We stayed at Cottonwood Springs for 4 nights before moving North to Belle. This campground was isolated and quiet, but it had water and a dump station. The trail to Cottonwood Springs is closed and it is quite far from other sights of the park, so there is not much to do here. It is a terrific place to relax and wander around the desert. Our 32' fifth wheel barely fit in one of the back-in spaces (we had to park our truck by the restrooms) but this was a better option than the "pull-through" sites, which were just too narrow to put out our slides safely. If you want a choice of sites, you need to arrive between Sunday and Thursday during the peak season. We camped here in a Fifth Wheel.
Be advised, if you have a slideout and can't back into a site for a 25' trailer, you are out of luck. The so-called pull through sites are wide spots on the curvy loop roads, and with rocks that prohibit "cheating" by pulling your wheels into the sand, you cannot extend a slide without being in the roadway. We had to leave. Some kind of warning on the NPS website, or when we called them would have saved us an hour. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.
Big thanks to the camp host who posted the earlier review. As stated, this is the last camp to fill up. Tried Jumbo and Belle but they were long since full. Spring Break is no different than any other peak weekend. Campers show up on Thursday evening to grab a spot. Most of them leave Sunday morning. Our 29 footer fit in one of the back in spots with room on the side for our truck. Nice and quiet, even though full. Great hiking. Hope to return again to Jumbo or Belle for easier access to boulder climbing for the kids. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.
Full disclosure - we've been Campground Hosts here for the last two months. Thought we'd share a few notes for those wishing to visit Cottonwood Spring: This campground is much quieter and has a good bit more "elbow" room per site than most of the other campgrounds in JTNP. Cottonwood Campground fills up last as it's the most remote in terms of distance from civilization. When all of the more northern sites in JTNP have filled up, Cottonwood will frequently still have sites. Fair warning though, the sites are all first come, first serve with the exception of the three group sites located at the entry to Cottonwood. All of the sites have paved pads, none are exactly what you'd call "level". Bring leveling boards with you. There is a black/grey water dump and water fill station available in the Park right next to the Campground. Currently the dump fee is $5. The longest coach we've had in here was 40'. There are several sites that accommodate that size rig, however as other posters have noted, you may not be able to safely extend your drivers side slideouts as the "pull-out" pads are not all that wide. We'd strongly suggest that you drop your toad before entering the campground. No, firewood is not available in the Park, but fire rings are provided. Don't even think of collecting wood in the Park!!! There is plenty to do in the immediate area of Cottonwood. The southern location in the Park also makes for a good base to explore the rest of the Park while still experiencing the quiet beauty of the desert. As of Dec 2012, there is no cell phone or Wi-Fi available in the campground. This has been one of the nicest places we've ever had the opportunity to visit, let alone explore for the last few months and would highly recommend that you take the time to visit Joshua Tree NP. We camped here in a Motorhome.
Roads were paved, BUT watch out if you're in a low ground clearance MH. Speed bumps are also storm water crossings. Sites are back-in and pullout, not pull throughs. Well kept with nice National Park camping atmosphere. There is generator run times, then quiet hours. We will return. We camped here in a Motorhome.
This is a great place to be at this time of year. After the spring rains everything is in bloom, and the temperatures are still moderate. We enjoyed many great hikes, a nice trip through the park, and some neat walking tours. We have stayed at Indian Cove, too, and if you have the time to try both, do so as there are two unique deserts here, each with its own diversity. The nightly fee does not include the park entrance fee of $15, and if you show up after they close the office just pay the park fee the next day - they were very courteous about it. For camping there is a drop box and the camp hosts will check to see if you paid. Some items of note. As other reviewers have said, this is a first come place. The pull throughs are not pull through - they are pull outs and narrow at that - if you want to use your slides, you will probably not be able to here (unless they are on your passenger side). The back in spots are great though, and if you find a good one you can navigate your rear end over the rocks and fit in nicely (we have a 34ft motorhome). Here we were able to put out both slides. Also, there is no phone service here; you are about four miles back to Hwy 10 to get a signal, and there's no pay phone either. Park entrance fees are also cash only (although the general store - books and maps - takes credit cards manually). Bring plenty of water as this is dry and desert. There are several potable water sources in the park as well. We did here just like Indian Cove in that we came empty and filled our tanks at the dump station ($5) - saved a lot of gas not hauling 75 gallons of water. Then dumped on the way out, too. We camped here in a Motorhome.
Typical National Park Service campground. No services. Water faucet nearby. Beautiful desert setting. Great star viewing at night. Many of the sites are "pull-out" or "pull-over" that are long enough for big rigs but are not quite wide enough. We brought in our "street-side" slideouts in each night because they extended out into the roadway a few inches and I was afraid some errant driver might hit one. We camped here in a Fifth Wheel.
This is the only campground in Joshua Tree National Park located on the south-side of the park. It is located within the Colorado Desert side of the park. There are 62 sites in two loops. The sites are all dry. There are flush toilets and sinks with cold water only. There is a trail head within the 1/4 mile leading to some exceptional desert hiking where you may view the remnants of an old mill site, mine and a palm oasis. If you're lucky you'll see some big horn sheep getting a drink. There is also a trail to Mastodon Peak with some exceptional views of the Salton Sea and the Coachella Valley. There is a dump station. This campground is big rig friendly with spaces up to 55'. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.
Nice campground. Not as dramatic as Jumbo Rocks but does have water and a dump station. Typical "desert" campground. We had to drive around a bit to find a nice level campsite but did find one. This campground is more amenable for longer rigs if you have one. Again for $15 it can't be beat. Very nice rangers. We camped here in a Motorhome.