It is a cold winter day at Skyline Ranch near Pioneer Town, about 35 minutes east of Palm Springs. The sun is slowly rising, casting an orange hue on the rocks. I position the motor home on a side road and wait for the crew to arrive. This is the perfect time to take pictures of the scenery around me. This is high desert, the elevation is 4000 feet, the week before this area was covered in an inch of snow. The snow melted in less than a day. It is eerily quiet except for a few cars passing in the distance. I am surrounded by desert shrub and Joshua Trees. Finally the silence is erupted by a caravan of cube trucks and cars, my crew has arrived. Time to set up base camp.
Skyline Ranch is big, with many options to film from without seeing any roads. There is the main area with the large rock formations. To the west is the San Bernadino Mountains in the background, today snow covered. To the north is the expanse of the Mojave Desert and Pioneer Town in the distance. Joshua Trees dart the area. About ten years ago there was a big fire that devasted the area, since then the ecosystem has recovered. There are still burnt out Joshua Trees with green shoots merging from the burned out trees.
On a multiple day shoot at Skyline there is rustic motel nearby in Pioneer Town, the Pioneertown Motel at 760.365.7001. About six miles away in Yucca Valley there is the Travelodge at 760.365.3311. The Best Western is more upscale and has a free breakfast 760.365.3555. In Pioneertown there is a RV park, no hook ups. I always advise my clients to hire security especially if you are going to leave any equipment at the ranch over-night or you have expensive gear in your trucks, Steve Vader 760.508.1440 is a local who provides security for any size crew with license bonded guards.
Skyline Ranch is located on private property, Sylvia (760.343.8327) and Thies from Locations Unlimted are the contacts for this incredible location. Some consider this a good option for Joshua Tree National Park, minus all the restrictions you would get in a national park. As long as you get a film permit and follow some basic rules, you can do as you please without public intrusion.
If you have any questions about this location, or if you need a motor home call me, Michael Green at 818 317 7099.