Joshua Tree National Park

Page Type Page Type: Area/Range
Location Lat/Lon: 33.95400°N / 115.799°W
Additional Information Elevation: 3000 ft / 914 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Joshua Tree National Park is a high desert climbing destination located in the south eastern portion of California. With the latest count being over 8000 routes and a warm winter climbing season, the area attracts climbers from all over the world. The rock in Joshua Tree is an unusually coarse granite, known as quartz monzonite, and offers a surface that is incredibly climbable. With the high friction coefficient, one will be amazed at the purchase on steep faces and thin vertical routes. Many of the rock formations in Joshua Tree are rounded or dome-like in structure and offer a wide variety of climbing: off-width, flared, split, and clean cracks; moderate, steep, and crimpy faces; crystalline dikes and long traverses; over-hanging, juggy walls; and everything in between. It is primarily a 1-2 pitch trad climbing area, but you will still find a considerable number of bolted routes. Sandbagged ratings and dangerously long run-outs are common. This is the nature of Joshua Tree climbing, but if one is fortunate enough to escape the cold and spend a few days in this awesome National Park, they will surely leave with many great climbs under their belt and a great appreciation for this beautiful desert landscape.


When To Climb

Joshua Tree offers an often warm and sunny climate while most other climbing areas are covered in snow, rainy, or just plain cold.

The climbing season starts in early to mid-October and extends to late April or early May. It is said that the most ideal months for climbing are late October to early December and March through April. However, nothing is absolute when it comes to Joshua Tree weather.

Average Temperatures:
Winter: 60° by day to below freezing at night
Spring and fall: 85° by day to 50° at night
Summers: often over 100° by day, dropping to 75° at night


Current Weather

These links are helpful in determining what to expect of the weather in Joshua Tree NP. However, I have found weather websites to be a bit inaccurate and often your best bet is to simply call a local business in the town of Joshua Tree and ask how the weather is.

Current Weather and Forecast info: Accuweather

Data from the Lost Horse weather station: Weather Data

Joshua Tree Web Cam: Web Cam

What To Climb

You may ask yourself, "With over 8000 routes to choose from, where do I start?" Below is a short list of some of my favorites, many 3 or 4 star routes. Better yet, Todd Gordon's website has a great list with descriptions that is compiled of the highest rated climbs from the guide books. This includes Randy Vogel’s ***** routes
(his maximum star rating) and Al Bartlett’s *** routes
(his maximum star rating): Joshua Tree Best Climbs

5.7 :
~ Overhand Bypass, Hidden Valley CG - a short, fun, overhanging traverse
~ Double Cross, Hidden Valley CG - a JTree classic crack with perfect jams
~ Mental Physics, Wonderland - fun, perfect crack
~ Stichter Quits, Echo Rock - great intro to JTree slab climbing

5.8 :
~ Walk on the Wild Side, Sheep Pass - three pitches of run-out slab climbing, with an adventurous walk off
~ Sail Away, Real Hidden Valley - another classic JTree crack, with a fun, steep finish
~ Cryptic, Sheep Pass - everybody has to climb this once, with it's great views and exposure

5.9 :
~ Alice in Wonderjam, Comic Book - great crack with some face climbing
~ Popes Crack, Echo Rock - yet another fun crack
~ Sphincter Quits, Real Hidden Valley - thin and challenging

5.10 :
~ Solid Gold, (.10a) Wonderland - face climb with a multitude of perfect edges
~ Heart and Sole, (.10a) Echo Rock - thin start, fun moves around a small roof
~ Poodles Are People Too, (.10b) Lost Horse - challenging steep face
~ Run For Your Life, (.10b) Real Hidden Valley - face climb with great moves that make you think
~ EBGB's, (.10c) Echo Rock - nerve wracking exposure from the very start
~ The Decompensator of Lhasa, (.10d) Hidden Valley CG - first part finger crack, second part super thin face</

