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    Pioneertown in California: a western town a stone's throw from Joshua Tree National Park

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    Martí Micolau

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    Pioneertown was initially conceived as a movie set in 1940 with the particularity that all the buildings had to be really usable and not as a simple static background. This is why the place was immediately thought of as a real living city in the middle of the California desert.

    In this way, Pioneertown could be used by the actors (even to stay overnight) who had to work on film productions without wasting time traveling, given that in the immediate vicinity the accommodation facilities were scarce. Today, just over 300 people live there, but it is during the weekends from April to October that the Mane St of Pioneertown comes alive with tourists thanks to the western themed initiatives that are programmed.


    • Where it is and how to reach it
    • What to see in Pioneertown
      • Image gallery
    • Attractions nearby
    • Where sleeping in Pioneertown

    Where it is and how to reach it

    Whether you are coming from the east or the west you must travel the Twentynine Palms Highway until you reach the small town of Yucca valley where you will take Pioneertown Rd on which you will have to continue for just over 7 kilometers. Although there are far more spectacular roads in the United States, the one you will travel on is still classified as California Scenic Drive.

    What to see in Pioneertown

    Don't expect who knows what attractions because the strong point of Pioneertown is its Far West Ghost Town atmosphere. The way to go once you leave your rental car in the large parking lot is definitely Mane St: the main dirt road along whose sides are the most representative buildings of Pioneertown.

    It is walking along this dusty road that, especially when there are not many tourists around, it feels like you are back in the era of the Wild West. Depending on the day of the week you visit Pioneertown you can be completely alone (like me) or be surrounded by many tourists who want to attend the historical reenactments. On the second and fourth Saturday of each month (check the official website for any program changes) in fact the Far West comes to life thanks to a troupe of fans and actors.

    Il Pappy and Harriet’s it is a place / restaurant that offers quality food with an unmistakable style in which there is no lack of entertainment with excellent live music. Speaking of live music, he even played here Paul McCartney in a concert for a few close friends in 2016.

    Do you want to know if you will be so lucky too? Or do you simply want to check if there are concerts of your interest in this particular location during your transit? Just click on the link below.

    Concerts at Pappy and Harriet's

    Image gallery

    Attractions nearby

    If you are a fan of Ghost Town in California you should definitely visit Bodie and Calico, even if they are not really close to Pioneertown. As for what you can find relatively close, we point out these three attractions:

    • Joshua Tree National Park: one of the most famous natural parks in the United States is located a few minutes drive from Pioneertown, so it can certainly be a perfect opportunity to include these two stops in your California itinerary.
    • Palm Springs: a real oasis in the middle of the California desert which, with its peculiar adobe architecture, attracts onlookers and tourists who pass through this area. There is no shortage of VIP villas, such as that of Frank Sinatra, who over the years have decided to make Palm Springs their residence or one of their vacation spots. Given its wide range of hotels, it can also be a convenient base.
    • Indian Canyons: a few minutes from Palm Springs, there is an Indian reservation that is worth a visit. The Indian Canyons they are gorges in the California desert, characterized by the presence of a large number of very tall American palm trees.
    • Desert Christ Park: a truly unusual attraction that attracts kitsch lovers and pilgrims alike. If you think that these two categories of people cannot coexist, go directly to see for yourself. Desert Christ Park can be defined as a real Christian theme park founded by Reverend Eddie Garver in the 50s. More than fifty entirely handmade Christological and religious statues are scattered throughout the 5 acres of land. Admission is free.
    Joshua Tree
    Desert Christ Park
    Indian Canyons

    Where sleeping in Pioneertown

    Pioneertown Motel

    If you want to sleep in Pioneertown the only choice you will have is to opt for the characteristic Pioneertown Motel. Built specifically to house the movie stars who had to star in the Hollywood films being made in this location, today it offers a comfortable base for all tourists who want to breathe as much as possible the western atmosphere of Pioneertown.

    Of the nearby towns I personally had the opportunity to stay overnight in Twentynine Palms and more precisely to the Sunnyvale Garden Suites Hotel which offers real apartments equipped with kitchen in a characteristic western-themed environment with a well-kept garden that develops along the structures.

    If these two solutions are not for you by clicking on the link below you can find all the facilities in the vicinity of Pioneertown and Joshua Tree National Park.

    Look for a hotel in the area

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