Great Burrito

Page Type
California, United States, North America
Trad Climbing
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
4200 ft / 1280 m
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Great Burrito
Created On: Feb 14, 2010
Last Edited On: Mar 8, 2016


Close Up of The Great Burrito

The Great Burrito is a rock formation in the Real Hidden Valley area of Joshua Tree National Park, California.

Rock formations in Joshua Tree are renowned for their crack systems; however, it’s quite rare to come across a formation that offers so many cracks as The Great Burrito. Another element that makes The Great Burrito special is that practically all of its cracks are within the reach of a moderate climber. The ratings range from 5.7 to 5.10b. I have no doubt if you look hard enough, you can find routes that are easier than 5.7 and harder than 5.10b, but the point is that The Great Burrito is a great formation for moderate level climbing.

Given all the moderate crack routes on The Great Burrito, you would think that it was one of the first formations to be developed by the first pioneers in Joshua Tree. Upon closer look, you can see that this is not the case. It seems that time forgot The Great Burrito until the late seventies when several routes were established on it. Then, after two decades, within a short period of time the number of routes on it were doubled.

It’s not hard to imagine why The Great Burrito has not been a destination of choice for such a long time. I think the biggest reason for that is its close proximity to many extremely popular formations such as Hidden Tower, Sport Challenge, East Face of Thin Wall and The Sentinel. These nearby formations with much easier access seem to have stolen the show.

Select Routes of Great Burrito

Extreme left side
Left of the middle
Middle section
Right side

select Routes of The Great Burrito

One of the most sought after areas for visitors to Joshua Tree National Park is known as Real Hidden Valley. There is a “Nature Loop Trail” perfectly suited for visitors of any age to walk and learn about the native plants and wildlife. This loop trail also passes in front of several very popular rock formations. Although The Great Burrito formation is no more than some sixty yards beyond the loop trail, it hardly ever receives the attention of the ordinary visitors to this area. Hence, climbing on this formation offers the kind of seclusion many climbers strive for. In addition, being west facing, The Great Burrito stays in the shade for a good part of the day.

As previously mentioned, climbing on The Great Burrito is primirily along cracks. On some of the routes you may find yourself climbing on sections of the face, but your routes will soon connect back on a crack again. Although this is not the tallest formation in the area, you may find it easier to climb some of the routes in two pitches. This way you will stay closer to your second and communicate with each other easier. A good place to stop is below a small horizontal overhang two thirds of the way up the face.

List of select climbs

Select Climbs of The Great Burrito
AQuesadilla, 5.7, Runout, standard rack
BCarne Asada, 10a, Runout, standard rack
CStood Up, 5.8, Standard Rack
DDesperado, 10a, Standard Rack
ETonto And The Great White Leader, 5.9 Standard Rack
FKemosabe And Tonto, 10a, standard rack
GNon-Decumbent Destiny, 5.8, standard rack
HLearn Quick Or Die, 5.9, standard rack
IGenetic Culling, 10a, TR
JFat Free, 10a, bolts and standard rack

How to Get there

Joshua Tree cactus
Great Burrito and...
Great Burrito on the left, and The Elephant Rock on the right, both seen from the vicinity of Thin Wall.

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 loop trail until you see The Great Burrito. Weave around boulders and bushes to the base.

Camping and noise considerations

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 make reservations in advance.

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.

For current Campground information please see the link bellow:
Joshua Tree Camping

Environmental Concerns

Joshua Tree landscape
Typical Joshua Tree Landscape

Desert Sun
Wonderland of Rocks Sun

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.

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 10.95$/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.