Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 34.02180°N / 116.17763°W
Additional Information County: Riverside
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 4400 ft / 1341 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Dairy Queen Wall at dawn

Dairy Queen Wall is a rock formation in Joshua Tree National Park, California.

Dairy Queen Wall is located in a crowded neighborhood. There are several rock formations here, the most impressive and famous of which is Hemingway Buttress
. Connected to Hemingway Buttress to the south are “Copenhagen Wall”, “IRS Wall”, subjects of future submissions, and Dairy Queen Wall high up above a steep boulder filled gully. On the lowlands and in the same neighborhood we have Playhouse Rock and many more rock formations. This is a rich neighborhood that offers just about any kind of game you may be into.

Not unlike the most popular rock formations in Joshua Tree National Park, the history of route development on Dairy Queen Wall dates back to the 1970s, and involves only a handful of climbers.The right side of the formation that offers the maximum number of moderate climbs was developed first. There is one route on the left side of the formation that saw a first ascent early on. That one exceptional route on the left side is called “Pat Adams Dihedral,” rated 11b/c. This route was way beyond its time and as the name indicates, it was first climbed by Pat Adams. If you are familiar with the name, then you are by no means surprised. But if you are not, Pat Adams was a bouldering icon who established standards for the period. The rest of the route development on the left side happened much slower.

Topo of Select Routes

Select routes
Right side, Upper Wall

Dairy Queen Wall’s right side is by far more popular than the rest of the formation. The wall here offers steep climbing on large knobs and handholds. There are a number of cracks that facilitate protecting your climb. The reason for the popularity here is that there are a number of climbs here that are no harder than 5.7. Once you lead a climb to the top, you can set up top rope on all the climbs and have fun for hours. There are also a number of more difficult climbs in the 5.10 and at least one in the 5.11 range on the left hand side as well as the right hand side of this formation. I have chosen only a handful of the total numbers for this page.

Note: Dairy Queen Wall being a popular area, and you may see other climbers waiting to have a go on the rock themselves. It’s a good practice to either share your rope with them, or if they want to lead the climb, get your rope out of their way.

Dairy Queen Wall is one place I have never seen a rock climbing class being held. It seems that climbing the steep gully to the base of the wall is a good reason not to bring students here. Besides, ( Playhouse Rock) is nearby and is a much better place for a class.

List of select routes

Dairy Queen
Right side

Select Routes of Dairy Queen Wall
ANorm, 10a, Standard Rack and bolts
BToxic Waltz, 12a, bolts, closer to the arete on the left than the topo indicates. Note: Pat Adams Dihedral is to the left of Toxic Waltz and behind the Joshua Tree
CAdams Family, 5.9, Standard Rack
DI Forgot to Have Babies, 10b, standard rack
EAiry Scene, 11b, bolts and gear
FScrumdillyshus, 5.7, standard rack
GFrosty Cone, 5.7, standard rack, probably the best moderate climb on the face
HDilly Bar, 5.5, chimney, standard rack
IMr. Misty Kiss, 5.7, standard rack
JBill's Nuts, 5.7, standard rack

How to get there

Access Fund Trail Marker
Joshua Tree

From the west enterance to Joshua Tree National Park, drive about eight miles to a large paved parking area with a bathroom. This parking is about two miles past Quail Springs parking, and it has its own sign, “Hemimngway” indicating that you have arrived. Looking toward the west you will see the elongated Hemingway Buttress at a few minutes walking distance.

There are two trails that take off toward the rocks from here. Take the left one and walk parallel to the formations. At some point you will see an Access Fund Trail sign directing you toward Dairy Queen Wall. Scramble up a steep boulder filled gully to the base of the upper right wall.

Environmental Concerns

Joshua Tree landscapeTypical Joshua Tree Landscape

Desert Flowers near...Desert Flowers

Please tread lightly. The Access Fund has gone to great lengths posting trail marker for approaches to many of the more popular crags. Do you 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.

Camping and noise considerations

Joshua Tree at dusk

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

Noise considerations

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

Entrance station...
The best Thai 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, all you can eat for 16.00$/person. But, you must get there early, or be prepared to wait by the door for a table.