• Sunrise at the Cholla Cactus Garden

    Joshua Tree

    National Park California

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Cottonwood Trails Closed

    Trail access remains closed to Cottonwood Spring Oasis, Lost Palms Oasis, and Mastodon Peak. More »

  • Pinto Basin Road Under Construction; Expect 30+ Minute Travel Delays

    Visitors should expect 30+ minute waits when heading north and sound bound on the Pinto Basin Road. Due to construction activity around Cottonwood Visitor Center, additional waits of 30 minutes may be in place when leaving the visitor center parking lot. More »

  • Deteriorating conditions of Black Rock Canyon Road

    The road leading to Black Rock campground has deep potholes, is deeply rutted, and can be difficult to negotiate, especially in large vehicles. Please drive with caution.

Keys Ranch Guided Walking Tour

Ranch house and well

Ranch house and well

David Glasglow

In the high desert country that was to become Joshua Tree National Park, rugged individuals tried their luck at cattle ranching, mining, and homesteading. William F. Keys and his family are particularly representative of the hard work and ingenuity it took to settle and prosper in the Mojave Desert.

The ranger-guided tour of the ranch includes the colorful story of the 60 years Bill and Frances spent working together to make a life and raise their five children in this remote location. The ranch house, school house, store, and workshop still stand; the orchard has been replanted; and the grounds are full of the cars, trucks, mining equipment, and spare parts that are a part of the Desert Queen Ranch story.

Visiting the Ranch Listed as a National Historic Register Site, the property is located in a remote, rocky canyon in Joshua Tree National Park. To preserve its historic character, admission to the ranch is restricted to guided walking tours. The tours are a half-mile in length and last 90 minutes. Group size is limited to 25 people.

Tour Schedule
Tours are finished for the season but will resume in the fall of 2014. Dates and times to be determined.

Cost The tour costs $5.00 per person aged 12 and over and $2.50 for children 6 to 11. Children under six are admitted free. Senior and Access Pass (Golden Age and Golden Access pasport) holders pay $2.50. There is also a $15.00 per car entrance fee good for a seven-day visit to the park. Entrance fees are payable at park entrance stations.

Reservations You may book a tour by calling 760-367-5522 between 9 am and 4:30 pm any day of the week. Space will not be reserved until payment is received; credit cards are accepted. Tickets may also be purchased prior to the day of the tour at the Joshua Tree and Oasis visitor centers. Tickets are no longer sold at the ranch gate.

Directions To find the ranch, pass the entrance to Hidden Valley Campground, turn left at the Y-intersection, follow the road approximately two miles to the locked gate. Your guide will meet you there. (See map.) Please arrive at the ranch gate 15 minutes prior to your tour.

Safety & Comfort Sturdy walking shoes, drinking water, sunscreen, and a hat will add to your comfort. It is wise to bring a coat with you; the walk can get chilly when the wind blows.

Smoking and eating are not allowed during the tour. Camcorders and cameras are permitted but camera tripods are not. (You may inquire about special tours for photographers and other artists.)

Did You Know?

a tarantula

When cornered by a predator, a tarantula will rub its hind legs over its abdomen, brushing hairs into its enemy’s eyes. More...