Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Yucca Valley, CA

  • Published 2021/11/23

Yucca Valley is solid proof that California’s desert is not barren but filled with natural beauty and life.

This small town is a two-and-a-half-hour drive east of Los Angeles, and it’s pretty much known to many as the gateway to the famous Joshua Tree National Park.

Even before you arrive at Joshua Tree, Yucca Valley already welcomes you with lots of attractions to visit and fun activities to do.

The town serves as an oasis in the middle of the desert teeming with natural and artificial attractions, historical sites, museums, and a vibrant community.

According to the Mormons, this town was named after the Yucca palm or the Joshua Tree, as it mimics the prophet Moses lifting his hands.

Before, Yucca Valley was a well-known place for celebrities to escape the limelight.

It was initially established as a haven for celebrities who want to take time off from Hollywood.

However, Yucca Valley has a lot of things to offer other than being an escape for Hollywood celebrities.

This town is the perfect weekend destination or a day trip for those who want to relax and set an outdoor adventure, or perhaps a short stop for those driving cross country.

If you’re interested in visiting this town, check out these 15 best things to do in Yucca Valley and its neighboring places.

Visit the Desert Christ Park

View of Desert Christ Park

InnaPoka /

For Catholic or Christian visitors in Yucca Valley or simply those interested in religious attractions, head to the Desert Christ Park.

The place is a popular attraction for reflection and, of course, for picture taking.

The Desert Christ Park is at 56200 Sunnyslope Drive.

View of Desert Christ Park

InnaPoka /

It houses more than 40 sculptures of Christian saints, angels, and disciples made from white stone.

The focal point of this 3.5-acre park is the 15-feet tall replica of Brazil’s famous Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro.

Enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of this place, perfect for meditation, prayer, or simply an afternoon of relaxation.

The Desert Christ Park opens from 7 am to 6 pm daily.

View of Desert Christ Park

InnaPoka /

Check Out the Yucca Valley California Welcome Center

The Yucca Valley California Welcome Center is one of the 16 headquarters scattered around the state of California.

It is run by the Desert Regional Tourism Agency.

So, before you start your adventure in Yucca Valley, you should visit this place first.

Their hospitable and energetic ambassadors will fill your itinerary in Yucca Valley with suggestions for places to visit, hotels to stay, and restaurants to dine in.

They also provide you with a free map to guide you to Yucca Valley and its nearby attractions.

In addition, the Yucca Valley California Welcome Center has a gift shop, where you’ll find a wide array of souvenirs to bring back home.

To visit the welcome center, it is at 56711 Twentynine Palms Highway, Yucca Valley, CA.

They start welcoming visitors from 9 am to 4 pm daily.

Score Great Bargains at the Sky Village Outdoor Marketplace

The Sky Village Outdoor Marketplace serves as Yucca Valley’s local market, where most locals and visitors congregate every weekend.

If you’re looking for fabulous finds and quality bargains, this is your go-to place.

Vendors ranging from farmers, artisans, and Yucca Valley locals gather there every weekend to sell their brand-new wares, used wares, food, and produce at affordable prices.

In addition, it also has a café which serves all-day breakfast and famous Country Skillet and pastries.

Also, you can take pictures outside the famous Bob’s Crystal Cave, which is temporarily closed.

To visit the marketplace, it is at 7028 Theatre Road, Yucca Valley.

It is open on weekends from 5 am to 3 pm.

Discover Beautiful Furnitures at the Acme 5 Lifestyle

The Acme 5 Lifestyle in Yucca Valley is one of the two branches the company operates.

It is owned by well-known designer Anton Goss, who is popular for designing and making the television sets for popular TV shows such as Oprah Winfrey and The Voice.

He built his studio featuring his famous works and put them on sale in 2017.

Today, his company has grown to become a popular lifestyle brand that produces custom furniture pieces inspired by Bohemian modern and mid-century designs.

If you’re planning to upgrade your home’s interior with a brand furniture piece, you must check out Acme 5 Lifestyle at 55870 Twentynine Palms Highway, Yucca Valley, CA.

