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Why Settle for a Tour When You Deserve a Real Learning Adventure?

If your group, large or small, is searching for a special experience in Joshua Tree National Park tailored to your interests, the Desert Institute will design an educational class for you making sure that the expert instruction is just what you are looking for. The activity level and optional field component will match your itinerary perfectly for one-day or multi-day excursions.

Our most popular custom-designed programs are below:

Day with a Desert Naturalist
Learn the secrets of Joshua Tree National Park in an all-day field class with a desert naturalist. Groups will explore the unique landscape of the park focusing on an area of interest to them. Common topics to be covered are: geology, cultural history, flora, and ecology found in the vast valleys, rock mazes, desert cactus gardens, and Joshua tree forests. Most programs cover eight miles at a moderate pace with uneven terrain and moderate elevation gain.

Sunrise or Sunset Photographic Workshops with a Master Photographer
Let us show you where and how to take stunning sunrise or sunset images in the Joshua Tree National Park! We can create a customized program to spend four hours in the morning or evening photographing the iconic boulders and joshua trees. This workshop is perfect for those photographers looking to work on composition and creating unique and original imagery. Working with our instructors will help you make sense of the landscape and begin to understand how to make unique and effective images in this truly bizarre and wonderful terrain. If you’re just a beginner, no problem, this workshop will provide you with beginning instruction in landscape photography, filter use, and sunset or sunrise silhouettes.

Discover Eagle Cliff Mine
The Eagle Cliff Mine is nestled deep in the wilderness of the Joshua Tree National Park, a secluded rocky fortress for those with a spirit of adventure. This all-day field class, led by an outdoor guide and desert naturalist, will explore the rugged hills and massive boulder piles traveling 6-8 miles through moderate terrain with some steep sections. Participants will travel to one of the best preserved miners’ cabins in the park on a secluded plateau in the heart of the Eagle Cliff Hills. This cultural site is known for its boulder house with window panes, cooking area, and roof made partially of flattened stove pipes. Participants will learn about the forces that shaped the geological landscape along the trail and cultural mining history that caused the hills to be mineral rich, and the story of the miners who eked out a living on their rocky slopes.


Program Cost (rates effective through June 2016)

1 – 6 Participants, Half day – $300

1 – 6 Participants, Full day – $500

7 + Participants, please call for rates

For more information contact the Desert Institute office: or (760) 367-5535