Wonderland Hillside Far East

Main Index


Wonderland Hillside Far East Main Index images are all 2D

Links to the 3D Galleries immediately below





Trek dates:

  • 2013 Sep 26. Wayfarers, “Bucko” & Murbachi
  • 2013 Oct 13. Solo, Murbachi
  • 2015 Nov 16. Wanderers, “E!” and Murbachi

3D Galleries Included in This Group

Arroyo Antiguo

Wonderland Scenes ♦ First Impressions

In the Catbird Seat ♦ Barrel Cactus

Black Rock Field to Don Genero Cliff

Don Genero Cliff, Part 1 ♦ On the Edge

Don Genero Cliff, Part 2 ♦ Scene from Above

Contact Zone Revisited ♦ November 2015



THE AREA COVERED in this block of 3D Galleries stretches a mile and a quarter along the hillside with spectacular views into Joshua Tree’s “Crown Jewel” known as the Wonderland of Rocks.

Far East Hillside

Visitors to the park skirt the western edge of the Wonderland. The road takes them through popular campsites and areas such as Hemingway, Hidden Valley, Barker Dam and Wall Street Mill.

Study in contrasts

Immediately above Wall Street Mill is where the 3D journal begins—yet few realize how lovely it is since no developed trail exists, and only a stray hiker or climber ever ventures through. A friend and I hiked along the hillside on a cool sunny day in the early autumn of 2013. Summer thunderstorms had dumped rain and gussied up the place, laying down bright yellow flower patches.

Don Genero Cliff View

A temperature of 60F on the first trip called for light jackets. Ideal, since there are virtually no shady spots where you can cool off; if you attempt this on a toasty summer day, bring plenty of fluids and don a hat. I returned three weeks later by myself to complete part two: the section further north where the hillside turned out to be even more intriguing. This second adventure included a detailed photo shoot at the black rock arroyo, continuing up the contact zone, with remarkable scenes once I got to the Don Genero Cliff area. Lastly, I took ‘the long way home’ through a hinterland of undulating slopes and gullies. This area is peppered with more of the same deep ebony rocks that when set against vivid white and tan monzogranite give a nice contrast.

View south from turnaround point

View south from turnaround point

From first impressions, this seems to be a hillside much like any other hillside. Yet it offers endless scenery and little surprises almost everywhere including the largest red barrel cactus I’ve seen in the park in my 35 trips + 22,000 3D photographs—and all capped off with a panoramic view.

(I understand that red barrels such as the ones pictured grow to 10 or 15 feet in the Sonoran desert of Arizona, but in Joshua Tree, where they are a dime a dozen and add a beautiful splash of color, they rarely grow more than 18-to-24 inches high. Red barrels are the most pervasive barrel type in the Park. I’ve yet to encounter a golden barrel cactus in JTNP such as one finds in Southern California garden shops.)


Arroyo Antiguo

3D Gallery LINK

2D Slideshow

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Wonderland Scenes ♦ First Impressions

3D Gallery LINK

(Click to Enlarge)


In the Catbird Seat ♦ Barrel Cactus

3D Gallery LINK

WANDERERS AND WAYFARERS long for an easy place to relax away from life’s bustle, where they can kick back and enjoy the view. Bucko and I found such a spot in an inland region. It took only a few minutes legwork (and some minor huffing and puffing) for we two lazy bozos to work our way through the granite blocks and cacti and needle-sharp Mojave yuccas to about 125 feet above the gently rolling Far East hillside. At Joshua Tree as elsewhere in the world, the higher you go the more you see. Once there, we found ourselves perched in the catbird seat.

On the way there, we encountered this patriarch of a red barrel. Being polite about things, we humbly begged its permission and it consented to allow us to photograph it without payment or spiny retribution for imposing on its privacy.


Black Rock Field to Don Genero Cliff

3D Gallery LINK

DSCF7370THE MOST STRIKING FEATURE of this next area of the Far East hillside is the noticeable  dark brown to jet-black field about 500 yards wide that sweeps half a mile up a distant secluded valley to the tall rock-climbing pinnacles on the hillside.


The rock climbers describe this region of the Wonderland as the Far East. Most of the pictures show views into and across the Wonderland looking either West or Southwest.

DSCF7014Half a mile north, the area becomes ‘Lost in the Wonderland.’ There are many features that have been named. The closest to the black rock field are “Garrett’s Arch” and “Bighorn Dome.” Some a little more distant are also rather humorous bordering on salacious, like “Bighorn Mating Grotto,” “Sheepbugger’s Wall,” “The Refrigerator,” “Poodle Smasher’s Area,” and a large block or boulder from which the nearby cliff-face gets its name, “Don Genero Boulder. Due to its proximity near the cliff base, I wasn’t able to photograph Don Genero in 3D.

The combo of White Tank monzogranite against the adjoining Queen Mountain granite of this region provides many photo opportunities. Furthermore, the silvery chollas and glistening needles of the yellow-green prickly pear cacti add unusual splashes to the finished 3D images.

At the northern extremity where the dark rocks cease, the cliff-face intrudes and rises to about 125ft. Don Genero boulder lies at the base of the cliff whose namesake provides the scenic rise along which I hiked, snapping 3D photographs by the score.

The present Gallery covers the black rock field. The two Galleries that follow continue with Don Genero Cliff proper.


Don Genero Cliff

Wonderland Far East Hillside 08a genero 1The following Don Genero Cliff Galleries cover an area further along the Wonderland of Rocks eastern hillside where the contact between Queen Mountain on the east, and the lighter-colored granite of the Wonderland sharpens into a low, rolling cliff. The climbers named this spot after one of their favorite boulders which lies at the base (unfortunately not visible from above): Don Genero Rock. Anywhere along this zone it is possible to scramble out onto the cliff for a raven’s-eye view of Wonderland Wash below. The drop is approximately 125ft to 200ft. From this vantage, visitors can peer deep into the “Far East” of the Wonderland, with glimpses to the north and west of Joshua Tree township, Mt. San Gorgonio forty miles distant, and closer to home, the area known as “Lost in the Wonderland”.


Don Genero Cliff, Part 1 ♦ On the Edge

3D Gallery LINK

Don Genero Cliff, Part 2 ♦ Scene from Above

3D Gallery LINK

Wonderland Far East Hillside 09b genero 2


DSCF6440Thank you for visiting Joshua Tree 3D. I hope that you enjoy the 3D Galleries covering this section of Joshua Tree’s “Crown Jewel”—the Wonderland of Rocks.

John Murbach


Posted 2015 Jul 15

Updated 2017 Nov 7



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