Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 34.03296°N / 116.20368°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


East Face of Hound Rock
West side gully
West Side corridor

Hound Rock is a formation in the Quail Spring area of Joshua Tree National Park, California.

Located behind its smaller brother Baskerville Rock, Hound Rock is often mistaken for the lesser of the two formations. Hound Rock, however, is twice the height and offers twice as many routes as Baskerville Rock. For many years these two neighboring formations were collectively known as Hound Rocks, but in the more recent years, they are considered as two independent formations.

If you are looking for a little solitude away from the beaten path, visit Hound Rock. Only one half mile from the very popular and always busy Trashcan Rock, alias Quail Spring Rock, Hound Rock went without much attention for decades. On my last visit there in January of 2010, I found a well-worn path leading to the crag. Although we sepent a few hours in the area, we didn’t see any other climbers approaching the formation. The chances are that you will not have to wait in line for your turn to get on a climb.

Select Routes

Left Side
Left Side
Select Routes of Hound Rock
Select Routes of the East Face
Right Side
Right Side

There are several crack systems ranging in difficulty levels from 5.7 to 11c. The 5.11 cracks are difficult to protect and you need to be prepared to run out your lead. Both of these routes are located on the rounded adjoining formation to the right side of the main face. Fortunately, the best route on the entire formation, however, is a crack system that is easy to protect. This climb is called Tossed Green, rated 10a, and it was pioneered by the legendary, John Long and company. The best part about climbing Tossed Green is a double bolt anchor on top. No need to make scary moves on friction slabs of the south shoulder to get down. You can rapell from the bolt anchor. Take a standard rack with protection up to 3 inches and have a great time.

The west face of Hound Rock sports several cracks with varying degrees of difficulty from 5.6 to 5.9. These cracks are not as geometric and clean as the east face crack systems and as the result they don’t attract very much attention. If you have better information about the west face cracks, please feel free to attach a supplement to this page.

List of the select routes

Select Routes of Hound Rock
ACrescent Wrench, 10d, Standard Rack, bring lots of small pieces
BAn Eye to The West, 5.9, standard Rack
CTossed Green, 10a, Standard Rack, anchor
DOver The Hill, 5.9, Standard Rack, pro to 3 inches

How to get there

To get to Hound Rock you need to first get to Quail Spring parking lot. From the west entrance to Joshua Tree National Park drive 5.8 miles to where you will see a sign for Quail Sring. Pull into the parking lot and park close to the west face of Trashcan Rock. This paved parking lot is one the best in the entire park. There are bathrooms and picnic tables in front of the west face. Since Trashcan Rock has something for every ability, it’s likely that you will see many people climbing here. If you look in the direction of the southwest, you will see Baskerville Rock and Hound Rock blended together some one half mile away. From this distance, they look less significant than they really are.

The trailhead to Hound Rock starts from the parking lot and it’s just across from the west face of Trashcan Rock. Follow this trail to the top of a small rise. Drop down and cross a wash and continue for another quarter of a mile to the first formation, Baskerville Rock. Circle around Baskerville Rock from the left to a gully separating this formation from the next formation, Hound Rock.

Environmental Concerns, Camping, Noise considerations

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.


Protecting native plants
protecting native plants

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.

Food & Fees

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.