Desert View Conservation Area – Joshua Tree, California - Atlas Obscura
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Desert View Conservation Area

This conservation area is also home to many of the region's desert tortoises.  

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This hidden mountain biking and hiking destination is located just outside of Joshua Tree National Park.

The Desert View Conservation Area, also known by the Bureau of Land Management as “Section 6,” is currently managed by the San Bernardino County Special Districts Department. The area was originally intended to become a robust recreation park area similar to Joshua Tree National Park.

However, the local Joshua Tree community instead wanted to preserve the 605 acres of natural desert habitat for desert tortoises. Conservation of the tortoises is why the area is limited to day-use only. For visitors to the area, there is a greater likelihood of spotting various other desert wildlife, such as bighorn sheep, wild cats, and other reptiles during the day. 

There are plenty of hiking, mountain biking, and horseback trails across the Desert View Conservation Area. The region also provides amazing views of the Yucca Valley and Landers. Although it’s relatively close to Joshua Tree National Park, it’s surprisingly secluded and quiet. It can feel as though you’re the only person left on the planet.

Know Before You Go

When driving south on Park Boulevard towards Joshua Tree National Park, you'll see a green street sign for Onaga Trail to your left. Drive slowly, as you can easily pass it. Proceed to turn left onto Onaga Trail. You'll be driving on unpaved roads and sand, so please make sure your car or rental can handle it and drive slowly. TIP: Always a good idea to keep wood planks handy when you're driving around in desert sand. Do not make your own trails when biking or hiking. Bring a camera.