Girl Gone Wild, Wild West: A Trip to Pioneertown, California in Photos
So you want to dress up and have a movie set straight out of Westworld all to yourself? Yeah, me too. That’s how I ended up in Pioneertown, California in the early morning hours, frolicking around in an orange dress.
To give you a little background, Pioneertown was created in 1946 by Hollywood investors, including big names like Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. It was modeled after an 1870s frontier town, and went on to be the set for over 50 films and TV shows in the 1940s and 1950s. Filming in Pioneertown hasn’t been limited to old Western TV shows and films, either. Just take Ice Cube’s 2010 music video “I Rep That West” for example.
The town looks legit, too- with picture-perfect facades for the films, and real operating businesses behind them that are open to the public. You’ll find a motel, hotel, general store, saloon, jail, stables, shooting gallery, bowling alley and more. There are enough establishments to make the place feel like an authentic town in the high desert rather than a cheesy movie set. There’s also Pappy & Harriet’s, a famous restaurant and live music venue that’s hosted a number of famous artists, including Paul McCartney, Queens of the Stone Age, Lorde, Arctic Monkeys, and one of my favorites, James Bay.
My friend Becca and I made sure to get up early and beat any potential crowds, and luckily, it was well worth it. When we arrived, we had the place almost completely to ourselves. Based on our experience, I’d recommend arriving before 8 AM. None of the businesses were open yet, and the photo opportunities were abundant. I’ve included 10 of my favorite shots in this blog post to give you a better idea of what to expect in Pioneertown, and possibly convince you to take a ride off the beaten track and into the desert for some authentic American frontier vibes.
Located close to Joshua Tree National Park and 25 miles north of Palm Springs, Pioneertown is open 24/7, 365 days a year. There’s even free parking a stone’s throw from the town’s Mane Street. Just pop this into your GPS:
Does Pioneertown look like a place you’d like to check out? Feel free to leave any questions or input in the comments!