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  • Sunset at Mojave Desert in Twentynine Palms, CA

Things are heating up in 29 Palms, southern California’s hidden gem in the heart of the Mojave Desert! Now is the perfect time to experience a one-of-a-kind desert experience with the family. Here are a few reasons you should pack up the van and venture to 29 Palms this summer:

Rise and Shine: Sunrise hikes

Take a walk on the wild side of life by exploring the Mojave Desert’s great outdoors. 29 Palms is the official gateway community to Joshua Tree National Park, Mojave Trails National Monument, and Mojave National Preserve. There is so much to explore whether you are spending a few days or a few weeks.

National Park Week - sPark Connections - Cap RockCap Rock Nature Trail is one of our favorite short nature walks with our families when we visit Joshua Tree National Park. Located at the corner of Park Blvd and Keys View Road, Cap Rock is the perfect trail to stretch your legs and learn about the desert flora and fauna. This short loop is less than half a mile and gives hikers views of boulder piles, Joshua trees, and other desert plants. Stop at each marker to learn a little more about what interesting plants and critters you can find in the park. Plan ahead and get an early start so that your hike is done by 10 A.M. and be sure to review the park’s summer safety tips.

We recommend heading out to Cadiz Dunes Wilderness in the Mojave Trails National Monument for our adventurous early risers. Located just 40 miles east of downtown 29 Palms between Highway 62 and the historic Route 66, the road to these pristine dunes takes you through some of the gorgeous locales the Mojave Trails National Monument has to offer. Ever-changing in contour and pattern and spanning nearly 20,000 acres, these majestic and remote dunes are shaped by the north winds blowing sand off the Cadiz dry lake.

Take a trip to Mojave National Preserve and enjoy the stunning Kelso Dunes. With temperatures reaching above 100°, trek out to the dunes later in the evening or early in the morning. The spectacular majestic sand piles of Kelso Dunes are the Preserve’s most popular hiking destination for a good reason. When hikers reach the summit, they are rewarded with a surreal backdrop of sand that seems to extend forever. Although this is the most popular trail at the Mojave National Preserve, potential hikers can still expect solitude.

Explore Your Artistic Side

29 Palms is known for its Oasis of Murals and thriving artistic community. Visitors can find over 60 murals, public art displays, and half a dozen art galleries across the City of 29 Palms. There is much to explore when tapping into your artistic side while visiting 29 Palms.

Gretchen Grunt 29 Palms Creative Center and Gallery Pottery Wheel ClassLet your kids discover their unique explosive creativity in a vast array of mediums, from simply drawing on paper to technical construction in clay, when you sign them up for an art class at the 29 Palms Creative Center! Owner, artist, and educator Gretchen Grunt believes creating a joyful and stress-free studio environment is key to nurturing the process of creativity. Book your private art class or party and get creative this summer!

The Oasis of Murals began in 1994 with the painting of the first mural honoring Bill and Frances Keys, pioneer homesteaders who settled at the Desert Queen Ranch in what is now Joshua Tree National Park. Since then, 25 more murals and one sculpture have been added to the Action Council for 29 Palms‘ impressive mural collection. Along with these murals, you can find beautiful public art displays from world-renowned artists like Simi Dabah, Ricardo Breceda, Chuck Caplinger, and more.

The 29 Palms Art Gallery is the oldest arts organization in the Morongo Basin. Founded by a group of prominent desert artists in the 1950s, the gallery is located in a historic adobe at the Oasis of Mara. They offer a variety of art classes to people of all ages throughout the year, including courses in pottery, painting, collage, and more.

Fun in the Sun (and the Shade)

There is so much fun to be had during the summer in 29 Palms! Whether you are outside basking in the desert sun or inside beating the heat, we have the perfect ways for you and your family to enjoy your time in the Mojave Desert.

The Old Schoolhouse Museum is the place to be for all you history buffs. Founded in 1982, the Twentynine Palms Historical Society has preserved the rich history of 29 Palms for 40 years. In 1992, the society moved the city’s original 1927 one-room schoolhouse to a parcel of land on National park Drive near the Oasis of Mara and remodeled the building to become the Old Schoolhouse Museum. Today, the historical society continues to preserve and interpret the historical heritage of the 29 Palms area through a variety of museum displays, special collections, an extensive library, historical gatherings, educational lectures, and more. We highly recommend visiting the museum while you are in the city and learning more about how 29 Palms has grown and evolved over the years.