They start accommodating customers from 11 am to 5 pm daily.

Eat Mexican Food at Algoberto’s Taco Shop

Mexican food is already a staple in California, especially in the south.

Thus, if you’re craving Mexican food while exploring Yucca Valley, head to Algoberto’s Taco Shop.

Try their famous tacos, burritos, nachos, quesadillas, and other Mexican favorites.

Located at 56143 Twentynine Palms Highway, Yucca Valley, CA, Algoberto’s Taco Shop is popular among locals because of its authentic Mexican food.

The place may look compact, but it is always packed with people who queue in line to order their best sellers.

The taco shop starts serving their delicious Mexican food from 9 am to 10 pm daily.

Discover Yucca Valley’s History at Hi-Desert Nature Museum

Yucca Valley is a popular place for scenic desert landscapes.

The best place to learn about its natural beauty, you must visit the Hi-Desert Nature Museum.

It is where most of Yucca Valley’s geologic information is housed.

The nature museum has been operating for almost 60 years, making it a historically significant place in the small town.

The nature museum provides you with the best information about the town’s desert environment while shedding light on the Native Americans’ culture in the California desert.

Visiting a place wouldn’t be complete without learning about its history, so make sure to visit the Hi-Desert Nature Museum.

It is at 57090 Twentynine Palms Highway, Yucca Valley, CA.

Before visiting the museum, it would be better to check their website since their business hours differ.

Hike Along the High View Nature Loop Trail

Since Yucca Valley is adjacent to the Joshua Tree National Park, it would be great to test your endurance and hiking skills at the High View Nature Loop Trail before visiting the latter.

The trail covers 1.3 miles of natural trail, perfect for a family trekking or hiking.

It has a slight elevation of about a hundred meters or 325 feet, where you will be treated with the beautiful view of the Yucca Valley, San Gorgonio Mountain, and the horizon.

The trail is open from 6 am to 9 pm daily.

Indulge in a Hearty Meal at John’s Place

Aside from Mexican food, Yucca Valley has numerous restaurants that serve delicious American food, like John’s Place at 56249 Twentynine Palms Highway.

They are one of the local favorites because of their home-cooked meal and especially their cozy, simple restaurant.

Their menu consists of popular American food like burgers, steaks, sandwiches.

They also serve Mexican favorites like burritos, quesadillas, and tostada, among others.

If you’re hungry after an entire day exploring Yucca Valley and the Joshua Tree National Park, John’s Place is an excellent place to eat.

They start serving delicious meals from 7 am to 9 pm.

Bring Home Excellent Souvenirs at the Hoof & The Horn

The Joshua Tree National Park’s unofficial souvenir store, Hoof & The Horn, offers nicely designed vintage shirts and apparel.

The designs and logos are simply amazing, as these are inspired by the beautiful sunrises, sunsets, trees, dirt roads, mountain peaks, and long views of the famous park.

Their shirts have an excellent selection for men’s women’s and kids, plus they have other gift items for you to choose from.

To visit the Hoof & The Horn shop, they are at 55840 Twentynine Palms Highway.

The shop opens from 11 am to 6 pm daily.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Now that you’re done visiting Yucca Valley’s attractions, it’s time to head to its nearby attractions.

Ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

View of Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Keep Smiling Photography /

Further south of Yucca Valley takes you to Palm Springs, California, where you’ll find the world’s largest rotating aerial tramway, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

It started operating in September 1963.

It is a 41-minute drive southwest of Yucca Valley to reach the tramway entrance.

View of Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

inkknife_2000 (7.5 million views +), CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It lifts visitors from the Coachella Valley floor to the summit of San Jacinto Mountain with a total ascend of 8,516 feet.

It is a popular attraction that you must visit near Yucca Valley because of its majestic view above the mountains through its observation deck at the top.

There are also restaurants, a gift shop, and a mini-museum waiting for you at the top.

View of Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Steve Cukrov /

Other popular activities there are hiking, skiing, and snowshoeing, depending on what season.

