Forgotten Canyon

And Big Top

Indian Cove Campground

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(2D images first. 3D Galleries further down the page will require redcyan glasses to see the full 3D effect. Click Photos to Enlarge.)

Forgotten Canyon at Indian Cove Campground. The Gossip Column, center.

Tall red barrel cactus greets you at the entrance to Forgotten Canyon

Trek date: 2018 Feb 9

On This Page

  • Big Top
  • Forgotten Canyon
  • Defender Block ♦ Gossip Column
  • Little Top and beyond

Related Destinations

Western Wilderness ♦ Part 2

Group Campsites 2 ♦ Grain Central Station

THE REMOTE FORGOTTEN CANYON at Joshua Tree’s Indian Cove Campground lies about .6 mile northwest of the end of the Group Camp Road, just past and west of Big Top. You will cross a large wash about 350 yards northwest of the end of the road. Big top is 400 yards further. From Big Top head west about 300 yards then angle southwest into the “hidden” canyon.

The first formation on the left (south) of this steep canyon is Defender Block. It will not be visible until you walk along a sandy ridge toward the back of the canyon (350 yards further). The Gossip Column is the most striking feature inside Forgotten Canyon. It is the large, brown block at the back.


Can be found in the Western Wilderness Part 2 Gallery.

2D Gallery

Big Top

Joshua Tree climbers have staked out routes on the southwest side of Big Top as well as at the northeast corner. But many other possibilities exist on this jumble of rocks and walls. In keeping with its circus tent shape, routes are named “3 Ring Circus,” “Under the Big Top,” “Lion Tamer,” “Working without a Net,” “More My Speed,” “Sawdust and Peanut Shells” (a three-star favorite, see illustration), “Gypsy Fortune,” and “Zelda.”

Forgotten Canyon

Approach to Forgotten Canyon

Defender Block

Joshua Tree rock hounds describe two routes on the dark colored wall on your left as you approach The Gossip Column. But many other possibilities exist on this jumble of rocks, faces and walls, no doubt, that none of the current guidebooks or online sources (like currently reference.

Defender Block’s most prominent route “Defender”—5.11a (TR) ***—is a thin crack on the north face, with a dark streak running down the face. Next to Defender can be found “Shiatsu” which climbs the block’s face.

The Gossip Column

This dark pillar is located high in the canyon. Enter the canyon and approach the crag staying to the left. For adventurous types, several hundred yards of steep boulder-hopping lead to the base. Apropos to its name “The Gossip Column,” routes are “Rubberneck Busybody,” located on the slabby south wall to the left and slightly lower; “Rumors and Lies,” which traces up an offset seam on the right-hand (larger) face; and “Nothing but Hearsay,” which uses the same starting point as “Rumors” but then traverses right to a thin crack.

Little Top

This is the first large formation west of Big Top. Several routes have been done: “Left Sideshow Crack,” “Right Sideshow Crack,” and “Al’s Route.”

There are a few climbing areas that can also be reached from the Boy Scout Trail / Backcountry Board, which is located on the right side of the road about 1/2 mile past the Indian Cove Ranger Station, before you get to the main Indian Cove campground and climbing areas.

The first one you come to is The Monkey’s Paw , which is on your right. Then past that there is a rather large group of formations on the left, which is actually the rock just west of Big Top; this is the Boy Scout Trail Cliffs. Then further still, way, way up on the hill to the right, is The Iron Sausage. (I hope to include a detailed circuit of Little Top, The Monkey’s Paw, Boy Scout Trail Cliffs, and The Iron Sausage on another trip.)

From inside Forgotten Canyon, looking down slope to Little Top. Rural area of 29 Palms beyond.

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3D Anaglyph Gallery

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3D Half Side-by-Side Gallery

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Thank you for visiting the Forgotten Canyon Gallery at Indian Cove Campground, Joshua Tree. I hope you enjoyed the 3D images.



Posted 2018 Feb 15