One of the coolest National Park campgrounds we have ever camped at was at Jumbo Rocks Campground in Joshua Tree National Park. Located somewhat centrally in Joshua Tree, the landscape is a huge rock playground with large flat sites interspersed in the giant rocks. The rock formations that surround the campsites beg to be scrambled up and explored and we spent countless hours playing on them. Although daytime was wicked hot during our visit in July, the nights were cool with temps in the mid to high 60’s and perfect sleeping weather. Even in the middle of the summer, it was lovely to camp here with the added bonus of the campground being practically empty. In fact, we saw way more rabbits around the campground then people! We enjoyed a wonderful Ranger talk at the amphitheater about scorpions and other desert insects that was absolutely fascinating and also liked taking the short hike to the aptly named Skull Rock formation. One of my favorite camping memories ever is sleeping out in the open on top of one of the flat rock formations adjacent to our site. There is nothing like seeing the sun set, countless stars in the dark, and the sun rise all from your cozy sleeping bag. In fact, Sophie slept most nights on top of our picnic table for just this reason. So don’t be afraid to make a summer trip to Jumbo Rocks Campground! The amazingly dark night skies, sounds of coyotes howling as you fall asleep, cool night air, and spread out sites make for a fantastic camping experience.
If you go to Jumbo Rocks Campground at Joshua Tree National Park:
The 124 sites at Jumbo Rocks are first come-first served. While the campground was practically deserted during our July visit, it fills up during the busy season from October to May, so plan to arrive early during those months to snag a site.
Sites are a bargain at $15 a night, payable by cash or check at the kiosk at the campground entrance.
There is no water available in Jumbo Rocks. We brought about a dozen gallon jugs with us and refilled them as needed at the Oasis Visitor Center (about 20 miles away) in the fountain out front.
Expect no cell phone service in the campground, or throughout most of the park for that matter.
Dogs are allowed in Jumbo Rocks Campground, but must remain on leash.