Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 34.09330°N / 116.16102°W
Additional Information County: Riverside
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 3420 ft / 1042 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Moosedog Tower

Moosedog Tower

Moosedog Tower is located in the Indian Cove area of Joshua Tree National Park.

If you are tired of the hussle and bussle of the main roads and crags of Joshua Tree and looking for a little seclusion, Indian Cove may very well be your ticket. Indian Cove is like a mini or micro Joshua Tree. It has only one campground and one loop road. You have a much better chance of having a family camping next to you than a group of loud music-playing pseudo climbers.

The rock formations at Indian Cove, however, are, in every respect, as good as the ones found in the main and more famous areas of Joshua Tree. Moosedog Tower is a great example of my claim. When you drive to Moosedog Tower, you cannot help but to be impressed by its size and pyramidal shape. In fact, Moosedog Tower is one of the most impressive formations in all of Joshua Tree National Park.

Joshua Tree sky
 Joshua Tree National Park
High Desert Sky
Joshua Tree cactus

Climbs of Moosedog Tower

Climbs of Moosedog Tower
ALucky Charms, 5.7, Standard Rack
BThird Time's A Charm, 10b, standard rack
CBitch In Heat, 5.9, standard rack
DWandering Winnebago, 5.8, standard rack
EDirect South Face, 5.9, standard rack, a must do
FTranquility, 5.6, standard rack

Routes of Moosedog Tower

Moosedog Tower is, by Joshua Tree standards, a high rock formation. Its two tier system consists of two pitches of well featured faces with several moderate climbs on high quality granite. You will not find any sport routes here. What you will find, however, are a number of memorable trad routes.

The first documented climbing activity on Moosedog Tower dates back to 1969 when a certain amount of direct aid was used on the “Direct South Face, 5.9.” Direct South Face is one of the best climbs on Moosedog Tower and it starts on a left facing dihedral directly below the most prominent overhang on the south face. The climb by-passes the overhang by the means of climbing a bulge/shoulder to the right and continues up the cracks and face moves to the top of the first tier.
The short second pitch climbs up discontinuous cracks and face moves on the upper tier to the top.

Another great climb is Wandering Winnebago, 5.8+. This route climbs up to the prominent overhang via the same left facing dihedral as Direct South Face route. Upon reaching the overhang, the route traverses left and up, and true to its name, wanders up the face until it joins back with the direct south face route and continues to the top of the lower tier.

There have been several variations made on a number of the routes on Moosedog Tower. For the sake of simlicity, I have chosen the most standard routes.

Important Climbing Etiquette

Many of the rock formations at Indian Cove, including Moosedog Tower, are located behind campsites. It is highly advised to get permission from the campsite residents to cross their site to start or finish your climb. It is most likely the campers will not protest your intrusion onto their site. They may, however, smile at you and even offer you a beer if you do, as a courtesy, ask their permission.

Camping and Noise Considerations

Sun sets on Joshua Tree

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.

How to get there

Enterance station to Indian Cove
General activities map...

Indian Cove is located roughly nine miles east of the town of Joshua Tree on highway 62. The sign directing you to Indan Cove is obvious. Turn right, going south, here. If you go as far the town of 29 Palms, you have gone too far. It’s about three miles from here to Indian Cove Campground. Drive south on this road to a ranger station and the enterance to the park. You will be checked at the gate for your America The Beautiful card, or will be charged an enterance fee. Driving past the gate will bring you to the Indian Cove Campground. Turn right after entering Indian Cove and drive a short distance to see Moosedog Tower located behind campsite # 91.

The following photos were attached by lisae

Kathy Leading
Pat L
Rapel off Moosedog Tower
Racking up