5.11 :
~ Such a Savage, (.11a) Wonderland of Rocks - a classic, steep face climb, with a scary runout to the first bolt
~ Swept Away, (.11a) Echo Rock - improbably thin at times, steep smearing and balancy moves

Getting There

Joshua Tree National Park is located in the high desert of eastern southern California and can be found approximately 35 miles northeast of Palm Springs and 140 east of Los Angeles. It takes approximately 8 hours to get there from the Bay Area and 2-3 hours from the major metropolitan areas of southern California. Those who wish to fly can do so via the international airport in Los Angeles, CA or the closest airport in Palm Springs, CA.



Camping is on a first come first serve basis at the campgrounds that are preferable to climbers. These include Hidden Valley, Ryan, Jumbo, and Belle. All of which are in close proximity to great climbing. There is a 30 day limit per year, 14 day maximum during the months of Oct - May, and it is wise to show up early if you intend on a weekend stay. However, if you wish to reserve a site reservations may be made up to six months in advance for sites at Black Rock, Indian Cove, and all group sites by calling 1-877-444-6777 or online.

Current camping fees can be found here: NPS

Campsites are limited to six people, three tents, and two cars. Group sites accommodate 10 to 60 people. Each campsite has a picnic table and fire grate. Water and flush toilets are available in Black Rock and Cottonwood campgrounds.

Water is also available at the Oasis Visitor Center, Indian Cove Ranger Station, West Entrance, and Black Rock and Cottonwood campgrounds.

Joshua Tree National Park started charging camping fees at Hidden Valley, Ryan, Jumbo Rocks, Belle and White Tank as of February 17, 2004. The new camping fees were $5 per campsite per night. In a "Nothing in life is for free" world, it was a rare pleasure for many years to camp in this beautiful desert landscape without fees. This was the end of an era.


Red Tape

Entrance fees for Joshua Tree NP are $15 for a 7 day pass with vehicle, $5 for a 7 day pass on foot or bike, or $30 for an annual pass, with discounted senior fees also available.

Water and firewood are hot commodities within the Park. There is no running water in most of the Park and no wood nor other vegetation shall be gathered from the desert landscape for burning. The later, upsets the delicate balance of the desert ecology. Be sure to bring enough water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning, and wood if you so desire a warm night fire.

Miscellaneous Info

After a few days of climbing, you can find showers in the town of Joshua Tree at Coyote Corner, located on the corner of Park Blvd and 29 Palms Hwy (Hwy 62). Two separate showers are available that run on tokens, at the price of $3.00 for 7.5 minutes. Tokens and keys can be obtained at the counter, with $3 usually sufficient.

Sad Update: Crossroads Cafe is no longer. The owner, Bonnie, sold to a couple of San Francisco restaurateurs who will be turning it into a more formal eating establishment...not the type of place you can go all dirty and dusty after climbing. This is yet another end of an era.
Where to eat? Joshua Tree is not a place for fine dining, however, you can find a fresh, healthy, and tasty meal at The Crossroads Cafe & Tavern at 61715 29 Palms Hwy (just down the street from Coyote Corner). They have a wonderful selection of healthy fare with generous portions. I highly recommend the Grilled Coyote!

Nomad Ventures, a friendly gear shop, is located at 61795 29 Palms Hwy (across the street from Coyote Corner). They offer a good selection of outdoor equipment, climbing gear, guide books, etc. Shoe resole service is available as well.


External Links

  • Joshua Tree Crack Climbing Workshop: An SCMA Original
    Over One Hundred of the best Joshua Tree crack climbs from 5.6 to 5.11D. Go to the Web Site, select Trip Reports, find "Crack Climbing Workshop"...
  • Climbing Joshua Tree
    A comprehensive JT climbing site, filled with routes, photos, and current developments.
  • Black Rock Canyon
    A NPS webpage describing the hiking opportunities in Black Rock Canyon, the west side entrance of JT, just a few miles southeast of Yucca Valley.
  • Friends of Joshua Tree
    A non-profit climbers advocacy group. Lots of good info about climbing at Josh.
  • Coyote Corner
    A cool store with a funky, fun inventory of gifts, souvenirs and books, also climbing and camping gear, and even hot showers for campers. Check out their Links for more interesting JT stuff.

