Joshua Tree Weekend Cycling

Trip Length 3 Days
Group Size 4-10
Activity level
Starting from
$1,599 for REI Members
$1,759 for non-members
Departures Oct 2023-Dec 2024

Spend three days riding and exploring the unparalleled beauty of Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California. Marvel at spectacular views of the Milky Way in one of the few Dark Sky Parks in the world from the comfort of your REI Classic Camp.

Known for its towering boulder piles and the twisty, spiky trees that speckle its landscape, Joshua Tree sits where the high Mojave Desert meets the lower Colorado Desert. In three days, this tour takes us along all the cyclable paved roads in the park.

After a brief rendezvous with our trip guides in Palm Springs, we begin our experience with sweeping desert views, diverse ecosystems, and the fascinating history surrounding us as we explore Joshua Tree National Park. We ride drop-bar or flat-bar road bikes, or you can bring your own—all fitted for your comfort. We make the most of our time together in the saddle with a well-oiled itinerary, and spend both nights camping in ultimate comfort under star-speckled skies. During the day, we tour through the park, enjoying stunning vistas of local flora, fauna and daring rock climbers. 

Expect majestic views, heart-pumping ascents and time out of the saddle to immerse ourselves in the landscape. Take a stroll among the Joshua Trees and take in the beauty of this one-of-a-kind American treasure.

As we drop to lower elevations in the park, the climate becomes perfect for a remarkable concentration of cacti: the Cholla Cactus Garden.

Trip Highlights

  • Three days of cycling in Joshua Tree National Park with all services included
  • Cycle to Keys View with panoramic views of the Salton Sea, San Jacinto and San Gorgonio Peaks
  • REI Classic Camping under the stars in a designated International Dark Sky Park
  • Visit historic Pioneertown, the set of more than 50 old western movie and TV shows


This trip is rated Moderate [3]. Participants should have cycling experience and be comfortable in the saddle for 4–5 hours per day. Rides consist of both moderate and more vigorous cycling days covering 31–42 miles in distance. Vehicle support will be available throughout the trip when needed.

We recommend a conditioning program beginning at least 2 months prior to departure that incorporates rides of at least 25–35 miles. The better cycling shape you're in, the more you'll enjoy all this trip has to offer!

  • Cycling
  • Road Cycling

What's Included

Two professional guides; all meals as noted in the daily itinerary; transfers as noted on the daily itinerary; tent; sleeping pad; group cooking and camping gear; all park fees and permits. Guest’s choice of Drop Bar or Flat Bar Road Bike.


Camping, 2 nights

Your wheels for the journey

Every great tour begins with a great bike, and our top-flight fleet has been carefully curated for your cycling adventure.

Want to bring your own bike?  On many of our adventures you can!

Your Adventure Itinerary

Itinerary map for Joshua Tree Weekend Cycling
Day 1

Taste of Joshua Tree National Park

Our trip begins this morning in the lobby of our host hotel in Palm Springs, California. We travel north to Pioneertown, explore the Old West motion-picture set before our bike fitting then hop in the saddle for our first ride. We’ll have a gentle climb into Joshua Tree National Park before beginning our ascent to some of the most iconic sections in the Park. We’ll take time to get off our bikes and wander among the Joshua Trees on a few, short walks. We set up our REI Classic Camp for the next two nights tucked away among the iconic boulder piles and enjoy a mouth-watering meal prepared by our guides. Lunch and dinner included. We use primitive cleanup facilities as the Park does not have established shower facilities. Joshua Tree is a designated International Dark Sky Park and puts a whole new spin on sleeping under the stars.

Cycling: 36 miles (3–6 hours, paved road), Elevation gain/loss: +2,204'/-1,731'; Hiking: up to 5.8 miles (optional), Elevation gain/loss: 1,248'; Van transfer: 45 mins

Day 2

The Heart of Joshua Tree National Park

After breakfast in camp, we’ll prepare for the day's ride. We start with a climb to Keys View, where we’ll enjoy spectacular views of the Salton Sea. Afterward, we explore the northeast end of the Park and experience an exhilarating descent (2,700’) to Twentynine Palms, making a stop at the Oasis of Mara before a short shuttle back to camp. If the group likes, we could cycle back to camp instead to extend the ride. Those who need a "real" shower can shuttle to Coyote Corner or freshen up with a bird bath at camp. Another delicious guide-prepared meal awaits before we relax around the campfire, sharing stories of the day’s travels and preparing for tomorrow’s adventure. All meals included.

Cycling: 33 miles (4–5 hours, paved road), Elevation gain/loss: +1,291'/-3,839'; Van transfer: 30 mins

Day 3

Joshua Tree to the Coachella Valley, then back to Palm Springs

Our next stop is the Coachella Valley. After breakfast and breaking down camp, we saddle up for our roller-coaster ride to the Coachella Valley. Once we make our turn south, we descend through the various "life zones" of this desert environment—areas of similar plant and animal communities. We say our farewells to the majestic joshua trees and find ourselves surrounded by beautiful valleys of ocotillo plants and cholla cacti. Depending on the time of year, we may find the ocotillo in bloom, dotting the landscape with bright, red flowers. When we reach the southern terminus of the park road we'll have descended approximately 4,500 feet into the valley. After lunch, we load into the van and head back to Palm Springs, arriving late this afternoon. Breakfast and lunch included.

Cycling: 44 miles (5–8 hours, paved road), Elevation gain/loss: +1,879'/-4,489'; Van transfer: 1 hour

Itinerary map for Joshua Tree Weekend Cycling

Gear List

This gear list has been created to help you choose the best equipment for the trip. Try to bring only what is necessary, as this will help you and the field staff. The weather and other conditions at the time of your arrival will dictate what clothing and equipment you will be required to use each day and what (if anything) can be left behind. It may be a necessary precaution that you bring certain items on the list, even if it is uncertain whether or not they will be needed.

Already booked this trip? Sign into your online traveler profile for a more detailed list of what you'll need.

REI members can shop for gently used gear online or at most REI stores. Members can also trade in pre-loved used gear online or at any REI store in exchange for REI gift card credit. Check out Re/Supply at REI to learn more.

Collection of selected R E I Co-op cycling merchandise and snacks laid out to pack for a bike tour

What to pack

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 1 (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales ( 1 (800) 426-4840 ) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.