Echo Rock area, South Face of Echo Cove

Echo Rock area, South Face of Echo Cove

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 34.02371°N / 116.15733°W
Additional Information County: Riverside
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing, Toprope
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 4300 ft / 1311 m
Sign the Climber's Log


South Face of Echo Cove

South face of Echo Cove is a formation in the Echo Rock area of Joshua Tree National Park, California.

Joshua Tree landscape

Generally speaking, the entire Echo Rock area consists of a large and convoluted series of rock formations. Echo Rock itself is the largest single formation in the area and is located across Echo valley from the east facing Touch And Go Face
. There are two more major formations in this area that run parallel to each other and produce an area known as Echo Cove. These two formations are long and narrow and run east to west. This page covers the south and southwest faces of the southern most formation known as South Face of Echo Cove.

Joshua Tree meets The Moon

The south face of Echo Cove is an extensive formation that has seen many routes development through the years. Although this face is not particularly high, only barely a single pitch, it’s long and convoluted with dozens of face and crack routes all along the entire face. Getting to the top of the formation is very simple and is done via the left, west end. The rock is low angle with a short but steeper section in the middle. The beauty of this formation stems from the fact that it offers something for any level of climber you may be. If you are not in the prime of your life and are looking for a low risk route, you’ll find it here on “Bonzo Dog Band, 5.7.” Conversly, if you are a confident leader in the 5.12 difficulty range, you can try leading “The Riddler, 12a.”

Close up of Echo Cove, left to right

Far left side
Left of the middle
Middle section
Right side

Select Routes of The South Face of Echo Cove

Routes of the middle section
Topo of the select routes of the Middle section

Routes of the far left side
Although most of the routes on this face are leadable, you often see people top roping many of the routes on South Face of Echo Cove Rock. There are, of course, exceptions. CS Special, rated 10b, is definitely is one such case. CS Special is located on a huge boulder somewhat separated from the main formation. This is the most saught after route on the entire face. It starts with a powerful bouldery move right off of the ground. But soon after it turns into a delicate, bolt protected face climb to the top. You will be able to rap off the top.

Another highly recommended route on this boulder is “R.M.L” rated 5.9. This is the bolted route to the left of CS Special. R.M.L is very similar to CS Special without the initial difficult bouldery move. There are at least two variations to these two routes that have been done on top rope. Have fun.

List of the routes

Routes of the left side
Routes of the left side
Routes of the middle section
Routes of the middle section
Routes of the right side
Routes of the right side
Select Routes of South Face of Echo Cove Rock
AThe Riddler, 12a, Standard Rack and bolt
BTM's Terror, 10b, standard Rack
CUnknown, 11a
DAtari, 10c, runout, standard rack and bolts
EBonzo Dog Band, 5.7, Standard Rack
FAxe Of Dog, 10a, standard rack
GHorny Corner, 5.9, standard rack
HRML, 5.9, bolts
IC.S. Special, 10b, bolts
JPossessed By Elvis, 10d, bolts
KFlake And Bake, 5.8, two variations, standard rack
LSitting Here In Limbo, 5.9, bolts
MOut On A Limb, 10b, bolts

How to get there

Joshua Tree landscape
Road sign to Barker Dam
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.
Just past (Intersection Rock), take the road to Barker Dam for a short distance. Shortly after getting on this road you’ll see a sign for “Key’s Ranch” Road. Take this dirt road to a large parking area on the right. Just beyond the parking area there is a sign for “Key’s Ranch Guided Tours.” You can drive further on this road to access several other climbing formations, but you will run into a locked gate for “Key’s Ranch.” Walk along the dirt road and within less than a minute the South Face Of Echo Cove will be on your right, and right next to the road.

Environmental Considerations

Typical Joshua Tree sunset on a partially cloudy day

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

Late afternoon sun on Echo Rock

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.



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