Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 34.01905°N / 116.16712°W
Additional Information County: Riverside
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 4000 ft / 1219 m
Sign the Climber's Log


The Hot Tub
Native plant
Watanobe Wall on the right...

The Hot Tub is a rock formation in the Steve Canyon area of Joshua Tree National Park, California.

Considering the rich neighborhood The Hot Tub is located in, it should come as no surprise that this formation was neglected for decades. Even to this day you are hard pressed to see much activity on it. The Hot Tub is only a hundred feet across the descent gully from the very popular formation Watanobe Wall. It is also the west face of the formation whose east face constitutes The Super Roof Wall. This formation faces Park Boulevard, the main east west artery through the park, and within a mere minute walking distance from it.

Being southwest facing, The Hot Tub stays in the sun for most of the day. It's about a quarter of a mile from Hidden Valley Campground with all of its popular formations such as The Old Woman, The Blob, The Wall and, not to forget the crown jewel of the entire area, Intersection Rock. No need to park very far to climb on The Hot Tub. There are pull-outs on both sides of the road.

Select Routes

Select Routes of The Hot Tub
Joshua Tree

The routes on the west face, left side as viewed from the base, of The Hot Tub are mostly crack systems, therefore gear protected. To descend these routes walk left, south, on low angle ledges and around boulders to the base. The routes of the right side, south face, of this formation, on the other hand, are mostly on a face protected by a few bolts supplemented by gear. They all reach a two bolt anchor for belaying or to rappel from.

One of the best routes on The Hot Tub is Elixir, rated 10a, which reaches a great ledge with an anchor. This route starts to the right of a block and follows a line of three bolts past some horizontal cracks. It's best to supplement the bolts with your own protection. A bolt anchor on a big ledge will welcome your arrival at the end of the climb.

To the right of Elixir, you will find a wide crack, The Dharama Bums, rated 5.8, requiring large cams for protection. This is not the most enjoyable route on the formation. Immediately to the right of this route, you will find the best route on The Hot Tub. This route is named Amanda, rated 10a. Amanda follows a line of bolts past a few horizontal cracks. Take a standard rack to include some small to 2.5 inches to supplement the bolts. This route has its own anchor high up on the face to rappel from. Going to the very top is optional.

List of the select routes

Select routes of The Hot Tub
AFrom Here to Infirmary, 5.9, standard rack
BHot Tubs to Hell, 5.9, standard rack
CJacuzzi of No Return, 10b, standard rack
DHot Tub of Death, 10a, standard rack
EElixir, 10a, bolts, anchor, supplemental rack
FThe Dharma Bums, 5.8, standard rack, wide pro, anchor
GAmanda, 10a, bolts, anchor, supplemental rack

Getting there

The Hot Tub area seen from the road
The Hot Tub and Watanobe Wall seen from the road

To get to The Hot Tub formation from the west entrance to Joshua Tree National Park, drive 8.3 miles on Park Boulevard to a turnout about quarter of a mile before reaching Intersection Rock parking lot. Looking on the opposite side of the road, in the northeasterly direction, you will see Watanobe Wall to the west of the narrow and steep Steve Canyon. Park in the turnout and follow the signs to the base of Watanobe Wall. The Hot Tub formation is across the descent gully, and to the left of, Watanobe Wall.

Camping, Noise Considerations, Environmental Concerns, Fees & Food

Joshua Tree landscape
Typical 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 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.


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 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.