Take a trip down to the Bowladium Family Fun Center in your spare time and bowl a game or 2 with the family. This summer, kids ages 2 to 15 bowl free every day! Registering for the Kids Bowl Free program allows your family to have fun all summer long at one of 29 Palms’ favorite family-friendly spots. Learn more about the program by calling the Bowladium at (760) 367-9502.

Water Play Days Station 44 Fire TruckLooking for a great way to cool down and beat the heat this summer? The Twentynine Palms Parks & Recreation Department hosts Water Play Days every Wednesday evening through the end of July. These free, family-friendly events alternate between Luckie Park and Knott’s Sky Park weekly. From water slides to water balloons, families have loved this fun way of hanging out and getting outside during the summer. Plus, you may see our very own Station 44 firefights make a surprise appearance to help make this summer a memorable one! Check out our event calendar to see where they will be when you visit.

Meet Us Under the Stars

Nothing compares to a gorgeous desert night sky in the summer. With a number of astronomical events and fun family movie nights, there is something for everyone to enjoy during the cool desert evenings.

Along with the Water Play Days, the Twentynine Palms Parks and Recreation Department hosts their annual Movies in the Park Thursday nights at Luckie Park. From modern movie hits like Luca and Soul to throwbacks like Space Jam and Little Giants, grab some lawn chairs and blankets and enjoy a relaxing movie night after a day of exploring the city. Head to our event calendar to see what’s playing when you’re here.

Aquarid Meteor ShowerLook up to the night sky this summer with 2 of our favorite meteor showers. The Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower will be making an appearance July 28-29. The shower gets its name from the constellation Aquarius, which it appears to emanate from. A truly dark sky offers the best chance of seeing the Delta Aquarids, as they tend not to be as bright as some other meteor showers. Luckily, Joshua Tree National Park is an International Dark Sky Park that allows for the shower’s perfect viewing. With a high rate of meteors per hour, the Perseids Meteor Shower is one of the most talked-about showers of the year. However, these meteors will compete this year with the Full Sturgeon Moon. The best time to view the Perseids this year will be a few hours before dawn when the Moon is closer to setting. Set your alarm for an early morning to catch a glimpse of one of the year’s best meteor showers!

Joshua Tree National Park proudly opens new Visitor & Cultural Center in Freedom Plaza in downtown Twentynine Palms California

 

On May 7, 2022, Joshua Tree National Park proudly opened their new Visitor & Cultural Center in downtown 29 Palms, in the newly completed Freedom Plaza. Made possible through partnership with the City of Twentynine Palms, Joshua Tree National Park’s traditionally associated Native American communities, Joshua Tree National Park Association (JTNPA), and the Bureau of Land Management, the new Joshua Tree Visitor & Cultural Center is a must-see destination for park visitors.

In addition to the beautiful bookstore and information center, this new Visitor & Cultural Center features an incredible museum space which will feature rotating exhibits celebrating the culture, history, and stories of the Native American communities. The new facility is located at 6533 Freedom Way, in the center of Twentynine Palms’ newly completed Freedom Plaza, and is open 7 days a week from 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM.

The opening exhibition, Home Maintenance: Keys Ranch, tells the story of the park’s role in the preservation of cultural resources. This temporary exhibit was developed by Joshua Tree Art Innovation Lab (JTLab) and weaves the stories of people on the landscape in the present and the recent past. The next set of exhibits, scheduled to be installed in the fall of 2022, are being developed in partnership with the traditionally associated Native American communities. This more permanent exhibition will share the rich heritage of the many peoples who have stewarded this land for millennia. JTNP acknowledges these original stewards, and this exhibit will pay respect to the people, past, present and emerging who have been in this area for generations.

The Oasis Visitor Center (OVC) in Twentynine Palms closed its doors at 5:00 PM Monday, May 2, 2022 after 60 years of operation. The new facility, Joshua Tree Cultural Center replaces OVC in welcoming visitors and providing park information. Other park visitor facilities are Joshua Tree Visitor Center, Cottonwood Visitor Center, and Blackrock Nature Center and Art Gallery. These are open to welcome the public daily.

