Hicksville Trailer Palace – Joshua Tree, California - Atlas Obscura
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Joshua Tree, California

Hicksville Trailer Palace

An eclectic trailer park retreat in the middle of the California desert. 

Down a long, dirt road at an undisclosed location deep inside Joshua Tree, artistic types needing inspiration can find an unlikely oasis.

As you arrive at the tall, maroon-colored wooden fence, you will see a curious assortment of personalized parking spots: “The New World,” “The Integratrailor,” “The Pioneer,” “The Sweet,” “The Lux,” “The Pony,” “The Fifi,” and “The Sideshow.” These are the puzzling names of the eight trailers in which you can reside at Hicksville Trailer Park Motel and Artist Retreat.

Los Angeles writer and director Morgan Higby Night opened Hicksville in 2010. A longtime admirer of the mysterious and lovely Joshua Tree, he wanted a place to work on his films uninterrupted, and decided to share his hideaway with others. He started collecting vintage trailers and designing each according to a unique theme–some inspired by films or bands, some just plain weird. With a full recording studio and film-editing bay, Hicksville became the perfect place for many to find their muse. Eventually Night decided to open Hicksville up as a motel as well, so that people in every line of work could enjoy the magical place he created.

Privacy is paramount: Only guests are allowed inside the gates, which stay locked at all times. No GPS locators are permitted, and the actual location isn’t even disclosed to guests until the day before arrival. When you arrive, a gatekeeper meets you outside and asks for your reservation paperwork and ID before you can peek beyond the big red fence. But once the gates open, you are granted access to the coolest trailer park on earth–a bizarro desert wonderland on shockingly green astro turf.

The desolate brown landscape of the Mojave Desert disappears inside the gates, and in its place is a trailer park straight out of a John Waters film (with some David Lynch thrown in for good measure). Each trailer stands out as its own little world, completely unique yet somehow complementary to the others. Nighttime comes with a surreal light show: The Lux’s tiki torch flares, The Pony’s green light sets the adjacent corral aglow, The Integratrailor beams red like Venus—whose inhabitants, legend says, inspired the trailer’s namesake Integratron.

Hicksville feels less like a motel and more like a resort. The rules are few and simple: Don’t shoot each other with arrows or BBs from the shooting range, don’t smoke anything in the trailers, don’t leave fires unattended, and please don’t have relations in the rooftop hot tub. Otherwise, you’re free to play, explore, and enjoy all of the weirdness and the wonderfulness that exists within the fence. Mr. Night may even come out and have a drink with you, pulling a cold one from his beer-dispensing machine while a never-ending selection of great music plays on the jukebox. With every inch of the property painstakingly cared for and meticulously detailed, you truly feel like you have stepped out of reality and into quite possibly the best movie ever–starring you.

Know Before You Go

The exact location of Hicksville is a secret. Visit their site for more information and reservations: www. hicksville.com