Monthly Archives: March 2013

Pioneertown and Black Rock Campground in Joshua Tree

Before it started to get too hot out in the desert we took a weekend trip out to see Pioneertown which is located just northwest of Yucca Valley. Our first stop was the restaurant/bar/biker hangout called Pappy and Harriet’s which is like the first building you come to when you drive up to the town. I didn’t get a picture of the front of the place since we entered through the dirt parking lot in the back.

Entering Pappy & Harriet's

The place had a nice outside patio area and plenty of room inside as well.  There was a stage inside for musical acts and also a section with some pool tables. The food was good and the girl waiting our table was nice. After we ate I decided to grab a beer to have outside on the patio so I just went straight up to the bar to order it. Upon inquiring about the Bloody Mary mix I got the feeling that the barmaid had woke up on the wrong side of the bar that morning so I decided that I would just get a beer, and that it would be the last one I’d be getting from her. It’s too bad too, because we’d have probably stayed at the place longer and gave them more business if she was just a little more friendly.

Beer in a Mason Jar

When we were done at Pappy & Harriet’s we started meandering through old Pioneertown.  It’s really just a main strip of old western buildings, some inhabited and some not.  The “Mane Street” is a dirt road and probably only a half a mile long with the old buildings on either side.  I guess at some times during the year there is a theatrical western show played out on the street, but we were not there at the right time for that.

Pioneertown

The history of the place is that it was built in the 1940s as a “live-in” western movie set where actors and crew could live, and also have the buildings used in the actual filming.  Now the town remains today as more of a tourist attraction.

Pioneertown Plaque

Some of the inhabited buildings of the town had interesting yard art on display, and that was probably the most interesting thing about the place.

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When we left Pioneertown we saw an old train car sitting out in the desert and went to go check it out.  The area around it was fenced off and marked Private Property but I was at least able to take some pictures from afar.

Desert Train

We ended up deciding to cruise into the town of Joshua Tree to look around.  We looked in a gift shop which had a bunch of cool stuff and then walked over to the Joshua Tree Saloon.  I ordered the “Miners Milk” which is some sort of local American Pale Ale and pretty tasty as well.

After spending a lot of the day in the Saloon, it was finally time to get dinner.  We went to La Casita in Yucca Valley which I think might be the best Mexican food in the area (I could be wrong).  I think I mostly like it because the have a large selection of margaritas and vegetarian dishes.  Once done with dinner we headed out to the Black Rock Campground in Joshua Tree National Park where I had reserved us a spot.  When we drove into the campground we could tell it was full of people.  There were bonfires going and there were loud crowds of people at various campsites.  It was definitely not what I’m used to when I go camping.  Once we got our tent set up we started a small fire and hung out and ate snacks until we were too tired to stay up any longer.

Black Rock Campground

As tired as we were, I don’t think we got much sleep since the wind really picked up over night.  The large tent we were in was not a good match for the gusty winds and I was pretty sure it was going to collapse in on us, but luckily it held up until morning.  After packing up we heading into town to get some breakfast.  We stopped at Crossroads Cafe which turned out to be a great choice.  The coffee, food, and service was all great; I’ll definitely be back the next time I’m in Joshua Tree.

Crossroads Cafe

More pictures from this trip can be found here.