Yucca Valley, California, is a town of about 25,000 people located on California Route 62 (aka The 29 Palms Highway). Neighboring towns are Morongo Valley, Joshua Tree, Yucca Mesa, Pioneertown, Landers, Flamingo Heights, Johnson Valley, and Twentynine Palms. The two major economic stimulators in the area are Joshua Tree National Park and the marine base outside Twentynine Palms. Many people who live here commute down to the Palm Springs metro area about 40 minutes south. Yucca Valley is built up mostly against the highway, with supermarkets, a movie theater, coffeeshops (local and Starbucks), restaurants(local and chain), and a few big box stores. Driving up Route 247 (aka Old Woman Springs Rd) you can get a picture of what desert towns used to look like before four lane highways and big commerce.
One of the beautiful parts about living in a desert town is that the relatively untrammeled desert exists in close range. Yucca Valley borders Joshua Tree National Park, most of which is designated wilderness. Joshua Tree is an excellent place to take up rock climbing or get into the wilderness. There are 69 designated wilderness areas under the BLM’s management, several are a short drive from Yucca Valley: Sheephole Mountains, Cleghorn Mountains, Big Morongo, Bighorn Mountains, San Gorgonio. Just off the highway in Morongo Valley is the Big Morongo Preserve, a BLM-managed oasis where water flowing underground down from the mountains gets close or breaks the surface. It’s a world-renowned bird-watching spot. You will be close the Wildlands Conservancy Preserves as well. They are a non-profit land manager and we have a good working relationship with them. Whitewater Preserve has a trail that connects to the Pacific Crest Trail, following the Whitewater River. There is a thriving, if strange, artistic community in the desert, and a collection of people who believe in extraterrestrial contact.