Pioneertown easily can be confused for a step back in time onto a Wild West Hollywood movie set. It was built by a group of Hollywood investors, including Roy Rogers and Gene Autry in 1946. The old flavor lives on but it since has been setup to cater to the stylings of modern living.
Pappy and Harriet's Pioneertown Palace is a great place to start, and it's where you can catch live music. Rockers Robert Plant, Leon Russell and Paul McCartney have played this joint, and future stars are bound to be discovered here.
When you've taken in the Old West gunfights on Mane Street (pun intended) and have sauntered the past the false-fronts of the jail and saloon, the Mojave Desert and Joshua Tree National Park await beyond the town's borders. But take your time. They aren't going anywhere.
The quickest route to Pioneertown in Yucca Valley is a flight to Palm Springs. And Greyhound can get you to this dusty Wild West scene in the Mojave Desert. But the grandest spirit of adventure for this getaway is in the road trip, hands on the wheel and wind in your hair.
By car, the drive is seven and a half hours. It's just shy of 500 miles from the heart of San Francisco by I-5 and through Bakersfield. From there, take CA-58 to CA-247 (in Lenwood), and that's your line until you exit for Pioneertown on Pipes Canyon Road.
The Super 8 Yucca Valley is a big bang-for-your-buck hotel that puts you in the heart of it all. Joshua Tree National Park is only five miles away. The Hi-Desert Nature Museum is only 3 miles. Feel like a day of shopping in Palm Springs, it's less than 35 miles southwest. The Super 8 Yucca Valley offers an outdoor swimming pool, free internet and a daily continental breakfast, too.
America's Best Value Inn & Suites has some sweet, sweet spaces. Ask for the Jungle, Cave or Rockin' Fifties rooms, or one of the other unique and unforgettable spots to relax in a private hot tub and kick back. America's Best is only minutes from Joshua Tree National Park and more of the landscape and restaurants that will fill your getaway to Yucca Valley.
The Pioneertown Motel was built for the biggest movie stars of the 1940s and it has been lovingly restored over a two-year period, keeping that Hollywood and Old West history in mind. The motel is surrounded by protected lands and rare California flat-top mesas. This is the spot for feeling the desert, and for immersing in solitude and star-drenched night skies.
Pappy & Harriet's Pioneertown Palace is the must-stop spot in Pioneertown, for food, fun, entertainment, and all around Pioneertown experience. The food is delicious. The staff is amazingly friendly and accommodating. While the menu is pretty darn good throughout, consider the catfish sandwich that some describe as "stellar" and "best ever." And the chili nachos get praise for pretty tasty flavor, too. And the environment simply is one of a kind. Must. Go.
La Copine is a hot spot for eats in the desert, offering two menus: omnivore and vegetarian. Travelers far and wide give La Copine shoutouts for its quality of cuisine. The staff also is welcoming and aims to please. Occasionally, the French name sparks some "yeah, right" chuckles. Don't be fooled. La Copine is a must-stop meal when Yucca Valley calls.
John's Place is a staple for American breakfast (all day), lunch and dinner. If its crowded when you arrive, trust that its well-deserved. It's a casual spot that welcomes you right from the trails of the Mojave and Joshua Tree National Park in to cool down and fill up.
Desert Christ Park in Yucca Valley is a one-of-a-kind garden of more than 40 concrete sculptures. Visitors can stroll through the garden and enjoy a picnic. Admission is free and the spiritual boost is priceless. Where else can you you take a picture with Jesus and the Twelve Apostles at the Last Supper?
Joshua Tree National Park is the #1 attraction in the area. Rightly so. Its rock formations are outstanding, and the Joshua Trees are iconic for more reasons than gracing the famed album of even more famed rock band U2. Take a driving tour through the park or hike it on your own two feet. Rock climbing, slacklining, mountain biking, horseback riding, camping ... the list of awesome goes on. It's an outdoor paradise.
The Hi-Desert Nature Museum has 40 years under its belt with shining light on the rich cultural heritage and natural history of this area. The museum also has one-, three- and five-day itineraries at the ready to help you get the most out of your time in Yucca Valley. Add that to the depth of inside information you can collect with a tour through the exhibits, and you'll be ready to make a buck as a guide out in the Yucca Valley wild.
To see what's really happening in Yucca Valley, hit-up the weekend swap meet at the Sky Village Outdoor Marketplace. Take a stroll through this eclectic junk-to-gems joint and see what's been hiding in this desert region, dug out by a character with charm and amazing knowledge of what once was. Give haggling a try or just people watch. It's worth a go.
The Sky's the Limit Observatory in nearby Twentynine Palms is the best place to dip into the night sky, with the expert knowledge of the staff on hand. Enjoy one of the observatory's night time stargazing opportunities. It will give you a new perspective of the night, and of your desert oasis getaway.