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Activity Spotlight: Rock Climbing in Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree National Park already boasts beautiful scenery full of adventure in its entirety. The neutral colors of the landscape complimented by the soft morning light, and fierce, fiery dusk. The one of a kind Joshua Trees, cacti, and desert ground, the mighty boulders scattered throughout the park creates a palmy desert playground and oasis.

We absolutely recommend visiting this dreamy National Park. The sights alone will keep you busy and engaged, but there is yet another way to really connect with this park. A personal favorite activity of ours, and this activity we’re stoked on is rock climbing!

What is Rock Climbing?

Rock climbing quite literally translates to the act of vertically climbing and laterally scaling a natural or artificial rock formation. There are a few different ways to approach this, one being a free solo climb involving no equipment other than your body, hands and feet, and another being a free climb involving equipment. We’re focusing on the one with equipment.

When we say equipment, we mean the full get up, being safe as possible: climbing shoes, a helmet, harness, and your best friend: rope! You’ll still get the work out of using your strength to pull yourself up the rock, but you will also have comfort and security knowing you have a harness and rope (and real person) to catch you if you fall.

Benefits of Rock Climbing

1. There are the obvious benefits like views: from the ground, to middle of the rock, and top of the rock, you’ll see the area around you with a fresh set of eyes and gain new perspectives. And the other obvious benefit as mentioned earlier, this is a full body workout testing your physical and mental strength. There are, however, even more intangible benefits to this sport worth sharing.

2. Although the actual act of climbing typically involves one person at a time, this activity offers a fun opportunity for a social setting. While you are pushing yourself and moving up the rock, you will find a sense of trust and motivation from your people below you cheering you on from the ground. And when you are one of the people on the ground, you’ll be swimming in this unique outdoor energy. Being outside, surrounded by your friends or family, cheersing your favorite beverage, encouraging each other, laughing, and engaging in adventure.

3. On an individual scale, you will quickly find that climbing presents a personal challenge, problem solving and stimulating your mind to get yourself up the rock. This kind of self-motivation paired with physical and mental stamina can creates an almost meditative state too. And when you finally reach the top of the rock, you will feel a wave of adrenaline, relief, confidence, and pride (among other really good feels!)

4. Not to get too mushy gushy, but climbing also cultivates a genuine connection with the nature around you. The sky high above you, making you feel like you can touch it with each step up the rock, the desert ground below you, the rock gripped between your fingers and feet, and the little moments of stillness between your breath and making your next move. You’re building trust within yourself and appreciating the mightiness of the Earth.

5. We could probably continue with a million more benefits of rock climbing, but we’ll leave it at this: when was the last time you tried something for the first time? How did it make you feel? A little excitement, maybe anxiousness and a smidge of fear? How about when you made it through the other side of that something new, and you look back to see all you accomplished? That feeling? That’s the feeling we think everyone should aim to harness whenever they get the chance! Whether you are brand new to climbing, or you have a couple under your belt, we’re willing to bet you will move through this activity feeling your own concoction of emotions, and wanting another taste of this adventure.

Cliffhanger Guides

If we haven’t sold you enough already on this absolute gem of an activity, let us brag about our favorite climbing group in J-Tree to get you even more excited to strap in! Cliffhanger Guides is a husband and wife team that upcycled a shipping container into their HQ that sits in the heart of Joshua Tree National Park. They believe anybody can rock climb, regardless of their ability level. They also say that rock climbing is a medium for discovering the outdoors, building strength and flexibility, and cultivating life-long friendships.

Joshua Tree has over 9,000 climbs, making it the perfect international hub for climbers. Seth, Sabra, and their team are avid climbers eager to share their love for the activity with people like you in the most fun and safe way possible. Our team at Tumbleweed Travel Co loves adding this as an activity highlight to your Joshua Tree road trip.

Cliffhanger offers 1/2 day (5hrs) and full day (9hrs) all inclusive climbs. They are all with a private instructor dedicated to you and your group alone, sharing local history and fun facts around the National Park and climbing. You’ll even be treated to a gourmet picnic lunch! This makes for an intimate and energizing group experience.

If you are waiting for a sign encouraging you to try something new, explore the outdoors, gain a new perspective, and dive deep into an adventure – this is it! Joshua Tree is such a magical place that you can’t help but to dream about. But why dream about it, when you can immerse yourself into it? Rock climbing is a major highlight of this park and we can’t wait for you to experience it for yourself. We’ll see you up there!