About Us

The City of Twentynine Palms is the home of Joshua Tree National Park Headquarters and Main Park Entrance (the North Entrance) and proud host of the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, the world's largest Marine Corps training base. The City is renowned for its world-class murals and artists, supportive business climate, pristine air, beautiful natural surroundings, desert and mountain vistas, and friendly family lifestyle.
Beyond the last of the traffic lights, we are the gateway to the Mojave Desert, Joshua Tree National Park, the Mojave National Preserve, and the great California Outback.  Enjoy our website, but we also invite you to experience the history, culture, lustrous starlit skies, breath-taking sunsets, and sunrises in person.


Oasis of Mara 1940s, Harlow Jones
The first recorded exploration of Twentynine Palms was made in 1855 by desert surveyor Colonel Henry Washington. He found Native Americans, principally from the Chemeheuvi tribe, living in the surrounding hills and near the spring they called "Mar-rah," meaning "land of little water." The spring, now called the Oasis of Mara, is located on the grounds of the historic 29 Palms Inn adjacent to Joshua Tree National Park Headquarters.
The early Native American inhabitants (Serrano, Chemheuvi, and Cahuilla) were followed in the 1870s by prospectors in search of gold. The Oasis of Mara was a favorite camping spot where prospectors would rest and replenish their water supplies before venturing farther into the unknown desert. The area was then generally known as Palms Springs.
Legend says that these gold miners first used the name of Twentynine Palms because of the 29 Washingtonia filifera palm trees surrounding the Oasis. In fact, the area was designated as such in the description of a mining claim by two partners, McKenzie and Germain, who stated that their claim was a certain distance from 29 Palms Springs. However, it is also known that A.P. Green, a member of an 1858 survey party, reported that there were 26, not 29, fine, large palm trees at the oasis. There are many stories of the derivation of our present name, including one that claims that it was Colonel Washington who named it for the number of palm trees he found at the oasis at the time of his 1855 survey, but this has never been authenticated.
In the 1870s, local Native Americans led prospectors to locations south and east of the oasis where gold had been found. Thus, mining began in the area that later became known as Gold Park. It was not long before freighters were hauling supplies to be used in the Gold Park District and the Dale Mining District east of Twentynine Palms, where other valuable deposits had been located. Gold mining continued sporadically through the following years but ended about the time of the onset of World War I when no further new ore deposit discoveries were occurring.
After the war, many veterans returned to their homes suffering from tuberculosis and the effects of the mustard gas that had been used in combat. Dr. James B. Luckie from Pasadena, California, treated many of these men and, in the 1920s, began to search for an area in the California desert that would provide a beneficial environment for people afflicted with respiratory and heart ailments. After visiting many places, he chose Twentynine Palms because it had a moderate elevation, clean, dry air, and was accessible to large cities. Veterans brought their families and began homesteading the 160-acre parcels, then made available to settlers by the federal government at no cost. This homesteading determined the widespread area that is Twentynine Palms today.
29 Palms Desert Road 1933, Bill HatchCrude two-rut roads were built beginning in 1927, and the burgeoning new community established its own school. Twentynine Palms has a short but rugged history. Many of the same ideals and values exist here today as they did in those early days. Pioneer Helen Bagley, author of "Sand in My Shoes," stated in her writings, "We did not always work in peace and harmony. But sincerity, interest, and enthusiasm we had in common. We accomplished."
History, of course, is what we all make daily in our everyday lives, and Twentynine Palms has never lost its pioneer spirit as it has progressed. That spirit is catching and affects many who have chosen to make their home here and joined with the original families (and their second and third generations) in actively supporting the community's goals.
(Photo credits: Top: Oasis of Mara, 1940s, by Harlow Jones. Above, Desert Road: 29 Palms "Highway," 1933, by Bill Hatch.)
Visit the 29 Palms Historical Society website for more information.


