United States

Joshua Tree National Park

See Also Our Running Guide for Palm Springs/Palm Desert, Which Also Has Routes in the Coachella Valley

Creative Commons 2.0: Christopher Michel

Joshua Tree National Park is a popular visitor destination in southern California, known for its desert landscapes, geologic wonders, and signature Joshua trees. It’s located a 2 hour drive from Los Angeles, and an hour from Palm Springs. Running in Joshua National Park can be a challenge, due to the harsh, hilly landscape, trails and roads that can have deep sand, and the exposed nature of the terrain. However, we’ve researched some of the best places to run in Joshua Tree National Park, and in some of the communities just outside the park where a lot of visitors stay.

Within Joshua Tree National Park, the main paved roads tend to lack a shoulder and can have a lot of traffic. But there’s an extensive network of backcountry roads, some of which are suitable for running. We’ve also researched some of the hiking trails (or sections of them) that are easy to moderate trail runs. Those looking for more challenging trail running have a greater array of options!   There are also some quiet residential roads near the Visitor Center and in Yucca Valley that are OK for running. And in nearby Desert Hot Springs, some of the main roads have sidewalks, plus some quieter side streets.

Notes: Summer temperatures can bring extreme heat. And, all trails are exposed. Please use the right precautions!  Also, some of the trails, backcountry roads, or roadside shoulders can have deeper sand, depending on season & weather.

See Also

Other Nearby Running Guides

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The harsh climate is a major factor for running in Joshua Tree National Park. Summers are brutally hot, with temperatures exceeding 100F June-September. Spring and fall are warm but more runnable. Winter highs are in the 60F (15C) range, and nights can fall below freezing. Bring layers!  Most of the ~4 inches of annual rain occurs December-March.



Most people visiting Joshua Tree National Park stay in the towns near the park entrance. Either Yucca Valley or Desert Hot Springs. There are some quiet residential streets for running in these towns.

The closest stores carrying running gear are in Palm Springs, about an hour away from Joshua Tree.