2020 Joshua Tree Half Marathon

This has quickly become a favorite of thousands to cap off their racing season! Join us for a fun night under the stars at the 4th running of the Joshua Tree Half Marathon. As the sun dips below the horizon, the party begins with a night race through the desert!

  • Location: Joshua Tree, California
  • Date: Nov. 7, 2020
  • Terrain: Sand!
  • Difficulty: 💧💧💧 Moderate

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Quick Info

Race Details

Date: November 7, 2020
Location: Joshua Tree, California
Start Time: 6:15pm – 10:15pm
Weather: 64° / 39°F

Course Type: Loop
Stroller friendly? No
Disability friendly? No
Dogs allowed? No

November 7, 2020, 10am–5:00pm
Joshua Tree Lake RV & Campground

Bib & Packet Pickup
Expo pickup recommended (bibs available until 5:30pm). Other options.

Registration Periods & Pricing

Early: $109 Feb 7 – May 17
Regular:  $129 May 18 – Sep. 6
Late: $149 Sep. 7 – Race Expo

Refund Policy
Refunds available during:
•Early Registration: yes (no fee)
•Regular Registration: yes ($10 fee). 
•Late Registration: NO 
*Refunds not available due to weather

Deferral, Race Transfer, and Bib Transfer any time through the race expo ($20 fee). Full policy details.

Want to use a deferred credit? 
Login to RunSignup, click Deferrals, Complete Deferments

Travel & Other Info

Fly Into
Palm Springs (PSP) - 1 hr.
Ontario California (ONT) - 2 hrs.
Los Angeles (LAX) - 4 hrs.

Driving Directions: Google Maps

We strongly recommend staying at the Joshua Tree Lake RV & Campground. Other options.

Race Overview & Details

The Course

This course is a challenging course through the Mojave Desert in Joshua Tree, CA (just minutes outside of Joshua Tree National Park) near Copper Mountain. This will be a night run. Running through the desert at night comes with unique challenges. The course will not have lighting.

The race will start and finish at the Joshua Tree Lake RV & Campground. With the exception of a quarter mile at the start and a one mile section in the middle, this course is entirely on dirt roads and trails. The dirt roads will have sand on them adding to the challenge of this course. The loose sand on course that, depending on recent weather and traffic conditions, can range from hard packed dirt to deep sand (imagine running on the beach).

The darkness and the loose sand make this a challenging course and not stroller friendly. Runners should take these conditions into consideration when choosing this race.

*Headlights are required
**Gaiters and buffs/bandanas/etc. are recommended

Additional Details

The Course

Aid Stations

Expect about 6 aid stations on the course beginning around mile 3. Aid stations include toilets, water, Gnarly Hydrate, Honey Stinger gels, basic first aid supplies, and sometimes more. 

All stations are cup-free so plan to bring your own hydration solution or request a free HydraPouch when you register. 

Additional Details

Free Custom Training Program for this Race!

No matter your skill level, when you're pushing your limits it's nice to have a little guidance. We're excited to offer FREE training programs for all skill levels.
Check it out ≫

Travel Info

Getting Here

If you're flying in for the race, we recommend flying into to Palm Springs International airport (PSP). It's the closest but it's small.

If PSP doesn't work for you, the next closest airports are ONT and LAX. 

Where to Stay

We definitely recommend staying at Joshua Tree Lake RV & Campground. That's where the expo, start, and finish lines will be located.

Need more options? Check other options on the Joshua Tree Travel Info page

Restaurants & Activities

Our friends at the Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce have rounded up some of the best hotels, restaurants and shops providing special promotions for the Joshua Tree Half Marathon!

Race Day

The race expo will be open from 10am to 5:00pm at the Joshua Tree Lake RV & Campground. This is where you'll pick up your bib and race packet (available until 5:30pm). All cars should be parked by 5:00pm to avoid congestion and to allow enough time to get ready for the race.

The sun will set at 5:51pm and the race will begin promptly at 6:15pm. You'll have 4 hours to complete the course. 

Clubs & Trifecta

We like to encourage our runners to get out and enjoy the area where we hold our races, so we designate certain challenging and iconic activities in the park to be a part of our official club hikes and less-intense, 3-part trifecta. These will be the Oasis Club, the Boy Scout Club, the Keys Club and the Hidden Valley / Barker Dam / Keys View trifecta.

Learn more about the Club Hikes and Trifecta at Joshua Tree.

Registration Packages & Pricing

Registration Periods

Early Bird: $109 Feb. 7 – May 17
Regular: $129 May 18 – Sep. 6
Late: $149 Sep. 7 – Race Expo

*There is a limited number of entries to each race, and this event may sell out. If the event is sold out, registration will close regardless of registration period.

