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  • Sunset at Mojave Desert in Twentynine Palms, CA

Discover the fascinating history of Bill and Frances Keys at a ranger-led walking tour of their historic Keys Ranch in Joshua Tree National Park!

In the high desert country that was to become Joshua Tree National Park, rugged individuals tried their luck at cattle ranching, mining, and homesteading. The story of William F. Keys and his family is particularly representative of the hard work and ingenuity it took to settle and prosper in the Mojave Desert.

The 90-minute ranger-guided walking tour of the ranch includes the colorful story of the 60 years Bill and Frances spent working together to make a life and raise their five children in this remote location. The ranch house, schoolhouse, store, and workshop still stand; the orchard has been replanted; and the grounds are full of the cars, trucks, mining equipment, and spare parts that are a part of the Desert Queen Ranch story.

Listed as a National Historic Register Site, the property is located in a remote, rocky canyon in Joshua Tree National Park, and is accessible to the public only during these ranger-led tours. Tours are typically offered on Monday, Friday, and Saturday, and tickets and registration are required. Reserve your spot on an upcoming tour in February ahead of time on

Keys Ranch tours cost $10 per person aged 12 and over and $5 for children 6 to 11. Children under six are admitted free. Senior and Access Pass (Golden Age and Golden Access passport) holders pay $5.