 

About Freedom Plaza

Formerly known as Project Phoenix, the Freedom Plaza site is dynamic downtown revitalization project along Highway 62 in the heart of 29 Palms that will serve to meet the community’s recreational, professional, and educational needs.

The multi-faceted complex features an 11,000 square foot Community Center with a gymnasium/multipurpose room and culinary arts kitchen, a 4,100 square foot Joshua Tree National Park Cultural and Visitor Center, a 10,000 square foot entry plaza and a three-block long Paseo.

The Community Center will serve as a flexible athletics facility and recreational hub for the community’s youth and adults and can also be used for special events and conferences. Through the City’s new partnership with Copper Mountain College and the Morongo Unified School District, the culinary arts kitchen in this new Community Center will be used as a teaching space for the next generation of aspiring chefs.

A beautiful outdoor event stage graces the corner of Freedom Way and the Paseo parking lot between the Community Center and Joshua Tree Visitor and Cultural Center. Freedom Way’s newly designed protected walkway also transforms into an event space that can be reserved for special events such as festivals, farmers markets, art shows, car shows and musical events.

A decade in the making, the City of Twentynine Palms proudly unveiled and officially opened Freedom Plaza on March 12!

Did you know there are over 400 national parks across the country? Each year, the National Park Foundation and the National Park Service invite everyone to celebrate these incredible wonders during National Park Week. This year’s theme is sPark Connections. Spend National Park Week in 29 Palms, CA, when you visit Joshua Tree National Park.

The celebration begins Saturday, April 16, with sPark Discovery. National Park Week kicks off with a fee-free day to encourage everyone to find something new by visiting a national park. It can be one that may be close to home, a park you haven’t considered visiting, or one you never realized is a national park! Beat the long wait time to venture into Joshua Tree National Park when using the North Entrance. Located just a few minutes from the Oasis Visitor Center in 29 Palms, the North Entrance to the park is the best place to begin your Joshua Tree National Park adventure. What’s something new about Joshua Tree National Park you may discover?

Sunday, April 17, challenges us to sPark Creativity. National parks have inspired artistic expression and creativity for generations—artists worldwide flock to Joshua Tree National Park to capture its beauty. The annual Joshua Tree National Park Art Exposition is just one of the ways we see how the park sparks creativity in artists. The Art Expo takes place every November and features artwork depicting or inspired by Joshua Tree National Park created by more than 50 artists from California and across the United States. What masterpiece can you make?

National Park Week - Artist Painting in Cholla Cactus Garden

(NPS photo by Carmen Aurrecoechea)

sPark Collaboration on Monday, April 18, and get involved! We get along with a bit of help from our friends. Public support is a critical component in the management of National Park Service lands. No other federal agency relies as heavily on the stewardship and generosity of its visitors. Several local and national organizations partner with Joshua Tree National Park every year, including Joshua Tree National Park Association, Mojave Desert Land Trust, Friends of Joshua Tree, 29 Palms Art Gallery, and more. Find out how you can get involved with Joshua Tree National Park here.

The National Park Service incorporates the latest technology to support conservation and preservation efforts while consistently working to improve the visitor experience. On Tuesday, April 19, speak with a local park ranger about how they sPark Innovation in Joshua Tree National Park. One of our favorite ways the National Park Service incorporates technology is by being able to purchase your park pass online! Recreation.gov is the perfect way to get your park pass before heading into Joshua Tree National Park. Get yours today here!

On Wednesday, April 20, it’s Workforce Wednesday! Learn about the National Park Foundation’s work and the employment opportunities available in the National Park Service as they sPark Opportunities. About 100 full-time equivalent positions make up the park staff in fields including administration, education and interpretation, law enforcement, maintenance, resource management and science, and visitor services. Every role is vital for the park to fulfill its mission of preserving natural and cultural resources for future generations. Learn more about employment opportunities with Joshua Tree National Park here.

Continuing the celebration, Thursday, April 21, is all about how you can sPark Preservation. The National Park Service is a leader and partner in preserving historical, cultural, natural, and recreational resources nationally—and even internationally! Be sure to visit the Oasis Visitor Center in 29 Palms to learn more about Joshua Tree National Park’s work in preserving the land and history of one of the country’s most ventured national parks.

