5 Things You Need to Know About Visiting Joshua Tree with Your Dog

Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

May 11, 2016

If the allure of Joshua Tree’s prickly bushes, arid and beautiful desert landscape and sprawling views hasn’t inspired you to visit this year, maybe the fact that this year is the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service will.

If you’re like me, and do all of your travel (and everything else) with your dog, you might be surprised to learn that while dogs are allowed at Joshua Tree park, their activities are unfortunately restricted. This is because the very presence of pets in the park alters the natural behavior of native wildlife. But don’t let that stop you from planning your trip! Here’s everything you need to know to make sure you and your pup have the time of a lifetime.

1. Joshua Tree National Park’s Pet Rules

Pets must be on a leash at all times and cannot be more than 100 feet (about 30 m) from a road, picnic area, or campground; they are prohibited from hiking trails, and they must never be left unattended—not even in a vehicle.



2. There are dog-friendly activities in the park.

Your dog can still join you in developed campgrounds and picnic areas as well as “anywhere your car can go.” If you’re looking for nice places to walk your dog, the park’s unpaved backcountry roads such as Covington Flat and Geology Tour Road have very little traffic and are good places to walk your dog.



3. You can’t beat the views.

A popular destination Keys View is dog-friendly. At 5,185 feet of elevation (1,581m), Keys View provides panoramic views of the Coachella Valley. Take the 0.2 mile loop trail up the ridge for fantastic views and scenic photo opportunities!



4. There’s nothing quite like the desert in Winter.

Two desert ecosystems, the Mojave and the Colorado, come together in Joshua Tree National Park. The surreal rock formations and the beautiful desert landscape are something you should see for yourself. Even though you can visit the park all year around, our favorite time to visit is winter, especially because the intense summer heat can be very dangerous for your dog!



5. There are lots of dog-friendly hiking trails in the Palm Desert Area.

So you wanted to hike the desert trails? There are a bunch in the Palm Desert area!

La Quinta Cove:  The surrounding Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains make this less than 2-mile walk so memorable. There wasn’t much snow on the top of the mountains this winter but the scenery was still beautiful.


Palm Desert Cross:  This 3.5-mile hike starts from Cahuilla Hills Park. Take Gabby Hayes Trail then turn left on to Hopalong Cassidy Trail. Stay on it until you get to the cross. It’s out and back. There is a restroom at the trailhead.


Do you plan to visit other National Parks this year with your dog? Be sure to check out this helpful link!


Featured Image: @Kibo.Sun/Instagram

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Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

May 11, 2016

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