29 Palms, Bucklin Park, 29 Palms Visitor CenterThe City of Twentynine Palms, California, in the southern Mojave Desert, is the home of Joshua Tree National Park headquarters and north entrance and proud host of the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, the world's largest Marine Corps training base. Known for its clear skies, brilliant star-filled nights, desert and mountain vistas, wide open spaces, and world-class murals and public art, the City offers a haven for artists and nature lovers, a restful getaway destination for visitors, a scenic location for photography and filming, a supportive climate for small businesses, a family-friendly lifestyle for residents, and a healthy environment for retirees.
Developed as a desert homesteading community in the 1920s, the City of Twentynine Palms was incorporated on November 23, 1987. Situated in the Morongo Basin area of San Bernardino County, about 140 miles east of Los Angeles and 50 miles northeast of Palm Springs, the City encompasses 58 square miles and has a population of approximately 30,000 residents.
Twentynine Palms serves as a gateway community to the nearly 800,000-acre Joshua Tree National Park on the south and the 1,100-square-mile Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center on the north, as well as the Mojave National Preserve, Amboy Crater, Route 66, and other desert destinations. With various restaurants and lodging properties, from historic inns to modern hotels and RV facilities, the City offers ample accommodations for some of the 2.4 million annual visitors to the national park and convenient lodging for contractors and families visiting the Marine base.
Among the City's amenities are two community parks with playgrounds, picnic cabanas, ball fields, youth and adult sports programs, public swimming pool, and skateboard park, plus three downtown plaza parks, two golf courses, a visitor center, a host of annual events, and cultural attractions including a museum, library, art galleries, murals and public art, a community theater, and one of America's last drive-in movie theaters.
Twentynine Palms is proud of its dark night sky and premier stargazing locale. Our Sky's the Limit Observatory & Nature Center in Twentynine Palms, next to the north entrance to Joshua Tree National Park, is one of the best places in the world for stargazing. The site offers free star-viewing events every Saturday night (except during a full moon).
Less than 5 miles from the national park entrance and the main gate of the Marine Corps base is the main business district of Twentynine Palms. Besides abundant lodging and dining, a variety of small businesses form the backbone of the local economy, with independent retail and service businesses supplemented by several national chains and corporate entities. More than 600 business licenses are issued in the City each year.
Public education is provided by the Morongo Basin Unified School District, with four elementary schools and three secondary schools in Twentynine Palms. Copper Mountain College in nearby Joshua Tree offers associate's degrees and nursing programs. Chapman University, a private institution with its main campus in Orange County, has a campus located on the Marine base.
Health care is provided by the 29 Palms Naval Hospital aboard the Marine base, which treats active duty and retired military personnel, and the public hospital in Joshua Tree, which consists of Hi-Desert Medical Center, a modern, 59-bed primary care hospital, and the Continuing Care Center, a 120-bed skilled nursing facility. Several family health clinics are available in Twentynine Palms, and Hi-Desert Memorial Health Care District operates diagnostic, treatment, rehabilitation services, home health, Hospice, and other services in the area.
Housing in Twentynine Palms is affordable for families, singles, seniors, and retirees. Homes range from large modern residences, custom homes, ranches, and rural living properties to medium-sized subdivision dwellings, apartment complexes, and artist studios. The median home sales price is in the mid-$100,000 range, and rentals are plentiful in all price ranges.
The call of the desert has lured many artists, musicians, early retirees, and urban escapees into becoming desert residents in recent years. And because of its friendly community spirit, Twentynine Palms is a wonderful place to make a home while stationed at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center.
Welcome to Twentynine Palms, where our motto is "Life is Fine in 29!"
For more information, see our visitor section at visit29.org.


29 Palms, California, welcome signIncorporated on November 23, 1987, the City of Twentynine Palms encompasses 53.75 square miles (larger than the City of San Francisco) and has grown from a population of 11,000 to nearly 30,000. The City, governed by a five-member City Council, began with seven full-time employees and today employs over 35 full-time and 40 part-time employees. The City of Twentynine Palms is dedicated to securing the quality of life through development and preservation.
Statistically, in the San Bernardino-Riverside market area, the City is geographically separated from urban centers by a mountain range, creating a unique and desirable small town living environment. The dry desert climate has temperatures similar to the San Bernardino-Riverside area and is cooler than Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley, with clean air and low humidity. The City has an adequate supply of quality water for the foreseeable future through the Twentynine Palms Water District. Due to the abundant sunshine, proximity to the "wind belt," and the presence of geothermal water, the region has been earmarked for alternative energy research and development for the 21st century. Due to the extraordinary variety of spectacular scenery, Twentynine Palms is also growing as a favorite location for photo shoots and the filming industry.
Although separated from the Southern California megalopolis by mountains, Twentynine Palms is close in proximity to the urban population, which enables it to take advantage of a large market without being located within it, thereby escaping many of the economic and environmental burdens that can be attached to an urban population. Military dependents, the local labor pool, and the community college provide a large inventory of skilled workers at competitive wages. The community is business-friendly, and we are actively seeking new job-producing businesses and services for our residents. Speak to our City Staff or the Chamber of Commerce if you wish to learn more about opportunities in our growing community.
We hope you have a chance to visit our unique and beautiful community and learn that the City of Twentynine Palms, relaxed and friendly, is truly a gateway to the California Outback and a beautiful desert oasis for body, mind, and spirit!