National Park Week - Historic Preservation at Keys Ranch

(NPS photo by Kelsey Graczyk)

Earth Day is Friday, April 22, so it is time to sPark Action! Taking place annually on April 22, Earth Day is the day to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First held on April 22, 1970, it now includes a wide range of events coordinated globally by EarthDay.org, including 1 billion people in more than 193 countries. Today is the day for all of us to look at the health of the environment and how we impact its wellbeing and vice versa. Take some time to get outside, enjoy nature, and reflect on how you can better the environment for generations to come.

The National Park Service preserves and protects unique places with fascinating stories and amazing landscapes. Is there any place in Joshua Tree National Park you have always been curious about? Why is it called Hidden Valley? How does the rock stay on Cap Rock? Why can you only find Joshua trees in the Mojave Desert? On Saturday, April 23, sPark Curiosity, speak with a park ranger at the Oasis Visitor Center and find out all there is to know about Joshua Tree National Park.

Rounding out the festivities on Sunday, April 24, sPark Memories and enjoy all Joshua Tree National Park offers. Generations of visitors have created lasting memories in national parks. Today, spend time with family, friends, and loved ones, making memories and more in Joshua Tree National Park. Visit the Cholla Cactus Garden and enjoy basking in the desert sunrise. Trek to the top of Ryan Mountain and take in the gorgeous Mojave Desert views. Drive up to Keys View and look out over the Coachella Valley in the evening. Spend a night under the stars away from the hustle and bustle of life.

There is so much to see and do when visiting Joshua Tree National Park. Mark your calendars for April 16-24, 2022, and make Joshua Tree National Park your destination to sPark Connections this National Park Week.

Take a long weekend getaway to Twentynine Palms! The fall season is the perfect time to explore and discover the wonders of the Mojave Desert. With the weather cooling off and the city coming to life with events, there has never been a better time to visit and enjoy all Twentynine Palms has to offer.

Outdoor Adventure

Take a walk in nature and explore Joshua Tree National Park. With over 2.4 million visitors in 2020, Joshua Tree National Park was named the 10th Most Visited National Park in the U.S. by the National Park Service. Encompassing nearly 800,000 acres of protected land, visitors can explore both the Mojave and Colorado Deserts while taking part in several activities. From hiking to rock climbing to just enjoying the beautiful desert scenery, this is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With the long weekend, it will be busy in the National Park, so here are a few tips and tricks to make sure you are ready for your trip:

Indian Cove Picnic Area

Use the Twentynine Palms entrance. Wait times at the West Entrance in Joshua Tree can reach upwards of 1 hour. If you are traveling eastbound on the highway, keep driving 15 more minutes and enter the park through the North entrance in Twentynine Palms. Not only is the wait time much shorter at the North entrance, but you can also visit the Oasis Visitor Center on National Park Drive before heading up to the park.

Purchase your pass online. It is now easier than ever to buy your park pass. Not only can you purchase your entrance pass online, but you can also reserve your camping site. Go online to recreation.gov and get your pass in advance.

Download the NPS app. With no cell service in the park, it can be difficult to navigate where you’re going with your phone. Luckily, the NPS app allows you to download park info to make sure you can find your way around the park while offline. With interactive maps, tours of park places, and more, download the NPS app and make the most of your visit.

Plan Like a Park Ranger. The staff at JTNP have put together an incredible article to help you travel like an expert when you visit the park. To help you plan your trip even more, here are the Top 10 Tips for Visiting Joshua Tree National Park.

 

Arts, Culture, & History

This long weekend is the perfect time to dive into the rich arts, culture, and history that make Twentynine Palms the cultural oasis it is today. The Joshua Tree Music Festival kicks off the weekend beginning Thursday, October 7th with their first festival since October 2019. With the pandemic having shut down their festivals for two years, JTMF is ready to get the community back to the “Heart of the Matter” with artists from all over the world performing for one weekend only.

October 9th and 10th mark the first weekend for the Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tours. Now in its 20th year, the Art Tours take place all over the Morongo Basin. This self-guided tour will take visitors on a journey to each of the artists’ studios to see where the magic happens. With 18 artists in Twentynine Palms opening their doors, tour-goers will get a glimpse into the worlds of renowned artists such as Perry Hoffman, Anna Stump, Elisabeth Pollnow, Anne Lear, and many more.

