Quail Springs Area Formations

Quail Springs Area Formations

Page Type Page Type: Area/Range
Location Lat/Lon: 34.04018°N / 116.19733°W
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 4000 ft / 1219 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Note: Joshua Tree National Park is tremendously large and includes thousands of rock formations. The purpose of this page is to bring some sense of organization to many "Mountain & Rock" pages I have posted for the past two years. This particular page may be considered as a mini "Area & Range" page that will be attached to the main Joshua Tree page as a child.

Directions to Quail Springs Area:
Road sign to the crag
Quail Springs picnic area

Drive about 5.8 miles on Park Boulevard from the west entrance to Joshua Tree National Park. You will see a sign indicating "Quail Springs." This is your parking. There is ample parking, bathrooms and picnic benches. Enjoy.



AFPA stands for "Across From The Parking Area." When this formation was named, the unpaved parking area was very small. After Joshua Tree was made a national park with new and greater federal funding the parking area was expanded into a very large paved parking lot.

Left sideLeft side
Routes of APFA RockRoutes Topo
Right sideRight side

Baskerville Rock

Baskerville Rock

Far left side
Left side
Middle section
Right Side
Right Baskerville Crack, 10a

Select Routes of Baskerville Rock

Those who take the time to do the hike to Baskerville Rock are rewarded with one of the best crack climbs in Joshua Tree. The Right Baskerville Crack is the prize of the entire formation and definitely worth the hike. This crack is thin, but too thin for your fingers. It climbs straight up from bottom to top on face moves at first, then it turns into the most geometric finger crack in Joshua Tree. Being northeast facing, this crack stays in the shade for most of the day. In fact, I think half of the footprints you see on the approach trail are made by climbers coming to do the Right Baskerville Crack, rated 10a. Needless to mention, there are other routes on Baskerville Rock though not as sought after as the Right Baskervill Crack.

To get to Baskerville Rock drive 5.9 miles from the west entrance to Joshua Tree to Quail Springs parking lot. This is a huge parking lot with picnic tables and bathrooms that you can use before the start of your hike. Just across the parking lot from the west face of Quail Springs/Trashcan Rock look in the direction of the southwest to see Baskerville Rock some one half mile away. There is an unmarked trail sign. Start from this sign and hike to a rise. On the other side of the rise the trail drops down and crosses a wash. Another short hike beyond the wash, the first rock formation you come to is Baskerville Rock.

Hound Rock

Hound Rock

Left SideLeft Side
Select Routes of Hound RockSelect Routes of the East Face
Right SideRight 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.

Quail Springs/Trashcan Rock, East Face

Quail Springs/Trashcan Rock, East Face

Routes of the east face
Butterfly CrackKris Solem soloing Butterfly Crack, 11c.

If you have ever been to Joshua Tree National Park's via the western enterance, you could not have missed this little jewel of a rock formation. Quail Springs, also affectionately known as “Trash Can Rock,” is the first major rock formation you come to driving down Park Boulevard.

I can imagine how the first climbers must have felt coming to this rock. They must have felt like kids in a candy store. When you first pull into the parking area you see a vertical face with five major crack systems. This face is the scene of many hopes and dreams by up and coming climbers are being dashed and realized. The easiest route on this steep face is Right Sawdust Crack, rated 5.8. This is the right most crack on this face. Regardless of it's moderate difficulty level, it tends to throw a beginner off balance. That is due to its tilt to the left. This is a great crack climb to get a feel for a solid hand-jamming with a little twist. The hardest crack here is The Butterfly Crack, rated 11c. This is a powerful climb that starts with finger tip lock-offs to much easier climbing a bit higher up, as it finishes on 5.9 to 10a ground.

Being east facing, this face gets the morning sun for a few hours then it stays in the shade for the rest of the day. Many people arriving at Joshua Tree during the afternoon hours boulder on this face. There is great and powerful traverse that crosses some of these cracks. And, you can see climbers testing their fingers on the first few moves of the crack systems before jumping down.

Although all of the cracks are leadable using standard gear, because of the shortness of the wall, about 30-35 feet, the majority of climbers tend to top rope the routes on the east face. There are no fixed anchors on top but you will find plenty of cracks and features on top to set up your anchor. The descent is via the west shoulder that is made of large boulders.


Routes of Trashcan Rock, East Face
AWallaby Crack, 5.8, standard rack, no anchor
BHermanutic Crack, 10c, standard rack, no anchor
CButterfly Crack, 11c, standard rack, no anchor
DLeft Sawdust Crack, 10c, standard rack, no anchor
ERight Sawdust Crack, 5.8, standard rack, no anchor



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.