Roadtrip with RVshare Joshua Tree to San Francisco

Driving along a Joshua Tree to San Francisco road trip is a fun way to see a good part of California. There are many natural and man-made sites to visit along the way, such as the Channel Islands, Death Valley, the Golden Gate Bridge, and more fascinating attractions that lie along your route. 

Joshua Tree to San Francisco Road Trip Itinerary

  • Trip Length: 8 hours
  • Mileage: 550 miles
  • Fun Fact: The Golden Gate Bridge's reddish orange color was originally intended as a primer.

Nearby National Parks

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is a large, 790,636-acre park that was originally designated as a national monument in 1936. The park was declared a national park in 1994. This unique park's most well-known denizen is the Joshua tree, a yucca plant in the agave species that resembles a cross between a twisted pine tree and a cactus. The park contains portions of both the Mojave and Sonoran deserts, each of which has distinct features, and the San Bernardino Mountains lie in the southwestern region of the park. The Mojave is a "high desert" and has a greater amount of vegetation and humidity, and the Sonoran is a "low desert" with lower humidity. In the Sonoran, you will see creosote bushes, cholla cactus, and ocotillo. There are numerous hiking, biking, and equestrian trails throughout the park.

Death Valley National Park

Contrasts abound in Death Valley National Park. Snow-covered mountain peaks, fields of wildflowers, oases with fish, and the Mojave Desert are some of the ecologically diverse environments you will find within the park. The lowest elevation in North America is inside Badwater Basin, which is 282 feet below sea level. This unique area features flat octagons of salt and offers a surreal experience for all who visit. Other interesting sights to see include viewing rattlesnakes at Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, touring the salt mounds of Devil's Gold Course, and hiking on the Telescope Peak Trail. 

Nearby State Parks

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is located in the Santa Cruz Mountains. This 4,650-acre park is home to a 40-acre old-growth redwood forest. The tallest tree in the grove is around 277 feet in height and about 16 feet in width, and the tree is estimated to be around 1,500 years old. There is a short loop trail through the redwood stand, and visitors can pick up a brochure from the visitor's center to read while walking along the trail. Be sure to stand inside the Freemont Tree and cool off in the Garden of Eden swimming hole. Other interesting areas to explore include a river canyon, an old lime-processing site, and 20 miles of hiking trails.

Chino Hills State Park

Chino Hills State Park is located in the Chino Hills of the Santa Ana Mountains. This region is part of the larger Los Angeles metropolitan area. The park has 14,102 acres and allows everyone to experience a true wilderness retreat not far from the city. The Chino-Puente Hills wildlife corridor runs through the park and provides essential habitat for migratory and native animals. Some popular activities in the park include biking, hiking, and riding horses on the many miles of trails. 

Mount San Jacinto State Park

Mount San Jacinto State Park is located in the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa mountains, which are near Los Angeles and San Diego. Mount San Jacinto is the park's main attraction and is the second-highest peak in Southern California, rising 10,834 feet above sea level. You will find a variety of landscapes that include subalpine forests, meadows, and granite peaks. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway takes passengers from Palm Springs to the top of the Mount San Jacinto summit, and there are numerous amenities at the top station. You can also access the extensive hiking system from the station. The Pacific Coast Trail is a 2,653 multi-state trail that stretches from the U.S. border of Canada to the border of Mexico, and a portion of it runs through Chino Hills State Park.

Along the Way

Golden Gate Bridge

One of the most romantic sites in San Francisco is the Golden Gate Bridge. Designed by engineer Joseph Strauss in 1917, the bridge was opened to the public in 1937 and was the tallest and longest suspension bridge at that time. Twin towers anchor the bridge and are 746 feet tall. Two 7,000-foot cables that contain 80,000 miles of wire support the bridge and stretch over the towers to concrete anchors on the shore. The bridge spans the Golden Gate strait and connects San Francisco to Marin County. Visitors to the site can take a walking tour with a city guide on Tuesdays and Thursdays or do a self-guided tour. The bridge is considered one of the Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers and is a fine example of Art Deco architecture. The bridge is bookended by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, where you can walk on trails and view vista points in one of the world's largest national parks in an urban area. 


Disneyland is located near Los Angeles in Anaheim. Originally known as "The Mickey Mouse Park," the theme park opened with 18 attractions and rides in 1955. The park is one of the most-visited theme parks in the U.S. and has recorded a total of more than 700 million visitors as of 2019. While Disneyland has expanded and changed over the years, the motto of the entrance sign remains the same: "Here you Leave Today and Enter the World of Yesterday, Tomorrow and Fantasy." Recent changes include the addition of Disney's California Adventure, which contains both newer Disney characters and other characters now under the Disney company umbrella. Downtown Disney is a section of the park that features restaurants, clubs, and bars. Everyone in the family will enjoy riding Radiator Springs Racers, Storybook Land Canal Boats, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!, It's A Small World, and Space Mountain.

Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory was built in 1935 with the direction that admission would always be free. The observatory is located in Griffith Park on the southern end of Mount Hollywood. The main attraction is the 12-inch Zeiss refracting telescope, but the observatory also has a coelostat system of three tracking mirrors that correlate with three solar telescopes. Griffith Observatory has numerous displays and exhibits, like the Keck Central Rotunda, which describes the connections of mythology and astronomy; the Gunther Depths of Space, which explores how space technology has increased understanding of the universe; and the Edge of Space, which contains a view of Earth from space. 

Main Cities You Will Pass Through

Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs is located in the Sonoran Desert and is a prime destination for resort-style entertainment. You will enjoy taking a break from your Joshua Tree to San Francisco RV road trip to see the ritzy hotels, spas, and golf courses, and there are also numerous hot springs all around. If your tastes run more to outdoor recreation, then everyone can take advantage of the available activities in nearby Coachella Valley. The Happy Traveler RV Park is located beneath the San Jacinto Mountains and is close to downtown Palm Springs. There are plenty of dump stations near Palm Springs if you are in need of one.

Bakersfield, California

Bakersfield is on the Kern River and is north of Los Angeles. Taking the time to stop in Bakersfield will allow you to visit interesting museums like the California Living Museum and the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History. The Sequoia National Forest has an extensive network of hiking trails that will help you stretch your legs on your road trip from Joshua Tree to San Francisco. You may want to use a dump station, and there are several options available in the area. Bakersfield River Run RV Park is close to downtown Bakersfield and offers convenient access to fun activities and necessary amenities. 

Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles is located in Southern California and is a longtime center of film and television production. Known for the famous Hollywood sign, Los Angeles is home to many studios that offer tours to the public, such as Universal, Paramount Pictures, and Warner Brothers. Adding Los Angeles to your Joshua Tree to San Francisco road trip itinerary allows you to see the Walk of Fame and the TCL Chinese Theatre, located on Hollywood Boulevard. You will have an easy time finding a dump station in this popular tourist area. Hollywood RV Park was formerly known as Balboa RV Park and is located not far from Hollywood. It has been a landmark since 1948, and caters both to travelers and to the movie industry. 

Find Adventure from Joshua Tree to San Francisco

Rent an RV

When you follow this road trip itinerary from Joshua Tree to San Francisco, you will enjoy historic locations and beautiful scenery along the way. If you want to travel in comfort and style, consider an RV rental from RVshare. From large motorhomes to compact campervans, there is a rig that will meet your travel and budget needs. Once you hit the road, you are protected by our renter guarantee and 24/7 roadside assistance. Find the perfect vehicle for your travel needs in Joshua Tree or San Francisco.

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