The Area

What is Joshua Tree? It’s a tree, it’s a town, it’s a national park...and for us, it’s a symbol of solitude, quiet, nature, stark beauty, and a relaxed, funky, simple, and free vibe. We get a little starry-eyed when we talk about being in Joshua Tree. After many visits, we consider Joshua Tree to be one of the Earth's more magical places, and winter in the Mojave Desert offers sun-drenched mountain views, stunning sunsets, and clear starry night skies.

Some of our Favorite Spots: Joshua Tree National ParkPappy & Harriets, Integratron

The Town

“When you arrive in JT, you'll notice that there are no Fast Food restaurants, no "Super" markets and no High Rise Luxury Condos in the town. This is by design. The residents have worked very hard to keep their town authentic. The town of Joshua Tree looks much the same way it did back in the sixties. So, the money you spend locally goes to the locals…” (More at Joshua Tree Visitor’s Guide)

The Cabins

We'll work, play, and sleep in shared accommodations at Thunderbird Lodge Retreat, offering comfortable, funky, and one-of a kind lodging in a tranquil setting with 360-degree views of the surrounding desert and mountains. Their website describes the setting best:

“Thunderbird Lodge Retreat is located in one of the most scenic High Desert spots, off the beaten path down a sandy road on the outskirts of town. Our idyllic neighborhood is located on the edge of the wilderness on the stunning west side of Joshua Tree National Park.”


“If you are looking to commune with nature, all you need to do is walk out your door to take a hike on nearby trails, explore an abandoned homesteader cabin down the lane, and photograph the local flora and fauna. The area is rich with wildlife. You may see cottontail rabbits, jackrabbits, birds of prey, roadrunners, cactus wrens, lizards, desert tortoises, coyotes, and more.”

Why we’re inspired by Lori

Thunderbird Lodge Retreat is a labor of love for owner, Lori Portillo. After surviving trying personal events, Lori began converting homesteader cabins with a of creating “an oasis in the desert with comfortable, charming spaces for adventurous, artistic travelers.” 

“Thunderbird Lodge Retreat completely transformed Lori's life.  The project took her from a very difficult period of her personal history to an ideal job and lifestyle. It allows her to funnel her natural creative talents and interests into developing unique vacation experiences in this very special spot of the Mojave Desert.”

Artistic Beauty

We can attest that Lori's vision has been beautifully achieved. Lori’s properties are cozy and unique spaces where hang-out spots and writing nooks abound. The cabins and outdoor spaces are a creative outlet for Lori. She incorporates recycled materials to divert the waste stream as well as add to the character of each cabin, custom tile work, eclectic vintage furnishings, and even designing a Western “town,” El Dorado, in the backyard of the Ranch House.