  • National Park Service Website.
    Information on Fees,camping,weather,regulations,etc.
  • NPS Web Cam
    The is the NPS web cam of J Tree from Belle Mountain and current conditions at Black Rock Campground.
  • JoshuARTree in Joshua Tree. Fine ART Prints by KarMar
    JoshuARTree is a unique collection of fine ART Prints by artist KarMar who lives and works in mystic Joshua Tree, California, near the Joshua Tree National Park.
  • Nomad Ventures
    THE climbing store in Joshua Tree.

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

Viewing: 1-7 of 7

Diggler - Nov 3, 2003 12:40 pm - Hasn't voted

Untitled Comment

Good point- well worth adding for completeness!


gordonye - May 20, 2003 7:29 pm - Hasn't voted

Untitled Comment

According to National park map:

The high point of JTNP is:

Quail Mtn 5813 feet
lat: 34.007 N
long: 116.241 W


Diggler - Nov 3, 2003 12:40 pm - Hasn't voted

Untitled Comment

Good point- well worth adding for completeness!


WingLady - Nov 18, 2004 11:01 pm - Hasn't voted

Untitled Comment

Some of the greatest concentration of excellent climbs are on the formations within the Lost Horse Area of Joshua Tree. Hemingway Buttress and Dairy Queen Wall are quite popular, including routes such as Overseer (5.9), White Lightning (5.7), and Frosty Cone (5.7).
Drive down the Lost Horse road to access the Rock Garden Valley, where you'll find a strenuous approach up boulder fields to the Freeway Wall (Cake Walk - 5.9), Tiny Tots Wall (Dinkey Doinks - 5.8), and the Shorter Wall with a number of excellent 7's, 8's, and 9's). Park further along the road to access the Lost Horse Wall, with several good multi-pitch climbs, the Atlantis Wall, and Mount Grosvogel -- both featuring several excellent, easier climbs.
You may want to skip climbing the Aiguille de Joshua Tree, however. Only 5.6, but you'll probably have to free-solo it (and downclimb). Aiguille translates to "needle" -- you'll understand the name when you see this unique formation.

D. Winger

toddkutzke - Mar 3, 2015 9:35 am - Hasn't voted

New Joshua Tree Rock Climbs Guidebook

Local JT photographer, climber and boulderer Robert Miramontes has published Joshua Tree Rock Climbs guidebook for Android & iOS devices that works at JT with no cell service. Robert's guidebook includes a car to crag navigation feature, enabled by his JT trail map to every crag that works beyond cell service. For this reason, Robert has also given this guidebook to the JT Search and Rescue team so that they can locate accident scenes more efficiently.

Stone Adventures

Stone Adventures - Dec 13, 2015 1:11 pm - Hasn't voted

Stone Adventures

Would be nice to add a guide service section to this page, so anyone in need of a Joshua Tree rock climbing guide can find what they are looking for! Aron Stockhausen

caliche - Dec 28, 2016 8:35 pm - Hasn't voted

route namr correction

My name is Bruce Andre.Had a rock climbing class at Long Beach State in 1971,taught by Dave Davis. We put up a route in JT, naming it Andremeda Strain,not Andromeda Strain-in my honor. I saw it correctly listed in a JT Climbing guide years ago in Tucson, but now I see it as ANDROMEDA Strain. Would be nice to put out notice to all the guides to call the route by its given name, but dont know how to do biggee, Im 70 now and sure cant climb my old JT haunts. Thank you

Viewing: 1-7 of 7



Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.

U.S. National ParksAreas & Ranges