Joshua Tree National Park Association

Special Programs

Desert institute

A Program Just For You

Whatever your interest in Joshua Tree National Park, we can design a custom educational program to be a perfect fit for you or your group. Contact us at (760) 819-4714 or for more information.

If your group, large or small, is searching for a special Joshua Tree National Park experience tailored to your interests, the Desert Institute will design an educational class expert instruction just for you. We’ll ensure that the activity level and optional field component will perfectly match your needs for one-day or multi-day excursions.

Day with a Desert Naturlist

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. A “sample” Day with a Desert Naturalist could include Discover the Wonderland of Rocks.

The Wonderland of Rocks is a large labyrinth of granite formations and meandering corridors. It’s an easy place to get lost, but it’s also full of secret, picture-postcard settings, panoramic vistas, and any number of natural surprises. Spend an enjoyable day hiking and scrambling through this rare place, feeling the rough texture of its timelessness underfoot and in the fingertips. More than just a day of outdoor adventure, this Desert Institute hike includes introductory instruction in how the Wonderland formed, why it looks the way it does, and how this unique environment helps support a diverse and interesting community of plants and animals. Come prepared to hike seven to ten miles, depending on conditions, with occasional stops for rest, lunch and teachable moments. The route is cross-country and requires some scrambling and rock hopping, none of it extended or technical.


Effective January 1, 2022

Program Length
half day
Up to 4 hours
$300 First 4 People + $30 Each Addt'l Person
full day
7-8 hours
$475 First 4 People + $45 Each Addt'l Person
contact us
7+ People
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