Just over 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles lies the magical desert landscape of Joshua Tree – an often overlooked diamond in the (road trip) rough. Aside from the breathtaking views in the National Park, Joshua Tree and its surrounding desert towns radiate an eccentric energy that is equal parts magical, unfettered and, well, sometimes just downright bizarre.
CULT took off on a desert road trip to explore the local Joshua Tree haunts and hideaways, soaking up all of the desert’s alluring character and whimsical scenery while baking in the sun. And who better to outfit our desert adventure than our bohemian-laden favorites at Free People?
We assembled some of our favorite gypset looks to play modern vagabond for our latest CULT Five X Five adventure editorial – five places you have to visit in Joshua Tree, and five Free People looks to dress the part while you explore. From scouring the racks at the coolest vintage store to crawling through teepees and climbing magical boulders, read on for our field notes (and style guide) for exploring the magical desert land of Joshua Tree.
THE SAGUARO HIDEAWAY
Our home for the weekend, The Saguaro Hideaway proved to be the most perfect desert retreat. Nestled off a dusty dirt road and tucked away from the main stretch of 29 Palms Hwy, The Saguaro features a mix of modern and bohemian decor that is Pinterest-perfect. The cactus garden in the back was the coolest backdrop for photos. Even the dreamy wall art had us swooning – we think we found our next DIY project, or five.
The Saguaro Hideaway
Joshua Tree, CA
You can’t miss the colorful murals decorating the walls of The End in the neighboring Yucca Valley, and we promise, the assortment of vintage pieces inside are just as rad. Owner Kime Buzzelli has an amazing eye for curating vintage stand-outs and eclectic costume garments – we wouldn’t expect any less from the former 90210 costume designer. Her collection includes handcrafted jewelry, bohemian decor, art from local designers and costume pieces spanning as many colors as decades.
As soon as we opened the door, our eyes were drawn from one colorful rack to the next, exploring the oddities and ornaments in every corner. Kime’s art gallery in the back of the shop is a bonus too; a rotating exhibition space featuring the work of her closest friends and artist connects. We could easily spend hours strolling through The End, hunting down desert treasures and playing dress-up – just be sure to bring an extra suitcase for souvenirs.
55872 29 Palms Hwy
Yucca Valley, California 92284
If you’re passing through the main stretch of Yucca Valley on 29 Palms Hwy, make a point to stop at Jill Lust’s dreamy shop, Sweet Digs. A food stylist by trade and an entrepreneur at heart, Jill opened the doors to her one-of-a-kind succulent shop and general store, Sweet Digs, last year. The store offers an awesome array of succulents, desert vegetation and seeds, and features local goodies from the likes of Outlaw Soaps and Joshua Tree Coffee Company. Beautiful terrariums hang in every direction, catching the light and casting dancing shadows across the shop, while the wall of dreamy air plants definitely deserves its own Pinterest board.
Our favorite part? A self-proclaimed DIY ‘Dirt Bar’ in the back where you can build, style and decorate your own terrarium or succulent planter like the ones above. Add colored sand, different rocks and even quirky figurines for a fun takeaway from your desert adventure. The airy patio in the back is perfect to relax post-DIYing too.
55838 29 Palms Hwy
Yucca Valley, CA 92284
PAPPY AND HARRIETS
Take the 5 mile pit stop north up Pioneertown Road for a time warp back to the ole west. Originally built in the 1940’s for movie sets, Pioneertown remains a street scene from an old western dream – you can almost hear the gunshots echoing from the saloon.
Pappy and Harriets is a Pioneertown destination in itself – a rustic restaurant, bar and concert venue hybrid in what seems like the middle of nowhere. Wet your whistle in their desert watering hole, play a game of pool, and enjoy dinner cooked over an open BBQ, all while listening to live music play beneath the nighttime sky.
Pappy & Harriets
53688 Pioneertown Rd,
Pioneertown, CA 92268
GARTH’S BOULDER GARDENS
We’re still not sure if Garth’s Boulders is a real place, or if we imagined the whole thing. Despite hearing about this mysterious natural sanctuary and desert retreat from a number of former patrons, we weren’t quite sure how to get there, or what to expect. Past Pioneertown on a dirt road coined ‘God’s Love Way’ hides the unofficial official entrance to Garth’s remote desert property. Giant rocks look like they fell from the sky into haphazard piles, straight from the pages of a Dr. Suess book. It’s rumored that the boulders contain energetic properties that renew the spirit and help cleanse the soul of negative energy. You can even take a crystal bath in Garth’s ‘bed’ of colorful geodes and rocks.
While Garth lives in his own private teepee, there are a number of rental units available on his premises including a boulder cave and a yurt, sharing a communal kitchen, fire pit and yes, responsibility to the property’s mascot goats. Garth’s magical land is worth the trek. Just don’t forget to drop a thank you in the box on your way out; we believe in good karma.
Garth’s Boulder Gardens:
From 29 Palms Hwy, drive north on Pioneertown Rd. Follow the road for 7.5 miles (past Pappy and Harriets), then turn right on Pipes Canyon Rd. Drive another 2 miles to turn left on Gamma Gulch Rd. Follow the dirt road another 2 miles past Cotton Tail, and turn left on God’s Way Love to park.
SHOP THE LOOKS:
Photographer: Robby Mueller
Model: Lexi Stellwood, NEXT
Hair / MUA: Heather Rae
Creative Director: Drea Sobieski
Concept Design: Sarah St. Lifer
Stylist: Whitney Wilkerson
Set Assistants: Alex Baldwin & Heather Tabacchi