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TOP 10 GUIDE: Best Instagram Photo Locations Outside Of The Joshua Tree National Park

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Keyword "OUTSIDE THE PARK".
Prepare Yourself For The Cool Stuff...

You already visited the Park and used our COMPLETE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK to choose what you wanted to see inside the Park.  With 150 stops and 161.2 miles to consider, you’re lucky you found us!  HAHA!  Our guess is you also used our TOP GUIDE TO THE BEST PLACES TO STAY IN JOSHUA TREE CALIFORNIA when you were looking for a fun AirBnB, hotel, or unique rental.  Now you want to venture out “outside the park” and see what secrets lie in the unique desert landscapes.  Excellent!   

First things first.  We cannot ever stay true to a “TOP 10”.  We always end up making our guides a little bit longer because we just can’t choose 10.  When it comes to the locations outside of the Joshua Tree National Park, we found 38 unique and eccentric experiences in total so it was really hard for us to lock it down to just 10.  We did our best and whittled it down to TOP 16.  HAHA!  They aren’t in any special order, so #1 is just as wonderful of location as #16.

We scoured the desert to create The Secret Tour XL so we have a TON of awesome locations for your “crazy desert experience” needs. All of the locations below are on either THE SECRET TOUR XL (38)  THE SECRET TOURS MINI (22), or the VILLAGE WALKING TOUR (18).   Let us guide your adventurous crew on an EPIC journey out and about in the desert.  Go on a walk-about…well let’s make it a drive-about because everything is really far apart!  HAHA!  Our tours are a mashup of a treasure hunt, scavenger hunt, escape room, and adventure travel all in one.  We guide you from location to location and have you solve clues, riddles, puzzles, and ciphers along the way.  Its a fun way to see all of these locations AND feel like you’re a real treasure hunter.

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Cheesy?  Absolutely…but this is our “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign and is the first stop on almost EVERYBODY’S drive into the Joshua Tree Village.  Why they put that “Rotary” sign right up against it we will never know.  You will have to angle your pictures to the right to capture the trees and desert behind without getting the busy highway and the Rotary sign in your shot.  With a little bit of work, you’ll get the shot that proves you made it to the Mecca of all things Creative.  Believe it or not, there aren’t any 360-degree photos of this spot yet…(hint-hint).

This is a stop on our tours:
The VIRTUAL Secret Tour XL
The Secret Tour XL
The Secret Tour MINI

CLICK HERE TO SEE A 360-DEGREE VIEW

The Harmony Motel.  Is there anything more musically “Joshua Tree” than U2 and their album titled “Joshua Tree“?  This little remote motel is such an icon of musical history and most people drive by clueless.  If you are a U2 fan, this is a MUST-SEE!  Can you believe U2 has been around since 1976?  They have made 14 albums and sold 170-million worldwide.  Oh, and they have 22 Grammy Awards.  They are literally musical Royalty…and back in December of 1987, they chose to drive through Joshua Tree and stay right here in this motel!  They rented out the entire motel and held their creative meetings in Room #4.  And of course you need to re-create that U2 band shot at Harmony Motel!

But what about the actual Joshua Tree from the album cover?  Nope.  Not here.  Not even in Joshua Tree.  Believe it or not, that tree is 171 miles away. CLICK HERE to see exactly where it is on the map.  If you have time, you can make it your next trip.  The tree itself has fallen but there is a bronze plaque next to the fallen tree as well as an enormous amount of items left by fans including suitcases and guitars.

This is a stop on our tours: 
The VIRTUAL Secret Tour XL 
The Secret Tour XL 

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There probably isn’t a single more odd, eccentric, creepy, eery, weirder place in all of Joshua Tree than the Krblin Kabin.  But it makes such an amazing BACKDROP!  HAHA!  You’re going to have to visit this one to see what we mean.  The backstory is either really cool or really scary.  Don’t step inside the carved sun on the floor if you don’t want to be teleported to another dimension.

This is a stop on our tours: 
The VIRTUAL Secret Tour XL 
The Secret Tour XL 
The Secret Tour MINI

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Noah Purifoy is a huge part of Joshua Tree history and art in California.  Noah was born in 1917 and died in 2004 here in Joshua Tree.  Eighty Seven years of artistic design and cultural awareness that has been appreciated ever since.  Read about his life and history and prepare to visit a glorious 10-acre art museum in the open air of the desert…and it’s free for all.  There are countless pieces of art and thought-provoking assemblages.  