Such a fun and beautiful race

This was such a fun and beautiful race. And the three days of camping were awesome, right near the finish line.

Pamela Hansen
Yosemite Half Marathon Runner

Race Deferment & Credit

You can manage your deferred credit by logging in to RunSignup, clicking Deferrals, and Complete Deferment. From there you can transfer into another race.

Already have my 2019 and 2020 races picked out! :-)

Rachelle Y.
Vacation Racer

Other events you're Going to Love!

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Joshua Tree Explorer Club Hikes

We like to encourage our runners to get out and enjoy the area where we hold our races, so we designate certain challenging and iconic activities in the park to be a part of our official club hikes and trifecta. We have 3 club hikes plus a less-intense, three-part trifecta!

What do I get? Any runners that take the challenge and complete one of the designated hikes within 72 hours of running the race will officially join the club, and receive a commemorative medallion! All you have to do is submit a picture of yourself at the designated location which includes:

  1. A clear view of your face
  2. Your bib with bib numbers clearly visible
  3. Your finisher medal in plain view
  4. Clear background showing where you are

These hikes are meant to be difficult and they can sometimes be dangerous. If you choose to attempt any of these hikes, you need to take them seriously. Please bring lots of water (more than you think you need), and bear spray.

Keys Club

Listed as a National Historic Site, Keys Ranch is located in a remote, rocky canyon in the 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. Tickets are required and must be purchased in person on the day of the tour. Buy tickets at the Oasis Visitor Center in Twentynine Palms starting at 8:30 am. Keys Ranch tours cost $10 per person aged 12 and over and $5 for children 6 to 11. Children under six are admitted free. Senior and Access Pass holders pay $5.

Boy Scout Club

The Boy Scout Trail is a mostly flat trail along the edge of the Wonderland of Rocks. This is a very popular trail in the park because there are diverse things to see. The geological formations all around take your breath away. Travel through Joshua tree forests, boulder landscape, and sandy washes. After being on Boy Scout Trail for 1.25 miles there is a well marked sign verging off to the right for Willow Hole. Depending on what time of day to hike, many enjoy the sunset on their way back to the trailhead.

Oasis Club

The trailhead is located at Cottonwood Spring. After the palms at the springs, the trail climbs toward the southeast through scrub desert. The boulder piles and rocky gullies become more common as the trail continues toward Lost Palms Oasis. At 3.3 miles, there is a spur trail that leads to the right to an overlook with birds-eye views of the green palms. Climbing back out the canyon is strenuous. Plan on 5-6 hours to complete this hike.

Always check the forecast before heading out on a hike. Changing weather can pass through the desert quickly. Don’t get caught unprepared for the elements. 

Joshua Tree Trifecta

Looking for something less strenuous? Try the Joshua Tree Trifecta, challenging but less strenuous! 

The Trifecta is comprised of 3 different activities. You must complete all 3 in order to complete the Trifecta. These are iconic activities inside the park that should be experienced, but are doable with children.

The 3 activities that makeup the Trifecta are:

This trail is about a 1 mile loop located in the heart of the park. Hidden Valley is a place that was rumored to have been used by 19th century cattle rustlers. Surrounded by gorgeous rock formations with plenty of boulders to scale, as well as guide markers along the trail to identify plants and wildlife. This is an easy walk with a packed sand trail, and is family-friendly with rocks to scramble on, and even some shelter. There's no wrong way to explore Hidden Valley. 

Hidden Valley

Barker Dam was constructed in 1900 for cattle and mining purposes. Today, it holds rainwater and runoff for the local wild animals and if you’re lucky you might get to see wildlife such as birds, rabbits, squirrels, or even bighorn sheep or a rattlesnake (always keep your distance around wildlife). This area causes one to wonder how people managed to exist in this barren environment until some sort of water capture was made. Water may or may not be present. The trail is an easy hike, though closed toed shoes are recommended due to cactus. From the parking lot, follow the rope fencing to get to the trailhead.

Barker Dam

Keys View is a lookout point located a couple of thousand feet above Joshua Tree National Park that provides an incredible vantage point. This is a short, paved loop path that offers breathtaking views of the San Andreas Fault, Mount San Jacinto, Mount San Gorgonio, and the Salton Sea. On a clear day, the prominence of the mountains from this point is stunning as you can see Palm Springs(~500 ft above sea level), and Mt. San Jacinto (10,834 ft above sea level).

Keys View

Other Things to See & Do

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