Joshua Tree Road & Gravel - Lizard Head Cycling Guides
107 Aurum St, Box 855, Ophir, CO 81426 970.728.5891

Joshua Tree Road & Gravel

Please click here to jump to the Overview section with all tour details including pricing.

Join us in Southern California on Lizard Head’s newest road & gravel bike tour as we explore a spectacular region where two distinct desert ecosystems – the Mojave Desert and Colorado Plateau – come together: Joshua Tree National Park.

We’ll meet in Los Angeles (LA) and shuttle east into the Mojave desert. Our first ride starts in the town of Indio – a town founded as a railroad stopover between Yuma, AZ and Los Angeles that is now known as the home to Coachella, one of the largest music and arts festivals in the country. With the vast landscapes of the open desert, we’ll ride to our first accommodations in the town of Desert Hot Springs.

Before we head into Joshua Tree National Park, we’ll take a day to explore the less visited region around the town of Joshua Tree, including a lunch stop in Pioneertown, a town founded in the 1940s by Hollywood investors that became a movie set for dozens of Western flicks through the 1950s and 60s!

Our final three days will be spent riding our bikes through Joshua Tree National Park. Get used to seeing the famous Joshua Trees themselves…although not actually a tree, they’ll be everywhere! Keep your eyes peeled for the variety of animals that call the National Park home, too: white-tailed antelope, kangaroo rats, coyotes, fox, bobcat, bighorn sheep, mule deer, desert spiny lizards, and the desert tortoise to name a few! The National Park is also known for being home to dozens of spectacular rock formations.

Joshua Tree Road & Gravel: Highlights

Joshua Tree Road & Gravel: Dates

Potential tour dates are listed below and not all tour dates will run. Lock in your preferred tour date early as unopened tour dates will be closed. Please see the Spring/Autumn Tour Calendar and the Summer Tour Calendar for confirmed departures. Any unopened date can be a Custom Week (9 riders required). Please contact us via email or call 970.728.5891

To easily register for a particular tour, please click the Book Now! link after the tour date listed below. This will select the tour name and the appropriate date on the registration form.

2024 Tour Dates

Tour Status Notes: NO STATUS = Date Set, no riders have signed up. TOUR OPENED = Tour Opened, rider minimums not met. TOUR A GO! = Tour is Go, rider minimums met. SOLD OUT = Tour Full, rider maximums met.

Why Should you Sign-Up Now and OPEN a Tour Date?
This is the proverbial chicken and the egg conundrum! We need our cyclists to first commit to the date that works for them so that we can commit to that date.

For starters, when you OPEN a date you get to pick your preferred departure date, and there is no penalty if the tour does not run. Once you pick your tour date, Lizard Head closes nearby dates and funnels all additional riders to your chosen date until the tour meets its 6 rider minimum.

BONUS: As an added bonus, we can also hold a spot for you on another tour date of your choosing. There is no fee to switch to another tour date.

In conclusion, if you want a tour to run, we need you to sign up and not wait for others to do the same! Waiting for others may mean that a tour date takes longer or does not confirm. Just Do It! Once a few riders jump into the proverbial waters, others will follow!

Joshua Tree Road & Gravel: Overview

Reptile Rewards

Tour Length: 5-Days Cycling/4-Nights Lodging

Meeting/Ending Town: Los Angeles, CA

Total Miles: 185 miles (additional mileage options available)

Ability Level: Intermediate (2/3) , Upper Intermediate (3) , Advanced (3/4) , Expert (4)

Tour Cost: $2,715 per person. Add $495 per person to this Tour Cost for a private room each night of the tour (includes 4-Nights).

Tour Discounts: Please see our Reptile Rewards & Tour Discounts page to learn more about Reptile Rewards, Tour Discounts, and Group Discounts. Tour discounts are not stackable with any other discounts or promotions – only the highest valued discount is provided. Please note that for discounts to apply the tour minimum must be met.

Tour Includes: 5 days of guide service, all meals, park service fees, energy food, liquid refreshments, shuttles, and mechanical support. Alcoholic beverages, bike rental, and massage are additional.

Lodging for 4 Nights: (subject to change)

Meeting Hotel and Ending Hotel reservations and costs are NOT included unless specified otherwise. Guests are on-their-own to make reservations at the Meeting Hotel or Ending Hotel, or other nearby hotels.

Gravel Bike Rentals

NOTE: The make, model, and specifications of rental bikes may differ from what is described below. Please contact us if you have any specific needs for a rental bike or have any questions about rental bikes.

Lizard Head Cycling Guides is proud to rent the Scott 2023 Addict 30 which is light, can handle rough terrain, fits chunky tires and has enough mounts to carry all the liquids and freeze-dried chicken curry you want. What's really important, though is what this bike allows you to do. Now, perhaps more than ever, the Addict Gravel 30 is your ticket to adventure when you need it most.