The tramway is regularly open, but every September to October, it temporarily closes for its annual maintenance.

So better check its schedules at its website.

Start an Adventure in the Joshua Tree National Park

View of  Joshua Tree National Park

ThroughLensPhotosNVideos /

One of the main reasons why people visit Yucca Valley is the Joshua Tree National Park.

Yucca Valley is where most visitors in the park stay for the night before or after roaming around this famous attraction.

The Joshua Tree National Park doesn’t entirely need an introduction since most Americans have this park on their bucket list.

View of  Joshua Tree National Park

Gary C. Tognoni /

Probably, the best piece of advice to enjoy your visit here is to get to the entrance as early as possible.

It is because a lot of tourists’ queues in line at its entrance, especially at its west gate entrance.

The west gate entrance is 11.5 miles east of Yucca Valley’s downtown area.

Ultimately, bring water, extra clothes, and other hiking necessities when you’re planning to visit the national park.

Climb Rocks With Climbing Life Guide Service

The Joshua Tree National Park is teeming with outdoor activities for the entire family.

One of them is rock climbing supervised by the Climbing Life Guide Service.

It is a family-owned business that’s been catering to countless visitors for many years already.

They offer rock climbing sessions, courses, instruction, and classes for all ages.

They also offer the Joshua Tree nature walk tours around the park for those who want to enjoy the scenery rather than jump into action.

To book for their rock climbing or nature walk activities, visit their office at the 61117 Navajo Tr Joshua Tree, CA.

They open from 7 am to 7 pm daily.

Party in the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

View of Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

Tammy Lo from New York, NY, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Every year, the Coachella Valley in Palm Desert becomes an epicenter of international music and arts through the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

It happens every mid-April and runs for nearly ten days straight.

When you’re visiting Yucca Valley from Las Vegas, Utah, or Arizona, it would be awesome if you head straight to Coachella Valley to experience this event every April.

View of Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

Tammy Lo from New York, NY, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

For those unfamiliar with the Coachella festival, it is the largest congregation of established musical stars and emerging artists alike.

Concerts and live performances, after-parties, and colorful side events highlight this annual music festival.

To reach Palm Desert, it is a 42-minute drive south of Yucca Valley.

Take Photos at the Giant Rock

View of  Giant Rock

Kristi Allain /

A 20-minute drive north of Yucca Valley takes you to Landers, California, where you will find an incredible rock formation that you haven’t seen in your entire life.

The Giant Rock in Landers is the world’s tallest free-standing boulder with a height of a seven-story building.

This natural attraction in Landers is a spiritual retreat site for Native Americans and a popular UFO convention venue.

View of  Giant Rock

Kate Brogdon /

Also, this attraction was rumored before as a secret German spy hideout.

Regardless of how it was known by many, getting a closer look at the Giant Rock guarantees you a one-of-a-kind experience.

Camp at the Panorama Loop Trail

View of Panorama Loop Trail

Noah Sauve /

A popular hiking trail within the Joshua Tree National Park is the Panorama Loop Trail, a 10-minute drive south of the Yucca Valley downtown.

The entire trail stretches for about 6.25 miles, which is very friendly for beginners and children.

To complete your experience there, you can camp for the night at the Rock Canyon Campground at the entrance of the trail.

The entire trail takes you in the Joshua Tree National Park’s flora and fauna.

Further within the trail takes you to the Black Rock Spring and the Warren Peak.

Reaching Warren Peak gives you a scenic backdrop of Mount San Jacinto and the San Bernardino Mountains.

The Panorama Loop Trail is open for 24 hours.

Final thoughts

Yucca Valley is one of California’s roadside gems that you shouldn’t miss visiting one day.

It’s a place full of surprises worthy of your exploration.

From parks, restaurants, and shops, it has everything you’re looking for in a small desert oasis.

No wonder it was formerly known as Hollywood celebrities’ private escape destination.

When you’re ready to visit this town, make sure to visit any of the places we’ve listed in this post.

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