Step On Guides for Bus Tours:  The Desert Institute  can arrange for a professional, knowledgeable naturalist to join your bus tour for a visit to Joshua Tree National Park as a “step-on” guide.  Our interpreters have specialized knowledge of the local geology, natural history, flora and fauna, archaeology and cultural history.  Let us entertain and educate your guests which will make their experience of the Joshua Tree National Park a memorable event!

Effective January 1, 2014

Our fees begin at $310 for any tour up to 4 hours in length and $40 per hour for each additional hour.

All rates are per naturalist. Large groups and multiple motor coaches may require more than one guide. To schedule a Motor Coach Tour, contact the Desert Institute at 760-367-5535 or

Tour group operators pay park entrance fees.  Please contact our office if you wish a guided hike or additional programs.

RESPONSIBLE – We take your reputation and ours seriously. We are mindful of quality, experience and safety. By using the Desert Institute, your clients get professional presentations by experienced local naturalist guides. During all programs we prioritize their comfort and safety. Through the use of our service all can be assured that 100% of our profits and services go to documenting the Parks’ legacy by publishing educational books, supporting the Junior Ranger program, providing environmental education materials to over 11,000 students in local communities, supporting scientific research through administration and additional funding for the Robert Lee Graduate Student Research Program (funded by the Lee Family Foundation), and celebrating environmental leadership with the Minerva Hoyt California Desert Conservation Award, which recognizes individuals or organizations for their notable achievements
CONNECTED –  Our offices are located at Parks’ headquarters. If a road closes we know about it first.  When a rare animal or plant is encountered, we see it first.  We want you to know it too!   We’re connected and so are you.
DETAILED – We are well organized when consulting during pre-trip planning and on the day of your visit.  Our services and tours are thorough, responsive and respectful of your business and your clients.
FRIENDLY – We are well aware that we live and work in one of the most scenic places on Earth!  Our smiles and attitude reflect genuine appreciation of our National Parks and those who visit these beautiful places.
EXPERIENCED – Since 1962, the Joshua Tree National Park Association has been the park’s cooperating non-profit partner. As the educational arm of JTNPA, the Desert Institute has a wide menu of  adult and family educational programs including natural sciences, cultural history, survival skills, hikes with a naturalist, yoga and women’s “get away” weekends, and art programs.

To show appreciation to our guides, please consider a tax deductible donation to the Joshua Tree National Park Association.  Donations can be made at any register in a park visitor center and bookstore, by mail, or on our website.  All donations and fees go to support educational programs and resource protection in the Joshua Tree National Park.
Another meaningful tip is a comment or commendation letter sent to:
Superintendent, Joshua Tree  National Parks
74485 National Park Drive
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277

March 2014

Our behalf of the Garden Conservancy, please accept our deepest thanks for all your help in making our trip to Joshua Tree National Park such a memorable experience!  How lucky we were to visit the park when the blooms were so extraordinary.

We especially want to thank you for matching us with our guide extraordinaire, Darrell Shade. What can I say but WOW!  Those fortunate enough to have experienced Joshua Tree with Darrell were impressed by his warm hospitality, his depth of knowledge, and his infectious enthusiasm for the park and its flora. Darrell thoroughly inspired and energized our group and made their trip to Joshua Tree one that will not be soon forgotten.

Again, Kevin, thank you for helping us make our trip to Joshua Tree a resounding success.

Best regards,

Lorraine Mahon

Events and Tours Assistant

The Garden Conservancy of New York