You can enjoy a near 180 degree view of the Sierras from Centennial Flat, framed by iconic Mt. Whitney – the highest summit in the contiguous U.S. at 14,505 feet – and Olancha Peak.

Upper Centennial Flat and Centennial Canyon hold some of the richest prehistoric cultural sites in the California Desert with evidence of living sites, hunting tools, trails and petroglyphs.

The flats are home to the adorable and imperiled Mojave Ground Squirrel, a California Threatened species and BLM sensitive species.

Centennial Flats is a gateway to the California Desert. Millions of visitors travel through the area via Highway 190 each year on their way to Death Valley National Park. They stop to wonder through, picnic, explore, and camp among beautiful rock features interspersed with Joshua Trees that are reminiscent of Joshua Tree National Park.

An icon of pop culture

This area is the location featured in the artwork of U2’s 1987 album “Joshua Tree” – one of the world’s best-selling albums – which drew inspiration from the California Desert to evoke the feeling of America’s open spaces. Rolling Stone magazine ranked the album cover among the 100 greatest of all time. Though the Joshua Tree that was photographed for the album cover fell around 15 years ago, the site remains a popular attraction.

The stronghold of a species

Centennial Flats represents one of the only intact Joshua Tree nurseries remaining in the northern Mojave desert. Joshua Trees need high elevation habitat to regenerate, and higher elevations are key to the species’ survival as the California Desert becomes warmer and drier with climate change.

Things to do in Centennial Flats

Take an Off-Road Tour

Travel the many dirt road routes along the valley floor on a 4 wheel drive tour, or connect these routes on your extended trip into Death Valley National Park.

Camp & Hike

Pitch your tent and spend the night at one of the many dispersed campsites in Upper Centennial Flat before venturing out to hike Centennial Canyon the next day.

See Superblooms & Joshua Trees

Visit in the spring – around March – to view spectacular wildflower displays blanketing the Desert floor below stands of young Joshua trees, also in majestic bloom.