This is a stop on our tours: 
The VIRTUAL Secret Tour XL 
The Secret Tour XL 
The Secret Tour MINI

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CLICK HERE FOR A 360-DEGREE VIEW INSIDE THE INTEGRATRON

The history behind the Integratron is WAY too long to write in this TOP 10 Guide.  We are going to write up a completely separate blog about it because it deserves to have its story told.  Take a look at their website at www.integratron.com to learn more and see their schedule.  To give you a quick overview in one breath…(big inhale)…built by George VanTassel, aerospace engineer, test pilot and friend of Howard Hughes, resident underneath Giant Rock, to teleport himself to Venus and act as the fountain of youth here on earth which fell into ruin after his death and was rehabilitated into a wonderful acoustically perfect dome to experience sound baths…(big inhale).  HAHA. This place has so much history that California planted a concrete/bronze plaque out front because it is so “legit” historic.  At a minimum, stop by and get some pics with this over your shoulder.  Make sure you plan ahead if you think you want a sound bath.  It is not first come first serve.  

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Nobody ever pays attention to what is across the street from the Integratron, and yes, it looks completely abandoned but wait until you walk inside.  The Gubler Orchids Nursery will blow your mind.  At a minimum, you need to walk through on a free tour for the glorious smells alone.  There is always something brewing over at Gubler Orchids…Venus flytraps by the thousands.  Do you think it has any connection to George van Tassel trying to teleport himself to Venus across the street? Check out their web stein’s at gublers.com and see if they will be open when you visit.   

This is a stop on our tours: 
The VIRTUAL Secret Tour XL 
The Secret Tour XL 
The Secret Tour MINI

CLICK HERE FOR A 360-DEGREE VIEW

We saved this for #7 because it is 70′ tall.  HAHA.  Pictures serve it no justice.  Giant Rock is the largest boulder in the world and was worshipped by the native people as the literal “heart of the earth.”  On our tours, we teach you about the relevance of how Giant Rock broke and how Frank Critzer was killed by the government underneath Giant Rock.  

The concrete slab you see in the foreground is where George Van Tassel’s wife had a small diner and would sell treats to all of the people that would visit during UFO conventions.  Howard Hughes would fly in for her pie.  Let that sink in…Howard Hughes used to visit this iconic location.

This is a stop on our tours: 
The VIRTUAL Secret Tour XL 
The Secret Tour XL 
The Secret Tour MINI

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Desert Christ Park is one of those lesser known locations that you absolutely MUST-SEE when you make a Joshua Tree Run.  You will have a moving experience as you walk through the park and find yourself surrounded by different biblical scenes and huge white statues.  There is a LOT to see so make sure you look at their map.  There are exhibits all over the hillside and back behind the amphitheater.  You can take a look at the web site at desertchristpark.org   

This is a stop on our tours: 
The VIRTUAL Secret Tour XL 
The Secret Tour XL 
The Secret Tour MINI

CLICK HERE FOR A 360-DEGREE VIEW OF THE STAGE
CLICK HERE FOR A 360-DEGREE VIEW OF THE 1940’s SET MANE STREET

Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace has had the most insane line-up of talent that you can even imagine.  We will NOT ever try to list out all of the talent that has graced these grounds…but we mention the time Sir PAUL MCCARTNEY chose to stop here and play an impromptu set for 300 people!  We were there…we were actually back stage and shook his hand after he talked with Emma Stone!  The food is to die for and the history and feel of this place is insane!  Make sure you walk all around the entire restaurant, inside and out, and take it all in.  Ask if the “local cheesecake” is in too.  

After you fill up on fabulous food, take a stroll down Mane Street and take thousands of pics.  If you time it right, you can watch a choreographed gunfight in the middle of the street.

This is a stop on our tours: 
The VIRTUAL Secret Tour XL 
The Secret Tour XL 

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Artist Andrew Rogers made quite a mark on the earth with his Rhythms of Life and Atlatl sculptures.  460-tons of stacked stones make up these two geoglyphs.  Rhythms of Life is 164′ by 164′ and Atlatl is 200′ long.  The cool secret part is that Atlatl is based off of a hieroglyph found nearby…right here in Coyote Hole, really close to the Joshua Tree Visitor Center.  You will be breathing hard once you reach the top, but it is worth the hike up.  Not only is it cool to see how high the stacked walls are, but the view off the cliff in the back is awesome!  You get to see the black plateaus and the vast open horizon.  It is breathtaking.

This is a stop on our tours: 
The VIRTUAL Secret Tour XL 
The Secret Tour XL 
The Secret Tour MINI

Intermission:

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THERE IS NO 360-DEGREE VIEW FOR THIS LOCATION

We let you decide if this is Treebeard from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy or Groot from the Guardians of the Galaxy.  Kent Holmgren makes beautiful and realistic Tree Carving Art.  Taking a picture with this icon is a must.

