where to go horseback riding in Joshua Tree

Where To Go Horseback Riding In Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree has long been famous for its world-class hiking, camping, and rock climbing desert ecosystem with majestic sceneries that will have your eyes feast at every turn. But where to go horseback riding in Joshua Tree?

Horseback riding is the perfect way to explore the silhouette that tells the story of the beauty and survival of the Joshua Tree.

The numerous horse trails, ancient groves, and seasonal waterfalls will make you crave to be part of the desert ecosystem.

Where to go horseback riding in Joshua Tree? National Park horseback riding dates back decades. Several ranches and stables offer horseback riding activities in Joshua Tree.

Here are popular equine stops for rustic and safe desert rides through Joshua Tree.

Horseback Riding In Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree National Park

If you’re looking for a place to ride your horse in Joshua Tree, you cannot go wrong with Joshua Tree National Park.

This equestrian facility is open to all levels of horsemen and women, from beginners to experienced riders. 

The horseback riding trails are a great way to get in touch with nature while enjoying the beautiful scenery of Joshua Tree. Plus, they are easy and designed for all levels of riders. 

Section A: The Nothern Part

The North Section of Joshua Tree National Park offers riders a variety of options: from the challenging, hilly terrain of the White Tank Mountains to the serene scenery of the Los Padres National Forest and Cienega Valley. 

Riders can stay at the facility or camp at one of the many campgrounds around Joshua Tree. The staff provides all necessary equipment for your trip, including a helmet and boots.

If you are more adventurous and want to explore more outside the park on your own, the park offers horseback riding tours with a guide. 

If you’re not an experienced rider but want to try it, don’t worry! The friendly guides will teach you everything you need to know about riding before your journey!

Section B: The Southern Part

The South Section is great for riders who like a simple riding adventure. With rolling hills, flat trails, and plenty of opportunities for scenic views, this section offers some of the most fun trails in the park! 

The Cienega Valley Trail is a popular choice for those looking for something more challenging than that.

This section offers plenty of options—from single track to double track to dirt roads, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to get your adrenaline pumping. 

The South Section is also home to the famous Skyline Trail, which offers some of the best views in the entire park.

This trail starts at a higher altitude than most others, so you’ll get a chance to see some stunning vistas before reaching the bottom!

Once you get to the mountain base, you can choose between trails that lead back up or down into different parts of the park.

Horseback Riding In Joshua Tree

Section C: The Eastern And Western Part

The East and the West sections each offer their own unique experiences—from easy dirt trails to more challenging single tracks.

This section is home to the park’s most popular trail, The Gauntlet. The trail is a favorite for horseback riding because it has plenty of obstacles and challenging terrain for riders of all skill levels. 

There are plenty of trails for riders, hikers, and nature lovers to enjoy! In addition, the West Section offers a more relaxed experience and features some of the best views in the park.

The most popular trail in this section is the Piney Grove Loop, which is a 2.5-mile loop that can be ridden by mountain bikes or on foot.

Ranch Tour

Before Joshua Tree National Park found a home in the high desert county, some ranchers used to get their livelihood from homesteading, mining, and cattle ranching.

One of the pioneers is William F. Keys, whose legacy symbolizes ingenuity and hard work in the Mojave Desert. 

The park rangers will guide you through the ranch tour, the story of Frances and Bill. They tried to make a living in a remote location and raise their five kids.

The ranch house, workshop, store, schoolhouse, and replanted orchard are still standing. Trucks, cars, spare parts, and mining equipment are still on the grounds.

The park does not allow horseback riding on the tour to preserve the ranch’s history. The tours last for 90 minutes and are half a mile long. 

Special Packages

Special events like the Piney Grove Challenge and Mud Run happen annually. These events are open to anyone who wants to participate in them! Joshua Tree National Park offers special packages for horseback riders every season and even a campground for those who wish to stay overnight.

Whatever your preference, you can find an adventure to suit your needs at Joshua Tree National Park for horseback riding! 

In addition, you can find other trails to explore in this area, such as the Indian Cove Trailhead and the Keys View Trail.

All these make for great ways to enjoy some time outdoors without getting too far away from civilization!


