Yucca Valley, California
San Bernardino County
Location / Description
Yucca Valley is located in southern California's San Bernardino County on the northern edge of Joshua Tree National Park. It is among a group of communities, including Joshua Tree, Landers and Twentynine Palms, occupying the Morongo Basin of the southeastern Mojave Desert.
Because the U.S. Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center occupies hundreds of thousands of acres to the north, the city of Yucca Valley is home to many military personnel and their families.
Population / Elevation
35,000 / 3,279 feet above sea level
Weather / Climate
Joshua Tree National Park - Nine campgrounds within the park
Shoshone-speaking Chemuevi and Serrano Indians occupied the Morongo Basin (about half of which is occupied by the city of Yucca Valley) until a smallpox epidemic decimated them in the 1880s. By that time, the area was being prospected by Americans, Mexicans and Chinese.
In 1881, Chuck Warren leased grazing land and after hand digging a well, opened the area to ranching. After the turn of the century, homesteaders began arriving in the area, and in the attendant fencing of lands, feuds between ranchers and homesteaders ensued.
After World War II, smaller homesteading plots allowed veterans with health problems to take up residence and after highway improvements were made, tourists and the movie industry were attracted. The city of Yucca Valley was incorporated November 27, 1991.
- January: Ballet Concert (Y.V. High School)
- February: Healthy Hearts 5k Run
- March: Wildflowers (Hi-Desert Museum)
- April: Joshua Tree National Park Art Festival
- May: Grubstake Days
- June: Great Vibrations (Hi-Desert Museum)
- July: Junior Naturalist Camps (Hi-Desert Museum)
- August: Summer Art Show (29 Palms)
- September: Saddle Circuit Fall Fling (29 Palms)
- October: Starry Nights Festival
- November: Annual Weed Show (29 Palms)
December: Holiday Craft Fair
- February: Healthy Hearts 5k Run
- DesertUSA Trading Post
- Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifoilia)
- Inselbergs: The Unique Rock Formations at Joshua Tree National Park
- Rock Climbing at Joshua Tree National Park
- Mountain Bike Trails in Joshua Tree National Park
- Old Dale Road/Gold Crown Road 4WD Expedition
- Sheer Fear: Desert Rock Climbing at Joshua Tree National Park
Cities & Towns
- Twentynine Palms, California: 26 miles east.
- Victorville, California: 68 miles northwest.
- Barstow, California: 81 miles north.
- Palm Spings, California: 28 miles south.
Parks & Monuments
- Joshua Tree National Park: 12 miles east.
- Desert Christ Park: Public facility displays the late sculptor Antone Martin's giant biblical statues sand tableau. Picnic and restroom facilities. Free.
- Covington Park: Once the site of a Morongo Indian village, it has tennis courts, volleyball courts and a picnic area as well as a dance pavilion.
Wilderness & Recreation Areas
- Sunfair Dry Lake: Recreation area for all-terrain vehicles (ATV) on the site of an ancient lake.
- Mojave National Preserve: The Desert Protection Act created the 1.4 million-acre Mojave National Preserve in the heart of the Mojave Desert.
- Big Morongo Canyon Wildlife Preserve: Used by Native Americans as an easy route between low and high deserts, these 3,900 acres are a world renowned small bird sanctuary. (BLM)
- Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area: A varied landscape for the off-highway vehicles, punctuated by steep red rocky mountains, rolling hills, open valleys, dry lake beds and sandy washes. (BLM)
- Trilobite Wilderness Area: 31, 160 acres of Desert Wilderness Area containing trilobite fossils. (BLM)
- Sheephole Valley Wilderness Area: 174,800 acres of Desert Wilderness Area. (BLM)
- Cleghorn Lakes Wilderness Area: 33,980 acres of Desert Wilderness Area. (BLM)
- Cadiz Dunes Wilderness Area: 39,740 acres of Desert Wilderness Area. The Cadiz Sand Dunes, with their unique flora and fauna, are the focal point of this wilderness. (BLM)
- San Gorgonio Wilderness Area: BLM wilderness area east of San Gorgonio.
- Bighorn Mountains Wilderness Area: The rugged Bighorn Mountains in the north-central portion of this wilderness are the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains. Encompasses 39,185 acres of desert floor as well as 7,500-foot high Granite Peak. (BLM)
Historic & Points of Interest
- Pioneertown: A town created by the movie industry as permanent old west movie set, now private homes maintain the theme.
- Willie Boy Grave Site: A Paiute brave, Willie Boy was the subject of the last great western manhunt (4x4 recommended).
- Gubler Orchid Ranch: Located in Landers, ranch offers picnic and restroom facilities. Free.
- Giant Rock: Located in Landers, this is the world's largest single boulder, 7 stories high and weighing 23,000 tons.
- Hi-Desert Nature Museum: Exhibits of desert plants, animals and minerals. Free. 760-369-7212.
- Old Route 62: From the Mojave to the Sonoran Desert
Related DesertUSA Pages
- How to Turn Your Smartphone into a Survival Tool
- 26 Tips for Surviving in the Desert
- Death by GPS
- 7 Smartphone Apps to Improve Your Camping Experience
- Maps Parks and More
- Desert Survival Skills
- How to Keep Ice Cold in the Desert
- Desert Rocks, Minerals & Geology Index
- Preparing an Emergency Survival Kit
- Get the Best Hotel and Motel Rates
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