Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 34.01500°N / 116.16845°W
Additional Information County: Riverside
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 4000 ft / 1219 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Sunrise on The Wailing Wall
Joshua Tree
West Face seen on a foggy day

The Wailing Wall is a formation in The Real Hidden Valley area of Joshua Tree National Park, California.

This interesting formation shares some of the attributes of some very famous and popular formations in the Real Hidden Valley area. Viewed from the vicinity of Hidden Tower, it appears as a steep and narrow tower rivaling Hidden Tower itself, except it's steeper. Upon closer look, The Wailing Wall resembles Thin Wall, except it's thinner. This formation, however, does not share the popularity and foot traffic that its close neighbors such as Sport Challenge Rock, Hidden Tower or any other formation this area enjoys.

It is reasonable to assume that the location of The Wailing Wall has a lot to do with this formation going unnoticed by majority of climbers. This rock is tucked away in a narrow gully some seventy yards to the northwest of Hidden Tower. In short, if you are looking for a secluded place where you can have the rock all to yourself, it's a good idea to check out The Wailing Wall.

Topo of select Routes

Select Routes

Upon entering the hidden gully where The Wailing Wall is located, the narrow pinnacle looking shape of this rock turns into an undisturbed face resembling the west face of Thin Wall. One of the first thing that you will notice is the lack of chalk-marks left behind by hundreds of climbers toproping the routes. The few established routes are on the west face although in the more recent years one route has been established on the east face. The most significant feature of the east face is a ramp system facilitating a reasonable descent.

During the 1960s and early 1970s that most attractive looking formations in Joshua Tree were being climbed for the first time, The Wailing Wall went pretty much without being noticed. Then, by the end of 1970s and early 1980s several routes were established on this rock. Due to lack of crack systems for placing protection, some of the routes were, and still are, standard topropes although they have been done on lead by more capable climbers. The easiest route on the west face is located on the far left side and it's called "Descent Buckets," rated 5.2. This route is also a good way to reach the summit blocks for setting up topropes.

Note: The Nylon slings left behind by other climbers should not be trusted, no matter how new they look.

List of select routes

select routes of The Wailing Wall
ADescent Buckets, 5.2
BBurn Out, 10b, Standard Rack, pro to 2.5"
CComic Relief, 11a R, Toprope, Risky Runout lead
DLegal Briefs, 5.9, Standard Rack
EBrief Case, 10c, Toprope

Getting There

The Wailing Wall seen from Hidden Tower
South Face of Hidden Tower
South face of Hidden Tower.You will see this face from the Nature loop trail.

Sport Challenge Rock
Sport Challenge Rock. You will see this rock on your left during the approach to the north side of Hidden Tower.

The best way way to find The Wailing Wall is to first find Hidden Tower. Thus, the directions to Hidden Tower is as follows.
From the western entrance to Joshua Tree National Park drive on Park Boulevard, formerly known as Quail Springs Road, for about nine miles to a major rock formation called “Intersection Rock.” Intersection Rock is a major landmark on the north side of Park Boulevard with ample parking for visitors and climbers alike. This rock, true to its name, sit at the cross roads to Hidden Valley Campground, Barker Dam Road and the road to Day use and picnic area.

Turn right onto the road leading to day use area with a large parking lot and bathrooms. The Trail to “Real Hidden Vally” is obvious and starts here. This trail leads to “Nature Loop Trail” and “Real Hidden Valley.”
When you get to the Loop Trail take the right fork. After a few minutes you will see a large and steep blocky rock formation to your left. That’s Sport Challenge Rock. Hidden Tower is beyond and to the north east of this formation. The south face of Hidden Tower doesn’t look anything like a tower and can be seen from the main loop trail. Refer to the photo posted here in this page. Once you recognize the south face of Hidden Tower you should have no problem finding the North Face of it. From the north face of Hidden Tower look in the direction of the northwest. Viewed from here, The Wailing Wall appears as a narrow tower some 70 yards away.

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.