  • Ranger programs 
  • Camping
  • Rock climbing
  • Ranch tours
  • Hiking
  • Commercial tours

Address: California, United States

Website: https://www.nps.gov/jotr/index.htm

Phone: +1 760-367-5500

Other Spots for Horseback Riding 

Horseback Riding In Joshua Tree

As mentioned earlier, most ranches include riding through the Joshua Tree National Park. So, if you would like something different other than the park adventures, these stables may strike a good deal for you:

Knob Hill Ranch

Address: 57840 Cortez Dr, Yucca Valley, CA 92284

Website: https://www.knobhillranch.com/

Phone: +1 760-821-7525

Cottonwood Canyon Ranch

Address: 48949 Canyon House Rd, Morongo Valley, CA 92256, United States

Website: https://guidedtrailrides.net/

Phone: +1 760-447-1014

Crazy Horse Ranch

Address: 50440 Cheyenne Trail, Morongo Valley, CA 92256, United States

Website: https://www.crazyhorseranch.biz/

Phone: +1 760-831-6450

Coyote Ridge Stables

Address: 50639 Panorama Dr, Morongo Valley, CA 92256, United States

Website: http://www.coyoteridgestable.com/

Phone: +1 760-799-5182

What Do You Wear To Joshua Tree?

Whether a day adventurist or camping overnight, these essentials will get you covered during your trip to Joshua Tree. 

  • Shoes – Considering the sandy and dry terrains and lots of trails in Joshua Tree, you need to choose the right type of shoes before planning the trip. Consider breathable and lightweight shoes if your trip schedule is during the summer. Get a pair with good treads that supports your ankles and are flexible when doing all your activities. 
  • Tops – A breathable, buttoned shirt would be stylish and great for coping with the hot weather. A lightweight t-shirt is also a good option, especially with long sleeves to protect you from direct sun rays. If you are tempted to wear a vest, lather yourself with sunscreen.
  • Bottoms – These are not popular for horseback rid. However, shorts can keep you cool. Opt for trail shorts that are durable but flexible to keep you comfortable. Long pants would be better to protect your ankles from cactus spines.  
  • Jackets – This may sound uncalled for, but depending on the season, you will appreciate a lightweight rain jacket. Temperatures in Joshua Trees vary up to 45 degrees in a day!

Remember to pack up these items for your trip:

  • Backpack
  • Daypack (for daytrippers)
  • Sun hat
  • Water bottle

Recommended but not necessary:

  • Flashlight
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Snacks
  • Sunglasses
  • First aid kit
  • Binoculars

Are There Dangers In Joshua Tree?

As expected of deserts, Joshua Tree is home to venomous animals like the black widow spiders, scorpions, and rattlesnakes.

However, this shouldn’t alarm you! Joshua Tree ranchers and guides are highly skilled and experienced to keep you safe and handle dangerous encounters. 

While the trips are guided, a safe and enjoyable adventure is your responsibility. Here are a few essential things you need to know before your next trip to Joshua Tree:

It’s Scorching Hot!

Horseback Riding In Joshua Tree

In Joshua Trees, expect low humidity, intense sunlight, and high temperatures in the summer.

Drink enough water (at least one gallon per day) to avoid dehydration from too much sweat. The park has portable water at every edge. 

Your body needs calories and electrolytes for outdoor activities. Don’t forget to carry plenty of salty snacks.

Also, consider sunscreen, sunglasses, and light-colored and loose-fitting hats for sun protection. 

Keep The Wildlife Wild

Most wild animals are dangerous when approached. They may also carry deadly diseases like rabies, hantavirus, and plague. So be careful when viewing or taking pictures with the animals. 

It’s naturally exciting to encounter wildlife, but it’s your responsibility to keep the wild undisturbed – remember you’re a visitor in their territory.

Some animals don’t find it friendly and may become aggressive. Don’t be tempted to feed the animals. 

Drive Carefully

Considering park roads are sandy, winding, and narrow, be careful with the speed limit posts. Avoid stopping in the travel lanes when viewing sceneries and wildlife.

Stop in the nearby parking lots and pullouts to avoid accidents.  

Be Wary Of Flash Floods

Sometimes the weather may change suddenly in the middle of adventures. In case of a rainstorm, do not by any means ride by the washes and canyons. Instead, to the high places – with a guide!

When Is The Best Time To Visit Joshua Tree?

While Joshua Tree is open year-round, horseback riding is enjoyable in the fall and spring. Temperatures may rise to 60 degrees at this time of the season.

At night, temperatures may get as low as 30 degrees during winter and 60 degrees during the daytime. 


Joshua Tree is an equine paradise with endless horseback activities. While enjoying the breathtaking sceneries and the rare ancient sites, take note of the hazardous site and the wildlife.

Thus, you can never go wrong with the numerous private stables but make a reservation after researching the policies.