Joshua Tree First Timers Guide...
Mojave Guides rock climbing courses begin at the Joshua Tree National Park Visitor's center in the town of Joshua Tree, CA (see map). Consider arriving early to explore the visitor's center and learn a bit about the park. Your rock climbing guide will meet you in the parking lot where you can discuss your goals for the day, fill out some necessary paperwork, and perform a final check of supplies before driving in. You will be following your guide into Joshua Tree National Park in your own car. Make sure you have at least half a tank of gas. If you are camping in Joshua Tree and would like to meet at another location we can discuss the details in advance. There is no cellular phone service in Joshua Tree National Park!
If you haven't already, please visit the Joshua Tree National Park website for basic visitor information. Joshua Tree is only minimally developed when compared to Yosemite, Grand Canyon, or most other National Parks. You won't find any lodges with restaurants and gas stations here. In fact you won't even have access to water once you enter the park. Furthermore, Joshua Tree is located in the harsh Mojave Desert region. You can expect temperatures to fluctuate from very hot and calm in the sun, to downright cold and windy in the shade. Rock climbers need to plan accordingly. Here is a list of recommended items to bring for a day of rock climbing in Joshua Tree:
water (2 liters or more per person for a full day)
comfortable hiking shoes
appropriate clothing for the forecast including a wind layer
long lightweight pants are preferred to protect legs
The weather patterns in Joshua Tree are stable and predictable. Please check the forecast before your trip and plan accordingly, but remember that even on a hot day, a little wind in a shady corridor can be quite chilly.
Lodging options in the town of Joshua Tree and the surrounding area abound, however, in the busy Fall and Spring seasons reservations can be difficult. Plan ahead and book early, we cannot stress this enough. If you plan to camp in the park during one of the busy seasons you will need to arrive mid-week to get a site. Showing up on Friday night will almost certainly result in a lot of extra driving around and disappointment. The reservable sites are often filled up to a year in advance. These include Black Rock, Indian Cove, and Sheep's Pass. Indian Cove has a lot of good rock climbing nearby and offers family sites that are reservable and so is worth looking into, but if it's hot you better not. It's 1000 ft lower and sheltered. A good option for cold weather.
There are a number of good restaurants in the town of Joshua Tree, as well as small convenience stores, gas stations, and a good climbing gear shop. Anything else you need can be found in Yucca Valley, 10 minutes west.
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