The Addict 30 features: Addict Gravel Disc HMF Carbon Gravel geometry, Shimano GRX 22 speed drivetrain, Shimano BR-RX400 hydraulic disc brakes, Schwalbe G-ONE Bite Performance 700x45C tires. Approx. Weight: 20.3 / 9.2 kg (without pedals)

Learn more about our Rental Bikes and Equipment

If you have any further questions, please read more on our Rental Bikes FAQ page. You can also email us at or call us at 970.728.5891

Meals On Tour

Lizard Head Cycling Guides provides most meals on all tours (unless otherwise noted) including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Guides will prepare a daily lunch en route for nearly every tour, both road and off-road, as well as provide nutritious snacks at periodic aid stations during the day.

Most of our road tours utilize local restaurants for all meals and occasionally guides may prepare a dinner or two during a tour. Due to the nature of being "off the grid", most of our off-road tours feature guide prepared meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. FUN NOTE: When guides prepare a meal in camp and the guests sit around and watch, this is called "Guide TV". :)

We also pride ourselves on being able to cater to specific dietary requests and needs, so rest assured that you will be able to get the nutrition that works best for you during your tour. Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan, or a someone who loves it all – we will keep you well fed during the tour!

Lunches: Lizard Head Cycling Guides prepares healthy lunches to keep you going. We will serve you fresh organic fruits and veggies, salads, hummus, sandwich fixings, nuts, gourmet cheeses and, of course, plenty of salty/sweet snacks such as chips and cookies.

Dinners: On our road tours, Lizard Head Cycling sources our favorite restaurants in each town that we visit. Our guides focus on establishments that offer fresh and local ingredients and guests choose whatever they desire to eat off the menu including: appetizer, salad, entrée, and of course, dessert... yum! :) Also, while on tour if a guest wants to dine early before the group and go to bed, this is fine. We understand that on some days sleep is the most important post-ride element.

Ability Level: Can I Ride This Tour?

Definition of Ability Levels

= Intermediate (2/3) Rides and/or takes spin classes 1 to 3 times a week for a total of 50 or more miles.
= Upper Intermediate (3) Rides and/or takes spin classes 2 to 4 times a week for a total of 75 or more miles.
= Advanced (3/4) Rides and/or takes spin classes 3 to 5 times a week for a total of 100 or more miles. Has ridden multi-day tours and done a century ride.
= Expert (4) Rides 4 or more times per week totaling 150 or more miles. Rides E.F.I. with regularity. Has done numerous multi-day tours, century rides and races.

How Fit do I Have to Be? If one month prior to the tour, you can ride 2 to 3 times a week equaling a total of 75 or more miles a week, you'll do just fine. We like to jokingly say that "one is ready for a Lizard Head Cycling Tour when they are finished with tour" and this is true! The only way to simulate a week long bike tour is to go on a week long tour.

Our average rider age is 55 years. These are bike tours, not races so we take our time to stop, take pictures and see the sights. We have all day to reach our destination and most riders take "bumps" at some points. We offer reduced mileage options for each day. Of course if someone wants to ride E.F.I. (Every Freaking Inch), we love to show them all the extra climbs, loops and hidden canyons that can be included!

Do the Bump! Daily mileage options allow cyclists of varying abilities to enjoy this tour. One of our favorite options is to give cyclists a "bump" via the support vehicle, or a 10 to 20 mile lift down the road representing an hour of pedal time. After the bump the rider is "off the front" and riding at his or her own pace without feeling they are being left behind the group. They'll then have time to linger and take in the spectacular scenery. All cyclists come together in time for lunch. Afterwards, cyclists can take another bump and/or continue riding.

Seamless Mileage Options: Lizard Head Cycling Guides designs multiple mileage options for each tour – something we're well known for in our business. This technique is similar to heliskiing in that one does not ski everything, they ski the best. 🙂

Slow or Fast? Many cyclists who sign up for our tours have worried themselves silly about not being able to keep up, but then they're surprised to find that all the worrying was about nothing. They do just fine! Slow and Fast only exist relative to other cyclists. Speed does not matter as long as one is moving on the bike. As long as one is moving, they are truly going fast enough.

If you have questions about your ability to ride this tour, please contact our office via email or call us at 970.728.5891 - we'll more than happy to guide you!

Please also see this blog post for more information.

Overall Route Map

Below is an example of the daily routes for this tour and are subject to change based on season, available accommodations, road closures, and other factors. The actual routes will be made available to registered participants before their tour, so please view these routes as a general outline as to what to expect.

