Get to know the seven Leave No Trace principles, and act in accordance with them. This page details some guidelines specific to climbing in Joshua Tree.
Stay On Defined Trails
Multiple paths to the same cliff or boulder, or "social trails," damage vegetation, destroy animal burrows, and promote the spread of exotic plants. Paths to popular climbing areas are marked with brown posts (as shown on right). Please follow these marked trails or, when not marked, the most defined trail.
Don't Bust The Crust
Biological soil crusts contain a complex community of micro-organisms that help to keep the sand in place and provide nutrients and moisture so plants can grow. Thick crusts can be seen as lumpy black areas, much like fungus. When you walk on these living soils, the micro-organisms die. So please don't "bust the crust" by creating another social trail—even if it is the shortest distance to your climb.
Some of Joshua Tree's climbing areas are in designated wilderness. By law, these areas must remain "with the imprint of man's work substantially unnoticeable."
- Avoid altering the rock by "nailing" or "gardening."
- Never fabricate holds or change the nature of established climbs.
- Do not anchor or tie-off on vegetation.
- Use neutral or rock-colored stainless steel fixed anchors and corresponding hangers, rappel rings, quick links, and chains.
Be Considerate of Other Visitors
- Don't disturb the natural quiet of Joshua Tree by playing loud music.
- Ask for permission if you wish to climb in an occupied campsite.
- Limit the size of your group and share the rock.
- Never leave a top-rope unattended.
Reduce Your Impact When Bouldering
- Place your crashpad carefully at the base of the boulder.
- Carry your crashpad rather than dragging it.
- Minimize the size of your group.
- Don't cut or break tree limbs, remove lichens, or damage vegetation.
- Clean off chalk holds and tick marks when you are done.