Quail Springs East Face/Trashcan Rock

Quail Springs East Face/Trashcan Rock

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 34.04250°N / 116.19724°W
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 4000 ft / 1219 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Routes of the east face
Butterfly Crack
Kris 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

East Face left side
East Face
Right side

Getting There

Sunset in Joshua Tree
Road sign to the crag
The east face parking area
East Face parking 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.

Camping, Noise considerations, Environmental concerns,

Joshua Tree landscape
Typical Joshua Tree landscape

Entrance station...

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.