The main focal point at Joshua Tree National Park is the Hidden Valley area. To the west of the main road is a huge parking lot, as well as Hidden Valley, which is a naturally occurring circular enclosure made of a circular mountain of stone, with one naturally occurring entrance. Across the street from Hidden Valley is anothe parking lot, and most stone mountains, many of which are used on a daily basis by mountain climbers toting long cables, for use in scaling vertical cliffs. The main road circles around to the east, passing Spatula Rock, and brings you to Jumbo Rocks campground.
PHOTOGENIC ROCKS AT JUMBO ROCKS AREA. Jumbo Rocks campground is the site of most of the specacular boulder formations in Joshua Tree National Park, including a set of 10-foot long fingers assembled together (these can be seen at the top of a low cliff), a spectacular 10-foot sphere balanced on top of a cliff, where the cliff is made of triangular chunks of stone pieced together (this can be seen from the trailhead to Skull Rock Trail), a 10-foot high sloth (this is near the 10-foot sphere, and is located at ground level), several beautiful monoliths (these are located 50 feet to the east of Skull Rock, and can be accessed directly, or by hiking around the low-lying mountain). A narrow road winds its way through Jumbo Rocks campground, and near campsite 13 is a beautiful monolith with a juniper tree growing from the granite floor of the desert. This juniper tree has been much photographed. The sphere at the top of the cliff is featured on the cover of the following excellent book: Joshua Tree National Park geology by D. D. Trent and Richard W. Hazlett.
NEARBY SPLIT ROCK TRAIL. Near Jumbo Rocks, and directly across the road main, is Split Rock Trail, which features two or three additional beautiful monoliths, and more sheer cliffs where mountain climbers scale upwards on ropes. Also, directly across the little road that winds its way through Jumbo Rocks campground, is another area (without any trails) where visitors can poke around and discover other boulder formations, for example, more monoliths and also an elephant.
NEARBY LIVE OAK CAMPGROUND. Jumbo Rocks campground is a short, 10 minute stroll from Live Oak campground, and here one can find more photogenic boulders, including two pyramids (side-by-side), each about 30 feet tall. In the Jumbo Rocks campground, Split Rock trail, and Live Oak campground, the granite that makes up the desert floor, as well as some of the boulders that make up the tiny mountains in this area, are distinguished by having beautiful white stripes. The white strips are generally 15 to 20 feet long, and they are made of white minerals that are embedded in the beige-colored granite boulders or in the beige-colored granite desert floor.
STREAM BEDS. Another excellent feature can be found in the Jumbo Rocks campground area, namely, dried stream beds. The dried stream beds are an excellent place to find cacti, and also various colorful flowers. (Of course, these stream beds should be avoided during rainstorms, since the rapidly moving waters are violent, powerful, and dangerous. During the rainstorms of October 2013, these storms overturned several picnic tables and campfire grills, and destroyed parts of the edges of some of the small roads that are in Jumbo Rocks campground).
Jumbo Rocks campground has an amphitheater, apparently for the purpose of talks by the park rangers. However, I have never attempted to learn about or attend these talks, since all of my visits at Joshua Tree National Park have been for photography. During the years 2011 to 2013, I spent 18 weekends exploring Joshua Tree National Park.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in the center of the park, the campground offers good rock climbing. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Jumbo Rocks Campground Hotel Joshua Tree National Park