Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 34.02944°N / 116.18096°W
Additional Information County: Riverside
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 4200 ft / 1280 m
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Roadside Rock
Joshua Tree at dusk

Roadside Rock is a rock formation in Joshua Tree National Park, California.

You would be hard pressed finding another rock tower closer to the road than Roadside Rock in all of Joshua Tree. This formation is literally yards from Park Boulevard, the main access road into the park. This may have contributed to lack of popularity and route development we see on this rock. For many years there was only one route done on this formation. But there has been a little more activity and route development during the past fifteen years.

Roadside Rock, small as it is, sits very close to many popular and much larger formations such as Hemingway Buttress, Dairy Queen Wall, Playhouse Rock to the south east and Quail Springs to the north west. Being situated in a such a crowded neighborhood, it’s no surprise it doesn’t draw much attention.

A Personal Note: Truth be told, I have climbed on this rock only once, and it was during a rainy winter day when nobody else was climbing in Joshua Tree. Being a trooper that she is, my wife agreed to belay me when I led “Just Another Roadside Attraction.” This crack, rated 5.9 at the time, really did feel like a 5.9 as all the rain water funneling down the sides of the crack made climbing much more intersting. This route is down rated to 5.7 now, for a dry day, of course.

Featured Route, Just Another Roadside Attraction, 5.7

Select routes of Roadside Rock
A, is "Just Another Roadside Attraction." B,is "Cheep Thrills"
Joshua Tree

Roadside Rock is sixty feet high and sports half a dozen routes, the most famous of which is “Just Another Roadside Attraction,” rated 5.7. This route climbs the crack in the middle of the east face. You can plug in as many pieces of protection as you like and set up a solid anchor on top. Carry a standard rack and include protection up to two inches. If you feel adventureous, you can top rope a route just to the right of “Just Another Roadside Attraction,” as you look at the rock from the road. This route is called “Cheep Thrills, rated 5.11b.” To descend, scramble down the back of the left side, again, as you face the rock from the road.

To get to Roadside Rock, drive 7.2 miles from the west entrance to Joshua Tree National Park. This rock tower is just before you cross “Lost Horse Road.” There is a turnout close to the rock. If you go as far as Hemingway Buttress parking, you have gone too far.

Environmental Concerns

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 you 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.

Camping and Noise Considerations

First rays of light on IRS Wall

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 and 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 16.00$/person. But, you must get there early, or be prepared to wait by the door for a table.

External links

Dairy Queen Wall

Hemingway Buttress

Playhouse Rock

Quail Springs