing during the festivities. The campground is especially great for those with little ones (or adults) who may need a midday nap.

Starlight Boutique Hotel

The Starlight Boutique Hotel is more than just a place to sleep. You’ll love the relaxing and rejuvenating environment created by the owners. Built in 1995, the Starlight offers a variety of themed rooms full of luxurious amenities. Take a dip in the outdoor pool while enjoying the picturesque view of the desert landscape. Or soothe your tired muscles in their hot tub.

While it’s 30 minutes from the venue, the drive to and from the festival is breathtaking. The minutes will fly by as you take in the beauty of this area. The hotel is an excellent choice for anyone looking for more luxury than a campground offers

The Joshua Tree Inn

The Joshua Tree Inn is less than 10 miles from the event and five miles from the Joshua Tree National Park entrance. It’s a rustic lodge built in 1949 with a Spanish Colonial style. The inn is horseshoe-shaped, which increases privacy and gives everyone a view of the courtyard and pool.

In addition, you can reserve a specific room that’s a piece of history. The Gram Parsons Room honors the famous musician who spent his final hours there in 1973. Many decorations remain unchanged from that time.

Plan your trip with Joshua Tree National Park: The Complete Guide.

The More You Know

Visiting Joshua Tree National Park can be an incredible adventure. But if you go there in May or October when the festival is happening, be aware of issues you may encounter. 

Avoiding the area altogether and rescheduling your trip might be wise. Doing so can help ensure you and your travel partners have positive memories of your trip.

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