Things to do in Joshua Tree: art museums, Airbnbs and more


Hello, dear escapees. Clarity, introspection, and renewal – the makings of New Year’s resolutions – are often sought after in the California desert. These themes appear throughout the latest issue of The Times’ Image magazine, devoted to the desert and those who seek meaning in it. “Each person brings something with them to give, and the wilderness is teeming with offerings. Some are buried. Some move with the wind. Everything remains to be found, ”writes editor Ian Blair in the introduction to the edition.

As January begins and the Omicron variant of the coronavirus continues to spread, the desert is particularly inviting. Cool temperatures, wide open spaces, and the ability to broaden one’s perception – all can be found simply by venturing out a few hours east of LA.

In this edition of Escapes, you’ll discover a few ways to find art – and maybe yourself – in Joshua Tree. What is your favorite place in the desert? Let me know, so that I can pass on your recommendation in a future edition.

Find inspiration at the Open Air Museum

Bicycles wobbling on a wooden structure, daring to gravity to pull them towards the desert floor. Folding rusty metal chairs, arranged in rows on a wheeled cart, apparently waiting for an audience that will never come. Something that looks like a larger-than-life Newton’s cradle – in the last place, you’d even expect to see the look of a desk toy.

Welcome to the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum, established between 1989 and 2004.

The sprawling 10-acre museum is the culmination of Purifoy’s long career, which has seen him become a well-known and influential visual artist and sculptor, co-found the Watts Towers Arts Center, and bring artistic programming to the prison system of State.

Purifoy has spent the last 15 years of his life using found and discarded materials to create the museum, which continues to stun, mystify and inspire travelers to this day.

“He taught me to be careful with trash,” writes Ismail Muhammad, editor of The New York Times Magazine, in the second edition of Image. “If I did, I could see how the wreckage was also a sign of life: what had been classified as ‘trash’ was just art waiting to be shaped by the force of the world. imaginative act, waiting to be connected to other elements that would shed light on the latent value of junk.

The museum is free and open daily from sunrise to sunset.

A bicycle looks set to ride until sunset at the Noah Purifoy Museum in Joshua Tree.

(Tyrone Beason / Los Angeles Times)

Find “the unit” at the retreat center

“The renewal looks like a 200-acre piece of land off the Twentynine Palms Highway,” writes Times reporter Julissa James in a recent article describing why so many people are heading to Joshua Tree is going to take magic mushrooms.

She talks about the Joshua Tree Retreat Center, also known as the Institute of Mental Physics.

According to the institute, its buildings were designed by founder Edwin John Dingle, Frank Lloyd Wright and Wright’s son, Lloyd Wright. Its location was chosen “because it rested on 19 vortices, considered powerful swirling energy centers on Earth,” says James. “It was an ideal setting to teach a practice like mental physics – which promised a new way of thinking through” an experiential method of self-realization that teaches the oneness of life embodied in all substance, energy and thought. “”

What does the search for “the unity of life” look like at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center? To find out, you can book a personal retreat at the center; basic rooms start at $ 100 per night.

Visitors can also stop for classes that teach yoga, breathing, meditation, and more. Consult the centre’s calendar for schedule and details.

Illustration of a person in summer clothes sitting under a Joshua tree and next to grapes and mushrooms.

Find fantasy, craftsmanship at the Crochet Museum

It can get quite cold in the Mojave Desert in January. For an even more warm and colorful desert atmosphere, don’t leave the city before stopping at the Crochet Museum. Located in a repurposed Fotomat booth, the lime green museum is a pint-sized tribute to craftsmanship, color and creativity.

While it certainly won’t take you long to poke your head inside the museum and get a feel for the place, it’s worth slowing down during your visit and admiring the dozens of detailed crochet animals. lining the walls, collected by artist Shari Elf.

Elf clarifies that although she is an avid collector and enjoys crochet work, she is not responsible for the creation of the animals. “She would like to thank all the anonymous people (well, most old ladies – you know who you are – and we think you are goddesses who must be worshiped!) The museum website explains.

As you explore the property, be sure to look out to the horizon – during winter you might spot the San Jacinto Mountains in the distance, covered in snow.

According to its website, the Crochet museum is free and always open, even when no one is on site.

Crochet Needles and Thread Cartoon Illustration

(Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times)

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Where to stay in Joshua Tree

Accommodation has a way of coloring the experience, especially if you are visiting a place for the first time. It is not always the most expensive place that leaves an impression, but the feeling you get when you are there: how much it promotes a feeling of warmth, fun or adventure, whatever you are looking for when you are there. of a particular trip.

Fortunately, Joshua Tree has no shortage of memorable places to stay, whether you’re looking for a deeper meaning in the desert or just a quirky place to party.

Here are some options:

  • Airbnb is a treasure trove of Joshua Tree stays that give off all the desert vibes you could dream of. This stargazing tent and this “green house” are just a few of the options.
  • The Inn of the Tree of Joshua: a historic hotel with classic and well-appointed rooms. Plus, you might meet Gram Parsons’ ghost. Rooms start at $ 138.
  • Hicksville Trailer Palace: funky themed trailers clustered around a saltwater pool. In addition, it is compatible with the 420 (there is a vaporizer in the rescue tower). Reservations start at $ 100.
  • CCBC Resort Hotel: OK, it’s actually Cathedral City, not Joshua Tree, about a 50 minute drive away. But I had to include it on the list – the latest edition of Image includes stunning photographs of the optional gay clothing complex (captured by Times contributor JJ Geiger). Rooms start at around $ 240.
  • Camping: With designated campsites in Joshua Tree National Park and Bureau of Land Management lands outside the park boundaries, this is probably your most cost-effective option. If you decide to camp, check the weather conditions and obey any restrictions.
Two people play with a ball outside a tent backed by desert plants and mountain rocks.

Campers at Joshua Tree National Park Hidden Valley Campground

(Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

What i read

  • Planning a trip with your dog? Times digital editor Jessica Martinez explains how to make it stress free for you two.
  • Some encouraging news: “Airlines have a recipe for reaching zero emissions by 2050,” writes Times business journalist Hugo Martín. The key ingredient? Cooking oil.
  • Some Scary News: Record Numbers of Guns were found at US airports in 2021, Martín reports.
  • A 600 mile recreational trail arrives in the Western Sierra Nevada. At Afar, Anna Fiorentino explains how the Route of the Sierra Perdue will link 15 mountain towns.
  • The little-known Three-Pass Route to Everest Base Camp makes hiking Mount Whitney “cake-like”. Tarcy Connors reports on her in the San Diego Union-Tribute 15-day trek in the Himalayas.
A dog is lying on a carpet outside of an open pickup truck.

Millie chews a bone at a campsite in Moab, Utah.

(Jessica Martinez / Los Angeles Times)

photo of the week

A seated climber looks tiny on top of huge boulders.

A climber rests in the Jumbo Rocks area of ​​Joshua Tree National Park in March 2019.

(Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

road song

Song: “Joshua Tree “ by Cautious Clay

Favorite Lyrics: “I had a good real Hollywood story of freeways chasing failed glory”

Where to listen: Drive on California 62 towards Joshua Tree

Polaroid illustration of a highway in Joshua Tree

(Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times)


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