For all the history buffs out there, the Old Schoolhouse Museum is the place to be. With a mission to collect, preserve, and display information, artifacts, and memorabilia, the Twentynine Palms Historical Society has been educating visitors for almost 30 years. This weekend, join artist Barbara Gothard as she discusses her Art+Humanities project, “Contradictions – Bringing the Past Forward,” as the 2nd Friday Lecture Series continues on Friday, October 8th.

If you are curious about the nature of the area, the Desert Institute at Joshua Tree National Park will be hosting a special class this weekend as part of their Fall Field Class schedule. Learn all about the Insects and Arthropods of the Morongo Basin with Kurt Leuschner as he explores the lives of the largest group of animals in the world. Participants will learn to identify and distinguish insects from other arthropods and then practice their skills in the field. Field observations will include desert, dune, and riparian habitats, as well as a special night session with black lights at the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve.

 

Shop & Dine

Fuel up for the weekend ahead with some great eats at one of our local, family-owned restaurants! For breakfast, Campbell Hill Bakery is every pastry lover’s dream for the best croissants, coffee cake, and scones in town. Take your taste buds on an adventure at Cactus Trails Café and try their Cactus Omelette with their Prickly Pear Lemonade. For a big, hearty breakfast, head on over to John’s Place and order John’s Farm Breakfast Special loaded with eggs, ham, sausage, bacon, hash browns, and biscuits and gravy.

When you’re ready for lunch, head on over to FANS Sports Bar and Grill for some great all-American burgers, wings, hot dogs, and more. Mexican Street Tacos is home to the famous David Tran Plate and their always delicious street tacos. If you like spicy food, check out Thai Café and all of their delicious curries including their Roasted Duck and Siam Gulf curries.

Spend your evening dining at one of our great eating establishments. Have some good old-fashioned barbecue with Rib Co.‘s grilled jalapenos and Triple Threat ribs. Stop by Edchadas and get your hands on their Amigo Burrito and pair it with one of their famous margaritas. Twentynine Palms’ newest gastropub GRND SQRL has great new food for visitors and locals to enjoy like their Shanghai Wings, SQRL Burger, and, our personal favorite, the Jalla Sandwich. End your evening with the last cold beer on Highway 62 at the newest neighborhood bar on the corner of National Park Drive and the Highway, Out There Bar.

Spend the weekend shopping around town and shop small at our local retail stores! If you’re downtown, stop by White Label VinylHi-Desert DaydreamDonahlue Clothing Co.The Lobby by Desert Beacon, and more along the highway. When you’re out and about on Adobe Road, stop in and check out Copy Center Plus, and further down in the Historic Plaza you’ll find Perfectly Unique. These are only a handful of the many locally-owned stores you can find in Twentynine Palms, so be sure to stop in and say hi to us at the 29 Palms Visitor Center to find out what other gems we have hiding in our city.

 

Stargazing & Astronomy

This long weekend will make for the perfect opportunity to get out into nature in the late evening to enjoy a spectacular display of astronomical events. The Draconid meteor shower will peak on October 8th. Unlike most meteor showers, the Draconids are short-lived. You will want to look towards the constellation Draco the Dragon to watch the shower. Luckily, the thin waxing crescent moon will make for good visibility this year.

Get out the telescope because stargazers will have a great view of the Andromeda Galaxy and the Great Square of Pegasus throughout the fall season. Being the closest large spiral galaxy to our Milky Way, the Andromeda Galaxy is the most distant thing we can see with the unaided eye. This weekend, you will be able to view the galaxy in the eastern sky at nightfall before it makes its trek to the western sky by dawn. Part of the constellation Pegasus, the Great Square of Pegasus can also be seen ascending into the eastern sky in the early evenings this season. Made of four stars of nearly equal brightness, the Great Square is a landmark of the Northern Hemisphere’s autumn sky.

Plan your night under the stars with our guide to stargazing in Twentynine Palms.

We hope to see you in Twentynine Palms enjoying all our city has to offer! From exploring Joshua Tree National Park to gazing up at the desert night sky, there is something for everyone to enjoy this holiday weekend. Be sure to stop by the 29 Palms Visitor Center for any information you may need during your visit.

 

 

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