This is a stop on our tours: 
The VIRTUAL Secret Tour XL 
The Secret Tour XL 
The Secret Tour MINI

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Before we even say a word, go read about the Muffler Men on Roadside America   You are not going to believe how many of them exist and all of the amazing outfits and variations that are out there.  Honestly, driving across the country to see them all is going to be the ultimate road trip some day.

This here is Big Josh Bearded Cowboy   You really can’t ask for a more awesome mascot for the eccentric village of Joshua Tree!  Make sure you drive past Park Boulevard just a little further down 29 Palms Highway so you don’t accidentally skip this MUST-SEE location.  Make your way to The Station  an awesome gift shop and perfect backdrop for those “old school gas stations in the desert” vibes.  If you are looking for glow in the dark velvet posters, and those old school skull rings with the helmet and spikes, this is for you.  Flash back to the 1970’s.  The backyard is completely walled in and private…and guess what.  You can rent out the whole space and have your parties and gatherings right in the heart of Joshua Tree while remaining private and unseen from the world around you.  Take a look at their web site to learn more.  You will also find the Wonder Valley Olive Oil Shop sharing space inside the converted gas station.

This is a stop on our tours: 
The VIRTUAL Secret Tour XL 
The Secret Tour XL 
The Secret Tour MINI

Village Walking Tour

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CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR STAY IN ROOM #8

This is our #1 place to stay when you visit Joshua Tree in our TOP 10 GUIDE: places to stay  to in Joshua Tree California: hotels, AirBnBs, and the most unique rentals you will ever see.  It is also a really important “start” to our story in our COMPLETE ULTIMATE GUIDE: Joshua Tree National Park: Every Single Location Inside the Park   The story of Cap Rock begins right here in Room #8.  Go check out the ULTIMATE GUIDE and scroll to location #46 and #47.  You’ll be shocked to learn there are 150 possible stops to be made inside the Park.  Anyways, back to the Joshua Tree Inn.  Let’s just say…Gram Parsons!  We will let you learn the rest on our tours and in our free ULTIMATE GUIDE.  The Inn is locked up tight for most of the day and is only available to people who stay there as a guest.  That will be the only way you can take pictures at the Guitar Statue Memorial for Gram Parsons outside the door of Room #8, so plan accordingly.   Your pictures may capture the ghost of Gram Parsons.  

This is a stop on our tours: 
The VIRTUAL Secret Tour XL 
The Secret Tour XL 
The Secret Tour MINI

Village Walking Tour

CLICK HERE FOR A 360-DEGREE VIEW

When we said “lake”, did you say “LAKE?”  HAHA!  Yes, there is a lake in the desert.  You can always tell where there is natural water and underground aquifers because you will see large clumps of trees.  The Joshua Tree Lake is really a unique little treasure in the desert.  Not for the fishing…which you can do…but for all of the festivals they host.  Babe’s Ride Out.  The Joshua Tree Music Festival.  The Bhakti Shakti Festival.  This places really rocks throughout the year.  If you’re going to take pictures in Joshua Tree, why not be different with a LAKE behind you.

This is a stop on our tours: 
The VIRTUAL Secret Tour XL 
The Secret Tour XL 
The Secret Tour MINI

CLICK HERE FOR A 360-DEGREE VIEW

Simi Dabah is the name of a local artist famous for his HUGE iron sculptures. Simi has a studio in Los Angeles and this 8-acre compound here in Joshua Tree where he has over 600 pieces of art on display.  You have to admit this could be a really cool backdrop for your pictures here in Joshua Tree?   

This is a stop on our tours: 
The VIRTUAL Secret Tour XL 
The Secret Tour XL 
The Secret Tour MINI

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Visitors often overlook all of the eccentric gems inside the village, especially the Art Queen and World Famous Crochet Museum.  Why?  Because you have to know that you walk trough that little gate, squeeze between the bushes and the wall as you pass someone’s kitchen window, and exit to the back of the buildings where all the fun happens.  Don’t skip out on all of this wonderful Joshua Tree-ness.  Rotating artist in the Art Queen are worth the walk along…and how about those space couches up inside the tower?

This is a stop on our tours: 
The VIRTUAL Secret Tour XL 
Village Walking Tour

Honorable Mention: REAL Crop Circles

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Need we say more?  1200′ across.  That is us in the Toyota Tacoma parked in the middle of it all.

This is a stop on our tours: 
The VIRTUAL Secret Tour XL 
The Secret Tour XL 

We hope you loved our TOP 10 Guide: Best Instagram Locations Outside of the Joshua Tree National Park.  We are always looking for new ideas for our ULTIMATE GUIDES and Blogs.  Please follow us on our social media accounts, like our content, and share these GUIDES and TOP10 Lists with everyone you know.  We go the extra mile to make sure we share awesome ideas and pictures and advice!  If you loved it, show us some love!  Thank you so much!!! -The Secret Tours Team  

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