Desert Journey: Unveiling the Scenic Pinto Basin Road in the Joshua Tree NP

Pinto Basin Road is a very scenic desert drive located in Riverside County, in the U.S. state of California.

Pinto Basin Road

Is Pinto Basin Road paved?

Located within the Joshua Tree National Park, the road is totally paved. It’s said to be the main road through the length of Joshua Tree National Park. The road is pretty rugged and remote and is two-lane along its entire length. It was improved recently: reconditioning the road surface, improving and rehabilitating drainage features, repairing flood damaged segments of roadway, realigning short segments to improve traffic visibility, and making minor adjustments to the road width to accommodate today’s wider vehicles and more safely allow bicycles to use the road shoulder.

How long is Pinto Basin Road?

It’s 47km (29.7 miles) long, running south-north from Cottonwood Visitor Center to Pinto Wye. This road, also known as Park Route 11, takes you from the Mojave Desert to the Sonoran Desert. Drive carefully and obey posted speed limits. Many wild animals, including the threatened desert tortoise, have been killed by speeding cars. It’s steep in parts, hitting a 5.3% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. It’s a beautiful journey full of many interesting things to see. A few venomous animals live in the park, including rattlesnakes, scorpions, and black widow spiders. When hiking or climbing in the park, always look before you place your hands or feet. Avoid stepping or reaching into places you cannot see.

Is Pinto Basin Road closed?

Set high in the southern portion of the U.S. state of California, the road tops out at 1.197m (3,927ft) above the sea level. During the summer, expect high temperatures, intense sunlight, and low humidity. Storms and flash floods can be powerful and sudden. The road can be closed anytime due to flash flood damages caused by torrential rainstorms. Avoid canyons and washes during rainstorms and be prepared to move to higher ground. While driving, be alert for water running across dips in the road. Remember: turn around, don't drown.

Pic: Joshua Tree National Park