Joshua Tree Road & Gravel: Itinerary*

*PLEASE NOTE: Tour itineraries are subject to change and modification based on the group, available accommodations, road construction, road closures, and other unforeseen circumstances including weather, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, landslides and/or other acts of nature. Also, the distances and elevation profiles shown below may not reflect the actual distances and elevations while on tour as these are provided here to give an idea as to the anticipated mileage and terrain. Please view this itinerary, the distances, and elevation profiles as a general outline as to what to expect while on this tour.

Day 1: Indio to Desert Hot Springs
29 miles with up to 2,090 feet of climbing

After arrival in the City of Angels, Los Angeles, we’ll shuttle into the Mojave Desert. We’ll start our first ride just outside of the small town of Indio and get our first taste of riding through the desert as we make our way to our accommodations. We’ll feel inspired by the vast, dry landscape and mountains that surround us as we get excited about the riding yet to come.


Elevation Profile: 29 miles +2,090 feet / -1,000 feet

Day 2: Joshua Tree Loop
39 miles with up to 2,390 feet of climbing

Before we explore the heart of the National Park, we’ll take a day to experience more of the ‘off the beaten path’ area of the Joshua Tree region. We’ll start our loop in the town of Joshua Tree.. We’ll climb gently into the hillside as we absorb the sights and sounds of the desert. We’ll climb to the little town of Rimrock, and then stop for lunch in Pioneertown – a town that was once a movie set for Western flicks in the 50s and 60s.


Elevation Profile: 39 miles +2,390 feet / -2,390 feet

Day 3: Joshua Tree National Park to TwentyNine Palms
37 miles with up to 2,180 feet of climbing

Today, we get our first taste of Joshua Tree National Park! While a gentle uphill gradient characterizes the first half of our day, the more we ascend, the more we’ll find ourselves in awe of our surroundings. The spectacular desert landscapes that make Joshua Tree one of the most iconic National Parks in the country will be on full display. We’ll detour off of the main through roads of the Park to experience a bit of gavel riding before a long descent into the town of TwentyNine Palms – home for the next two nights.


Elevation Profile: 37 miles +2,180 feet / -2,920 feet

Day 4: Joshua Tree National Park Loop
48 miles with up to 3,050 feet of climbing

All those other roads in the National Park that you saw yesterday and were curious about? Today is our day to ride them! If you’re feeling ambitious, you can start the ride from town (add 10 miles and 800’). Otherwise, we’ll shuttle up to the Park entrance to save our legs for more exploration! The high of today is a climb up to Key’s Point (5,000’!), where we’ll enjoy panoramic view of the Santa Rosa Mountains, Coachella Valley, Palm Springs, and the San Andreas fault.


Elevation Profile: 48 miles +3,050 feet / -3,890 feet

Day 5: Joshua Tree National Park To Mecca
66 miles with up to 3,490 feet of climbing

Don’t let the mileage deceive you…while this will be our longest day on the bike, the last 30 miles are all downhill! We’ll climb for a few miles out of TwentyNine Palms before a long descent with sweeping desert views. A smaller second climb awaits, but the scenery is so spectacular that you won’t even notice the burn in your legs! After hitting our high point in the Park (almost 4,000’!), we’ll descend all they way to the town of Mecca. There, we hop in the van to make our way back to Los Angeles.


Elevation Profile: 66 miles +3,490 feet / -5,660 feet

Joshua Tree Road & Gravel: Logistics & FAQs

General Tour & Cancellation Policies

Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with all of our tour and cancellation policies, which can be found by clicking here.

Travel Insurance

If you have not already, now would be a great time to consider adding travel insurance to your tour. You are welcome to use any travel insurance company you would like. We recommend Generali/Trip Mate.

Generally, if contracting COVID causes clients to cancel or interrupt their tour, trip insurance companies would treat it as any other illness as long as it is contracted after the insurance was purchased. Please check your individual plan documentation for details. Please note that quarantine is usually only covered if clients are actually sick with COVID. If a state requires quarantine upon arrival because of standardized state law, coverage is generally not covered. Again, check your individual plan documentation for details.

American Guests - use this link:

  • The Premium Plan is the only plan which offers Pre-Existing coverage so long as the plan is purchased prior to Final Payment.
  • The Premium Plan is the only plan that offers an optional Cancel For Any Reason - the policy must be purchased within 24 hours of initial trip deposit, the full trip cost must be insured, and if they cancel for Any Reason, it must be 48 hours prior to departure, and the reimbursement for an Any Reason claim is 60% of pre-paid, insured, non-refundable trip cost.
  • Customer Service can be reached at 1-800-874-2442 for coverage questions and policy modifications or to purchase by phone. Agency Code: LIZA0855

Canadian Guests - use this link:

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