Hicksville Trailer Palace: JOSHUA TREE, CA

Journey to California’s High Desert and camp at the kitschy Hicksville Trailer Palace in Joshua Tree.

About two hours drive from Los Angeles lies the High Desert, said to be a metaphysical mecca for artists and musicians. The list of artists who have been inspired here is long, as is the folklore:  Gram Parsons, Keith Richards, Donovan, John Lennon, Victoria Williams, and Josh Hommes (Queens of the Stone Age).

You’ll begin to feel civilization fading away in your rear view mirror as you pass the windmills, Yucca trees, boulders and desert wildflowers. Then a strange vibe sets in. Maybe it’s the pure stillness, the desolation, or the mystery of an eco- system whose desert dwellers have survived the intense heat. Joshua State Park is beautiful, vast and mysterious. The large and steep boulders make it a rock climber’s paradise. Pop in your favorite music, stop at the Joshua Tree State park store, and find some Seventy’s vintage. Pioneer Town’s Pappy and Harriet’s is the place for some serious BBQ, and you might even see Robert Plant jamming with some locals.

If you’re staying over night and want to delve further into the unusual, visit Hicksville Trailer Palace. Turning left off highway 62, you will find yourself on a long dirt road that leads you to what looks like a combination of a David Lynch movie set and a rock-and-roll ho down. Located behind an enclosed area and a big wooden gate, Hicksville has ten themed Airstream trailers: The FiFi (all pink inside with glowing wigs), The Pioneer , The Integratrailer (alien-themed), The Lux (Cramps themed), The Pony, The Sweet, and the Sideshow. In addition, there are two off-site trailers: Rancho Diablo and The Tiki Hut. The whole camping area is solar powered, except for the gas stove and shower. In addition to a  killer jukebox, there are games like horseshoes and archery. Don’t miss the jacuzzi, set up on a platform, for some serious star gazing. There are so many stars it’s hypnotizing.

The place is probably at its best when a whole group rents out the space, and makes it a big rustic rock-and-roll party.  At times the property feels like an abandoned Carnival, even isolated, but that may be the intended effect since it was built as an artist’s retreat by a Los Angeles filmmaker. So it’s not surprising that The New World Trailer comes complete with a 30’ monitor and Mac Pro with Final Cut, After Effects, and Final Draft. The Sideshow trailer has a fortuneteller and some other oddities like a prison gate for the bathroom door and DVD’s on aliens. Onsite there’s a a vending machine, a barbecue grill, pans and towels, but it’s definitely camping, so come prepared for roughing it a bit. Also be prepared for an exquisite sunset, sunrise, and a UFO sighting or two!

Rates start at $100 per night. For booking information visit here.


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  1. taylor on March 22, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    The owner of this business is extremely unprofessional and I caution anyone against doing business with him. Two friends bought my wife and I a weekend stay at Hicksville as a wedding present. After having a last minute work emergency, our friends needed to change the reservation and asked if we could move the dates or move the reservation to another friend’s name. Morgan, the owner of Hicksville, was very resistant to this as it was against his “policies”. Morgan was unwilling to work with us when we offered up several very reasonable solutions. Morgan then emailed the following:

    “What I am going to do now is cancel both reservations and refund 100%
    of her money. In addition to this the following four people will not
    be allowed at Hicksville Trailer Palace. Ever.”

    I should note at this point that we weren’t asking for a refund. Because we asked for a small change in services that any other hospitable business would easily accomodate, Morgan BANNED everyone involved in the trip from ever returning (or going as two of the members of the group were going for the first time) to Hicksville.

    Morgan then followed up by harassing our friend via phone and email. My wife (who is a lawyer) stepped in and professionally asked Morgan to stop harassing our friend. Morgan’s response to this was the following email (verbatim except removal of our friend’s name):

    “Dear Alana,

    Shut the fuck up. We’re trying to get her her money and needed a new card because hers didn’t work. I’m not going email you for that. Just because your daddy’s money bought you a law degree doesn’t mean you can continue to bother me with this crap.

    I will no longer be replying to you. Only XXXX on HER refund so you can now fuck off you stupid cunt.

    Hope that’s clear enough for you.


    My wife and I were returning customers, by the way. This was the way we were treated. Again, I STRONGLY caution against doing business with a sexist unprofessional who would treat his customers in such a manor and become so hostile so quickly.

  2. Eric Hiss on March 23, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    We appreciate your input Taylor and invite anyone else with either positive or negative experiences re: Hicksville to weigh in. We’re always interested in people’s experiences (both good and bad) while traveling because it provides the full texture of the travel experience.

  3. Crystal on November 27, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    I’ve seen the above review on every possible place they can post it about Hicksville, and I’d like to say, that hasn’t been my experience at all. I’ve stayed at this venue a few times, and we plan to get married there. The managers/owners/staff have been nothing but accommodating and I’ve had nothing but good times. It’s a great little escape in the middle of the desert to enjoy a nice fire and a beautiful sky with friends. Methinks there’s more to the story than Taylor is letting on.

    My opinion (one that’s shared by the many friends we’ve brought along with us)? Go stay the night at Hicksville. You’ll have fun, you’ll meet great people, and if you treat the staff with respect, you’ll get it back.

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