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Skull Rock
Vacation Travel Guide

Marvelous rock formations, desert wildlife and examples of the biodiversity of the Mojave Desert are visible along the short trail that leads to this landmark.

Skull Rock is among the most photographed and recognizable of the thousands of rocks that decorate the Joshua Tree National Park. It stands in the park’s Jumbo Rocks section and is surrounded by many interesting natural landmarks. Skull Rock and the other formations in the vicinity are monzonite rocks that began life as liquid molten buried deep inside the Earth’s crust. They became exposed as the molten cooled and then pushed upwards to break through the surface.

Start at the main attraction, so called because it resembles the shape of a giant human skull. A rounded forehead, two eye sockets and a nose are instantly noticeable. The evolution of the rock began hundreds of years ago when rain gathered in small depressions in the rock and triggered the erosion of the granite. Climb into the hollowed-out eyes to take a classic Joshua Tree National Park photo.

Stretch your legs with a walk on the 1.7-mile (2.7-kilometer) long Skull Rock Trail. Signs along the way provide valuable information about the diversity of the flora and fauna that thrives in the Mojave Desert. Spot examples of plant species, such as cacti, cholla and yucca, from both the high and low desert regions of the Mojave. Keep watch for birds, chuckwalla lizards and jackrabbit.

Spend time admiring, clambering over and snapping photos of the other surreal-looking boulders scattered around the trail. Find a quiet spot, sit on a rock and enjoy the ghostly silence of the national park.

The attraction is a 10-minute drive from the Joshua Tree National Park North Entrance, at which you can pay the park admission fee. The Jumbo Rocks Campground is a basic campsite with 124 pitches. You can park directly in front of the rock, although spaces tend to fill up fast. Otherwise use the car parks at the campground and nearby Live Oak Picnic Area.

Skull Rock is among the busiest attractions of the park and there’s often a queue of people waiting to take photos.

Top Hotels Close to Skull Rock

Secluded Desert Retreat Staycation Fast Wifi
Secluded Desert Retreat Staycation Fast Wifi
Twentynine Palms, CA
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Situated in a rural location, this vacation home is 1.3 mi (2 km) from Sky's the Limit Observatory and Nature Center and 1.5 mi (2.4 km) from Joshua Tree National ...

5/5Exceptional! (22 reviews)
Gem in the heart of Joshua Tree National Park

"Beautiful home and convenient location 5 mins away from park entrance! My sister and I had a wonderful long weekend and we would definitely return again."…"

Reviewed on Mar 27, 2021

Secluded Desert Retreat Staycation Fast Wifi
Welcome to Ocotillo Ranch- 1mile From Jtnp!
Welcome to Ocotillo Ranch- 1mile From Jtnp!
Twentynine Palms, CA
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Situated in Twentynine Palms, this vacation home is 0.7 mi (1.1 km) from Joshua Tree National Park and 2.7 mi (4.4 km) from Joshua Tree National Park North Entrance. ...

5/5Exceptional! (4 reviews)
Joshua Tree National Park Trip

"This was a great place and perfect for our three day trip of hiking in JTNP. We came with two other couples but because of COVID we all stayed in our own places. The backyard was a perfect gathering place for all of us to have cocktails and eat outside. I gave our stay a 5 because it was great overall. ..."…"

Reviewed on Mar 7, 2021

Welcome to Ocotillo Ranch- 1mile From Jtnp!
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Twentynine Palms, an IHG Hotel
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Twentynine Palms, an IHG Hotel
2.5 out of 5
72535 Twentynine Palms, Twentynine Palms, CA
Free CancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is $146 per night from Apr 14 to Apr 15

Situated in a rural location, this hotel is 0.7 mi (1.1 km) from Knott Sky Park and within 3 mi (5 km) of Twentynine Palms Visitor Center and 29 Palms Historical ...

4.4/5Excellent! (988 reviews)

"Great staff. Excellent service. I wouod definitely recommend this hotel to anyoone."…"

Reviewed on Apr 6, 2021

Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Twentynine Palms, an IHG Hotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Top Skull Rock Flight + Hotel Deals

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Skull Rock

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Best Lodging Options Near Skull Rock

Secluded Desert Retreat Staycation Fast Wifi
Secluded Desert Retreat Staycation Fast Wifi
Twentynine Palms, CA
Secluded Desert Retreat Staycation Fast Wifi
Welcome to Ocotillo Ranch- 1mile From Jtnp!
Welcome to Ocotillo Ranch- 1mile From Jtnp!
Twentynine Palms, CA
Welcome to Ocotillo Ranch- 1mile From Jtnp!
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Twentynine Palms, an IHG Hotel
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Twentynine Palms, an IHG Hotel
2.5 out of 5
72535 Twentynine Palms, Twentynine Palms, CA
The price is $146 per night from Apr 14 to Apr 15
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Twentynine Palms, an IHG Hotel
M&L Desert Cottage - 3 miles from the North entrance of Joshua Tree!
M&L Desert Cottage - 3 miles from the North entrance of Joshua Tree!
Twentynine Palms, CA
M&L Desert Cottage - 3 miles from the North entrance of Joshua Tree!
Sure Stay Plus by Best Western Twentynine Palms Joshua Tree
Sure Stay Plus by Best Western Twentynine Palms Joshua Tree
2.5 out of 5
71487 Twentynine Palms Highway, Twentynine Palms, CA
The price is $99 per night from Apr 29 to Apr 30
Sure Stay Plus by Best Western Twentynine Palms Joshua Tree
Motel 6 Twentynine Palms, CA
Motel 6 Twentynine Palms, CA
2 out of 5
72562 Twentynine Palms Highway, Twentynine Palms, CA
The price is $77 per night from Apr 13 to Apr 14
Motel 6 Twentynine Palms, CA
Great Vibe House + Hot Tub, Minutes to Jtree Park
Great Vibe House + Hot Tub, Minutes to Jtree Park
Twentynine Palms, CA
Great Vibe House + Hot Tub, Minutes to Jtree Park
The Sunset Adobe - Bbq, Fire Pit, 10 min to Park
The Sunset Adobe - Bbq, Fire Pit, 10 min to Park
Twentynine Palms, CA
The Sunset Adobe - Bbq, Fire Pit, 10 min to Park
Ocotillo Poets Rest
Ocotillo Poets Rest
Twentynine Palms, CA
The price is $154 per night from Apr 20 to Apr 21
Ocotillo Poets Rest
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.