Guided Rock Climbing at Joshua Tree, CA


Joshua Tree National Park is a classic winter retreat for climbers of all levels. The colors, the plant-life, the animals and the rock in the high Mohave Desert culminate to create an absolutely breathtaking experience. The timeless desert beauty of Joshua Tree is unparalleled. This 4000 foot-high desert plateau is a rock climber's playground. The combination of the Southern Californian weather, pleasant camping and the countless boulders, cliff-faces and rock outcroppings come together to create one of the most sought-after climbing destinations in America.

A winter sunset in Joshua Tree.

A winter sunset in Joshua Tree. Troy Mayr

Climbers are deeply engaged by the somewhat unique rock that the area offers. The crystalline quartz monzonite that makes up most of the features in the area provides some of the highest quality of rock for climbing, with sharp edges, abundant cracks, and a very high friction factor. Whether your interest is low-to-the-ground bouldering or multi-pitch lead climbing, the abundance of rock throughout the park is overwhelming, and not surprisingly, many lines remain unclimbed.

Yet for all the attraction of its rock, the big draw of Joshua Tree is the pleasant climate. From October through May, Joshua Tree is a rock climber's paradise, with convenient and pleasant car camping located right next to many of the climbing areas. Located less than a three hour drive from Los Angeles and less than an hour from Palm Springs, a few days of instruction and climbing in Joshua Tree is a great mid-winter break from the snow and frigid winds found in most of the rest of the country.


Joshua Tree National Park at a Glance

  • Courses and guided ascents available from October through May
  • Easy access from many major metropolitan areas throughout the Southwest
  • Sign-up for a course or for private instruction/guiding
  • Absolutely beautiful camping available
  • Easy access from hotels and motels in Twentynine Palms and the town of Joshua Tree
  • Courses and private instruction available at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels

Guided Rock Climbing at Joshua Tree, CA

Courses and Prices

A climber leading up Buissonier (5.8-).

A climber leading up Buissonier (5.8-). Katy Pfannenstein

Because we run so many rock courses and because we are so flexible about dates, we don't publish a course schedule. To register, simply call our office and discuss the dates that you want. If you want to climb with one or more other climbers, we will work to match you up with others who are at a similar level of experience.

As the fall temperatures and wet weather start to overtake the more temperate rock climbing areas in the U.S., rock climbers begin their annual migration to the desert southwest in search of the sunny skies and warm rock found there for most of the winter months. Our season in Joshua gets started at the beginning of October and continues through the Spring, well into May. The shortest days of the year (December) can be brisk, but there are plenty of sunny options for climbing throughout the park.

Rates listed are per person/per day.

Half-Day Private Courses

  • $300 – 1 Person
  • $195 – 2 People
  • $150 – 3 People
  • $135 – 4 People
  • $120 – 5 People
  • $110 – 6 People

Available for Beginner and Intermediate level courses. Meeting time is 9:00am; return by 2:00pm.

Full Day Private Courses

  • $350 – 1 Person
  • $245 – 2 People
  • $195 – 3 People
  • $180 – 4 People
  • $155 – 5 People
  • $140 – 6 People

Available for Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced level courses. Meeting time is 8:00am; return by 6:00pm.


Other Courses and Programs Offered in Joshua Tree National Park:

Guided Rock Climbing at Joshua Tree, CA


Program Cost Inclusions and Exclusions

Tuition for this program includes the guide fees and provision of all group technical climbing equipment - personal climbing equipment such as clothing, boots, personal climbing gear, sleeping bag, tent, etc. is not included, but is available for rent.

Excluded is transportation to and from the program's meeting location, as well as transportation during the program. As such, you and your course mates will be required to make transportation arrangements from the program's meeting location to the climbing areas and back for yourselves and your guide, whether by renting a car or driving your own car. Lodging costs, all meals and food, excess baggage charges, fees for changing air itineraries because of delayed return from the mountains, personal health, baggage, and trip cancellation insurance, and gratuities to guides are not included.


Approximate Distances to Joshua Tree National Park

Los Angeles: 160 miles 
San Francisco: 450 miles 
San Diego: 110 miles 
Fresno: 350 miles 
Phoenix: 250 miles 
Las Vegas: 160 miles 
Palm Springs: 35 miles


Geology of Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree offers great bouldering as well as countless single-pitch climbs and a number of quality multi-pitch routes.

Joshua Tree offers great bouldering as well as countless single-pitch climbs and a number of quality multi-pitch routes. Glen Young

The quartz monzonite of Joshua Tree is a light colored and rough granitic rock. The rock formations in Joshua Tree tend to be dome-shaped and surrounded by flat desert plains. Approximately 100 million years ago these rocks were heated underground by the continuous movement of the Earth's crust. As the molten liquid oozed upward from deep below the surface, it slowly began to cool in a process that created large crystal grains. After the uplift, the erosive forces of wind and water did their work, which eventually exposed these rocks and isolated islands in the desert landscape. Fortunately for climbers, these granitic features make for a high friction playground with steep, impossible looking face climbs that are actually quite easy. Climbers will also find that most of the cracks in Joshua Tree National Park are shallow and flaring, but offer good placements for those at a beginner level and those that are seasoned level lead climbers.

Guided Rock Climbing at Joshua Tree, CA

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