7 Most Popular Things You Can Do When In Pioneertown (2024)
The usual and widespread charm of Southern California is often loved and admired by the locals and visitors; however, the city has several cool and unusual places as well. And one of these out of box addition includes the “PIONEERTOWN.” Pioneertown is a small-town community within San Bernardino’s High Desert, known for its off-beat vibes. The town was initially designed to provide up for film production and movie businesses in the year 1946 though today it isn’t a place for film entertainment but is open for tourism exploration.
The undiscovered and hidden Pioneertown can be reached on a quick day trip from Palm Springs and Joshua Tree. It is a good enough site for a quick day exploration where you can expect some epic adventure. If you are looking for family-packed fun or kids’ friendly activities, the city might disappoint you. But if you are a wanderer, then this tranquil region can surprise you to no end.
7 Most Popular Things You Can Do When In Pioneertown
To know more, have a look at our list of things to do in Pioneertown.
1. Visit the Pioneertown Mountains Preserve
If you want to hike in a desert, then there’s nothing best than heading towards the Pioneertown Mountains Preserve. Spread over 25,500 acres, it is an ancient deserted landscape constituting mountain, wetlands, canyons, rock formations, unique cacti, and miles of hiking trails. You can access several hiking trails just a mile outside Pioneertown and explore the quirky and solitary creation of nature. Before 2006, the preserve was filled with Joshua trees, pinyon pines, and junipers; however, a lighting fire that year destroyed most of it, and thus, all you will find here today will include some natural forest succession and the left-over geological backbones. Also, if you are supposed to be here during winters, you might see some snow.
2. Explore Sand to Snow: Black Lava Butte and Flat Top Mesa
A sight that rarely is known by many people, the Black Lava Butte and Flat Top Mesa is a place you cannot miss exploring. The famous Sand to Snow National Monument within San Bernardino County includes Black Lava Butte and Flat Top Mesa, which though is its part but actually detached, and thus only a few individuals know about it. Black Lava Butte and Flat Top Mesa are basically both hiking zones that rise 250 feet above the surrounding desert plains known for the scenery and photogenic spots. The trail can be accessed from the north side of Pipes Valley Road with normal to moderate strain. You will find some houses and Joshua trees on the way; consider parking your vehicle and heading forward on foot. Make sure you carry along enough water and sun protectants as days here can be scorching hot.
3. Eat at the local Restaurants
Considering Pioneertown isn’t that famous amongst visitors, it does not have many restaurants. But as wanderers often head here, there are a few places you can stop and eat at. Pappy + Harriet’s is definitely a place to check out in this deserted location, and this honky-tonk restaurant will surely attract you. When here, do try their barbeque preparations and especially the quesadilla that comes with rice and beans. The chili and mac and cheese, along with ribs on their menu too are some of their best offerings. The owners of this restaurant also organize live music performances every weekend.
4. Be There For The Wild West Show on Mane Street.
The Mane Street Stampede in Pioneertown takes you back to the time when the whole site was a movie set and it brings back the actual Wild West film. Wild West show is an authentic vintage experience every Saturday from April to September. The show starts at 2:30 pm and is free to watch. The performers are dressed as cowboys, outlaws, ladies, mimicking if they have come straight out of the 1800s or 1900s film era. The show is quite fun, lively, and full of laughter, and one can expect great family-packed entertainment here. During winters, the organizers also bring horses to the set, which further are readily available for kids to ride. The Wild West Show on Mane Street is indeed a charm, and you can find an audience here from far over states and countries.
5. Sight UFO from the Touch Giant Rock If You Can
20 minutes off from the Pioneertown is a small incorporated community named Landers that is home to a large freestanding boulder. It is claimed to be the largest freestanding boulder in the world, with a height of 5,800 square feet of the ground. Getting up to where the giant rock is a challenge and adventure in itself as one has to drive through the desert, crossing several paved paths. Earlier from the year 1950 to 1960, it was a popular location amongst UFO enthusiasts; however, today, it is famous for off-roading, camping, and quick day trips. Even though there isn’t much to see and explore, you will always find a rush from early afternoon until late evening.
6. Explore the Cholla Cactus Garden
Pioneertown is one of the gateways to the Joshua National Park, and when here, you cannot just miss the Cholla Cactus Garden. This deserted garden is known for its unique-looking cactus plants, some as massive as humans spread all over the place, to the far (est) you can watch. There is a .25 miles boardwalk and natural trail in between that allow the viewers to capture the sight while keeping them from falling over the dangerous cacti. Though, the garden is rushed all throughout the day, but the best time to be here is around the evening hours when the sunlight gets low, and the colored tops of cacti light up like glowing bulbs.
7. Boulder Gardens
Last though not least, Boulder Garden is another unique presentation of Pioneertown. It is basically a unique and beautiful desert hideaway spread over 640 acres of the pristine massive desert boulder. It is both home and community to Garth, who is a world traveler and is building this space for over 30 years now. There are various distinct boulders, a cement tipi, tables piled with crystals, a sauna, an outdoor kitchen and living space, both wild and domestic animals, year-round springs, fruit trees, and ponds. As per Garth, the land has over 10,000 exciting stories. If you happen to be near or in Pioneertown, then planning a picnic or camping night over at the Boulder Gardens definitely sounds like a plan.