We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Best campground for stargazing?

San Francisco...
Level Contributor
1 post
4 reviews
Best campground for stargazing?

A couple of friends and I are planning to camp for a night in the park September 17th (Saturday). Did a bit of research and it seems that most of the campgrounds are first come first served. The campgrounds that take reservation have long been reserved for the weekend. What are the chances of us getting a campsite and which campground do you recommend for stargazing? Thanks!

Long Beach...
Level Contributor
7,710 posts
1. Re: Best campground for stargazing?

I think any of the campgrounds in the center or southern part of the park would be great for stargazing. Cottonwood doesn't have the huge boulders and rock formations that many of the other campgrounds have, so you will see more of the sky. This is not my favorite campground, because it doesn't have the boulders, but it does have running water.

Honestly I think the weather will affect your chance of finding a campsite on a September Saturday. JT is busy during the fall, winter and spring. September is more a shoulder month- If it is hot, you'll probably be able to find a campsite. Though if it is a nice weekend, you may have some difficulty. There is overflow camping and backcountry camping.


Response #15 has some great backcountry camp tips, in the link below


Edited: August 30, 2016, 7:46 am
Joshua Tree...
Destination Expert
for Joshua Tree National Park
Level Contributor
1,298 posts
205 reviews
2. Re: Best campground for stargazing?

I think you'll be fine in September, it's still hot enough that the tourists haven't flocked there yet. And the evenings will be awesome. And to be honest, I think the best campgrounds are the ones that CAN'T be reserved, so no worries there. I prefer the end of the park near Joshua Tree Proper. White Tank, Hidden Valley, Ryan Campground, Jumbo Rocks (biggest with 124 sights, so I think it's virtually for sure you'd get one there in September) those are ALL GOOD and have different pro's and cons as far as what cool rock formations are closest. Stars? No worries!

If you plan to drive around the park a bit, then it won't matter that much exactly which one you stay at.

The earlier you can arrive on Friday the better of course. But even if you arrive Saturday morning, then don't forget to look for campers leaving if you can't find an empty spot.

White Tank only has 15 sights but you could get lucky, it has the arch and cool formations around there including the famous "heart" shaped rock.

Ryan campground has what I call pork chop rock and the somewhat unknown ryan ranch ruins all close walking distance...

Hidden Valley campground & Jumbo Rocks both have cool rock formations and hiking areas right there.

Be sure to bring more water than you think you'll need. It is the desert, it may be hotter than you think & it's easy to get dehydrated. :-) Just about 20 minutes from most of these sights that I mentioned is the town of Joshua Tree where they have a Saloon & restaurants including pizza.

3. Re: Best campground for stargazing?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: September 01, 2017, 1:17 pm
Get answers to your questions about Joshua Tree National...