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Joshua Tree National Park - Ryan Camp

6554 Park Boulevard, Joshua Tree, CA 92256, Joshua Tree, California

Admin: M Kaputnik

The desert scenery at Joshua Tree National Park is stunningly beautiful, especially from Ryan Campground. From Ryan Campground, there are trails leading to Ryan Ranch, Lost Horse Mine, Wonderland of Rocks, the California Riding & Hiking Trail, and other destinations, all within 20 mile round trip rides or shorter. The camp can accommodate only four truck and trailer rigs. Truck/trailer lengths longer than 40' may have trouble fitting into the slots; call the park to ask if you can park in the "overflow" area next to the four shorter slots. There are tie rails but no corrals. It would be possible to put up portable corrals next to the tie rails but not next to the rigs (unless it is in the overflow area). There is no water at the campground, but you can fill up your tanks at the store across from the Visitors' Center (address below) called Coyote Corner for a "suggested donation" (I gave them $10 to fill up my 50 gallon drum). There are clean pit toilets at the campground, and each camping space has a fire ring, picnic table, a flat spot to set up tents, and lots of giant boulders ... everywhere. With the picturesque boulders surrounding it, Ryan Campground is a popular spot for rock climbers (my teenage daughter HAD to walk my dog around the camp every evening... ;-) ) and car campers, but the other campers have been quiet and respectful the times I've stayed there. Very close to the camp is Ryan Ranch, the adobe remains of the ranch buildings that gave the area its name, and the surrounding boulders are replete with Native American camp sites, rock shelters, and grinding holes. When we returned from riding, my group had fun looking for grinding holes and shelters, and walking around the adobe ruins The trails usually follow washes and are sandy, but some trails over the passes through the hills can be rocky. You can ride through Joshua Tree forests and past giant boulder fields into valleys where you can explore the remains of mining activity. My significant other doesn't ride but is a plein air painter and painted while my daughter and I were riding. His painting of the "Headstone" at Ryan Campground won best of show at the park's 100th year celebration last September. Be aware: Once you leave camp or ride away from the paved roads, you are --in the desert-- and on your own. There is no cell service at Ryan Campground. Be sure your truck is in good running condition and fill up with gas/diesel in the town of Joshua Tree before you venture into the park. Be sure you have plenty of food and water WITH YOU as you ride, that you take a warm jacket and rain gear with you on your rides. Bring pliers in case you tangle with jumping cholla cactus (it only takes once and you will steer clear forever after). Do not attempt to camp here from April to September as the temperatures can exceed 100 degrees in the summer. It can snow at Ryan Campground in the winter. The best time to visit is late February through early April, and late September through early December. Watch the weather forecasts and DO NOT go if rain is in the forecast. Ryan Campground is at 33.983198, -116.155529 which is about 14 miles from the West Entrance Visitors' Center into Joshua Tree National Park. JTNP equestrian info: https://www.nps.gov/jotr/planyourvisit/horseback-riding.htm West entrance equestrian info and trail map: https://www.nps.gov/jotr/planyourvisit/upload/HorsebackRidingWest.pdf

TRAIL HEAD

Ryan Campground

TYPE OF DESTINATION

Primitive Camping with no Facilities - Trail Head, Nat’l Park, Wilderness, etc.
Effort level - Easy, Beginner|Moderate|Challenging, Experienced Trail Riders

AMENITIES FOR 2 LEGGED -

-- No Amenities Available

-- Porta-potty's / Pit Toilets

-- Garbage Containment

-- No Water / Bring your own water

AMENITIES FOR 4 LEGGED -

-- No Horse Containment Available

-- Pack in / Pack out

-- Dogs Allowed in Camp

-- Dogs Must be on a Leash

-- No Dogs Allowed on Trails Period

MILES OF DESTINATION / ACREAGE OF PUBLIC LANDS / # OF DAYS’ WORTH OF RIDING

253 miles of equestrian trails and corridors within the 1,235 square miles of park land .

TYPE OF LAND

- Public Land

- National Land

ACCESS TO TRAILS

- Trails right from location

Type of Footing on the trails

- Sandy, Desert, Dry

- Gravel, Rock

Type of Terrain

- Flat

- Hills

- Challenging Trails / Terrain

- Caution: Trails are not well maintained and / or well-marked

TYPE OF HORSE I WAS RIDING

- Gaited

- Non-Gaited

- Mule / Donkey

LOCAL WILDLIFE

Coyotes, birds, reptiles

PEAK RIDING SEASON / WEATHER

Do not attempt to camp here from April to September as the temperatures can exceed 100 degrees in the summer. It can snow at Ryan Campground in the winter. The best time to visit is late February th

COMMENTS

Margaret Linklater

Awesome photos

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