Southwest Face of Brown Wall
The Brown Wall is a rock formation in the Real Hidden Valley
of Joshua Tree National Park
In Joshua Tree, with its thousands of rock formations, a rock can be very close yet so far. This formation is less than one half of a mile from the extremely popular Hidden Tower
, yet it receives minimal attention. This should come as no surprise since another formation that is even closer to the Nature Loop Trail
, Great Burrito
gets only a handful of visits per year. The Brown Wall was noticed and climbed fairly early in the history of Joshua Tree technical climbing. Starting in the mid 1970s to mid 1980s most of the routes were climbed and put aside for better days that don't seem to have arrived. Even to this day, you may see dozens of climbers on the Thin Wall
and not a single climber on The Brown Wall.
Note: On my last visit to this wall on a late December day in 2010, much to my surprise, I saw two teams of climbers making a quick work of two of the routes on this formation. Way to go, guys!
Typical to most Joshua Tree rock formations, the routes on the Brown Wall follow mainly prominent crack systems. The least difficult route, Captain Kronos, rated 5.9+, was the earliest route established on this formation. It follows the crack/shallow dihedral on the left side of the formation. The most highly recommended route on the Brown Wall, however, is another crack system in the middle of the formation. This route is called Jerry Brown, rated 10a/b. The most difficult route on the formation is another crack system to the right of Jerry Brown, and it's called Brown 25, rated 11a. The first lead ascent of this route goes to the long time Joshua Tree icon, Alan Bartlett. In addition to the standard routes, a number of variations have been done on top rope and are omitted on this page.
If you are tired of sitting on the base of Double Cross
on Old Woman, or on the base of No Calculators Allowed
on Thin Wall, come to Brown Wall and have the rock all to yourself.
walk and scramble around boulders on the right shoulder as you face the rock.
List of select routes
Routes of The Brown Wall
|A||Captain Kronos, 5.9+, standard rack|
|B||Brownian Motion, 10c, standard rack|
|C||Jerry Brown, 10a/b, standard rack|
|D||Brown 25, 11a, Standard Rack|
How to Get There
The Brown Wall seen from the vicinity of Thin Wall along the Nature Loop Trail
From the western entrance to Joshua Tree National Park drive on Park Boulevard, formerly known as Quail Springs Road, for about nine miles to a major rock formation called “Intersection Rock.” Intersection Rock is a major landmark on the north side of Quail Springs Road with ample parking for visitors and climbers alike. This rock, true to its name, sit at the cross roads to “Hidden Valley Campground”, Barker Dam Road and the road to “Day use and picnic” area.
Turn right onto the road leading to day use area with a large parking lot and bathrooms. The Trail to “Real Hidden Vally” is obvious and starts here. This trail leads to “Nature Loop Trail
” and “Real Hidden Valley.”
When you get to the Loop Trail take the left fork. After a few minutes you will come to the largest formation in the area. That is Sentinel to your left and it’s mostly east facing. Thin Wall is a short walk further past Sentinel Rock.
Continue on the Nature Loop Trail until you see The Great Burrito. The Brown Wall is obvious and to the left of The Great Burrito about two hundred feet further. Weave over and around boulders to the base.
Camping, Noise Considerations, Environmental Concerns, Fees & Food
Typical Joshua Tree landscape
Please tread lightly. The Access Fund has gone to great lengths posting trail marker for approaches to many of the more popular crags. Do your best to stay on these trails, and where you are forced to use a different path, choose the ones that rain can mend in time. Drainages make for good trails where there are no established trails.
Avoid stepping on native and fragile plants, and do not feed the coyotes. Coyotes are very much used to people and often hang around picnic areas and camp grounds in hopes of getting a hand out. It’s better to let them live their natural life.
There are nine campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park. At the entrance to the park you are always asked if you would care to have a map and a brochure. The brochure will have plenty of information on the campgrounds and the map will guide you to many of the pleasant hikes throughout the park. You may even get the latest information as to availability of campsites. During the peak season (mid winter through spring) finding a campsite may become a major task. It is highly recommended to use the following link to get more information in advance.
Joshua Tree Camping
When you are camping with friends and sitting around the fire, it is easy to forget that there are other people trying to sleep in the nearby campsites. It is important to put yourself in their shoes. Keep the noise and music to a minimum and certainly not too much past 10 p.m. Your neighbors will smile at you in the morning instead of giving you dirty looks.
Fees and Food
My wife and I have had Thai food in many different restaurants and cities. This Thai place beats them all. In November when the number of visitors to Joshua Tree reaches its peak, this restaurant puts on a Thai buffet on Friday and Saturday nights, all you can eat for a very reasonable price per person. But, you must get there early, or be prepared to wait by the door for a table. The latest information indicates that the buffet style will be terminated by the end of February and will resume in November of 2010.