If you plan on taking your dog to Joshua Tree you need to do a little research. In general National Parks are not dog-friendly. Dogs disrupt the ecosystem inside the park so they are very limited as to where they are allowed. These limits help protect plants, wildlife, and your dog.
Where Dogs Are Allowed in Joshua Tree
Inside Joshua Tree National Park dogs are allowed 100 feet from paved roads, in the campgrounds, picnic areas, on dirt driving roads, and at Keys Point because the short walk up to the lookout is paved. That’s it. In addition, your dog has to be on a leash no longer than 6 feet at all times.
Where Dogs are not Allowed
Inside Joshua, Tree dogs are not allowed on any hiking trails. As much as you want to take your dog with you to see Skull Rock they are not allowed. They are not allowed inside any buildings and they can not be left inside your vehicle.
Our First Stop Inside Joshua Tree
We entered the park through the West entrance. Our first stop was at the picnic area at Hidden Valley. The dogs were able to walk around the picnic area on their leashes and Kiana was able to climb on some of the rocks. We watched some ladies rock climbing and noticed that they were working with Mojave Guides. Booking an adventure with them might be a fun option for a time you are visiting without dogs.
Our Second Stop
Tanya was driving her Jeep so we decided to try out a dirt road. Queen Valley Road is all dirt and small cars are supposed to use caution, however, the day we were there the road was in perfect condition and safe for all to travel on. Tanya parked on a small turn out and we walked the dogs right down the middle of the road. A few cars passed us and we just hung out on the edge to let them get by, but in general, there are far fewer people on the dirt roads than on the main paved roads. After Queen Valley Road we drove down Geology Tour Road which is also a dirt road. We ended up turning around because we had just walked the dogs and they were all settled in the jeep.
We drove up to Keys Point and because the short walk to the top is paved dogs are allowed to look too. The view is beautiful. You can see all of the Coachella Valley and both Mt. San Jacinto and San Gorgonio. It was a beautiful February day so both mountains were covered in snow. The walkway at Keys Point is a little loop, so after we had all taken in the view we walked back down to the Jeep.
Lunch Time in Joshua Tree
There are no food services available inside the park. We brought our lunches and plenty of water for ourselves and the dogs. All of the picnic tables were taken at the Jumbo Rock picnic area, but we found a spot to sit at the base of the rocks. After lunch, we walked the dogs around a little bit, and then it was time for us to head home.
Final Thoughts on Bringing a Dog
Tanya and I both agreed that the dogs had fun, but it wasn’t as fun as sheepherding. Next time we head to Joshua Tree National Park we’ll leave the dogs at home so we can do some hiking and explore the rocks.