Nestled into the rocky hills at the terminus of Indian Cove Road, this campsite is one of the largest in the park and one of the most popular for those with a tick list full of climbs to conquer. Keep in mind that, like with all other Joshua Tree National Park sites, there is no potable water. Bring your own, and bring plenty—if you find yourself short, there’s a market just down the street.
The campsites are flat and campers can easily find an agreeable flat surface upon which to pitch a tent, though sleeping out is an entirely different experience altogether. There’s minimal light pollution, so the stars shine brightly overhead. Sites are first-come, first-served between June and September, but in the busy winter month Indian Cove becomes one of the only two campgrounds in the park that can be reserved, making it a popular site for those not wishing to gamble.
Find the right spot (like #65 or #65), and you’ll be able to use the massive exposed granite boulders in your favor as shade or wind protection. And though the campsite is very popular with kids and families, it’s generally peaceful and the topography lends an air of privacy and seclusion that can be hard to find at other popular spots in the park during the high season.
A huge draw to this site is the nearby famed Wonderland of Rocks. Though the rock is typically a bit grainier than some of the other frequented areas in the park and many routes are shorter, even an impressively ambitious climber would need years to reckon with all of the possibilities.
Routes range from 5.0 to impossibly difficult, and there is an array of bouldering that’s equally as substantial. The approaches for almost all are delightfully short, so most climbers stay close. On crowded days, it’s possible to hunt for gems that lie further away from the area.