We own and operate three restored homestead cabins in the Coyote Valley area of north Joshua Tree, about 15 mins from Joshua Tree National Park. All are available for short or longer stays. We are Airbnb “super hosts” with over 800 positive reviews, on Airbnb since 2010. We welcome you!
Sonora cabin, featured in the book ‘Jackrabbit Homestead,’ was constructed in 1955 and still has its original green paint. Book on Airbnb
Dr Leon Gurevitch, recent guest, made this gorgeous photograph of our Sonora cabin
Sunever cabin is a pre-fab homestead cabin, one of many built in the 1950’s in the area (now all disappeared save for this one…). Book on Airbnb
Saturn homestead camp cabin is actually three structures: a restored homestead cabin bunkhouse, a deluxe outhouse with hot-water shower, and an outdoor kitchen/dining structure. Book on Airbnb
We are Stephanie Smith and Jay Babcock. Over 10 years ago we came to the hi-desert, landing in slightly settled, mostly unfenced quiet wilderness, with deep unsmogged horizons, enveloped nightly by a fantastically starred sky. It’s a long way from the urban apartments we spent our adult lives in… Read our story
We’ve come together with over 50 of our neighbors and the Mojave Desert Land Trust to launch a kickass conservation and “mutual aid society” project in our rural desert neighborhood in northern Joshua Tree. We’re calling ourselves Stewards of the Coyote Valley. Here‘s a short photo/write-up on our first workshop.
To our surprise and delight we now own a derelict 20-acre fruit orchard near our homestead cabins. The raw land was purchased by a previous owner in 2003, scraped, irrigated, planted with 1000 fruit trees (now all dead save for 32), and then abandoned about 2 years later. We bought it at the tax sale. Stephanie is now creating a “desert food” arid lands farm and nursery there called ‘Sunever Farms’. Follow along on Instagram.
Jay wrote a piece for the 2nd issue of Ken Layne’s pocket-size print quarterly, DESERT ORACLE. Every single one of you can subscribe and get a full year’s worth of Oracularism for $15 — neat!
The DESERT ORACLE is a field guide to the fascinating American deserts: weird tales, ghost towns, wonderfully bizarre animals and plants, mysteries and folklore, national and state parks, slickrock arches, legends of lost mines and ships on the sand dunes, beloved authors and artists, and plenty of oddball desert characters from the past and the present.
A 1937 map of the hi-desert area one year after Joshua Tree National Monument was created (it became a Park in 1994). Click image to enlarge.
Los Angeles Public Library map librarian Glen Creason shares a map from the Central Library’s collection:
The map here makes Joshua Tree and its surroundings look pretty cool. There are palms everywhere on the map—among them, presumably, Washingtonia filifera or the desert palm, the only true native. The Painted Canyon is visible here, as are the Cottonwood, Eagle, Pinto and Little San Bernardino Mountains. The Colorado River Aqueduct crosses the map as a white line; construction had finished shortly before the rendering, and water began flowing toward Los Angeles in 1939.
The few humans depicted here are mostly tourists and miners. At the time, the land was only just beginning to draw developers out from L.A. Homesteaders had begun settling the area in the teens, but they were always few in number. Even as late as 1941, the permanent population of Joshua Tree town was just 49 folks with 22 buildings. Keys Ranch (near the top center of the map) is where early settlers Bill and Frances Keys spent six decades—though Bill sat in San Quentin for eight of those years for murdering his neighbor in a land dispute…