Skull Rock Trail

And Teepee Rock Area

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See Also

Elliot Koeppel’s page Skull Rock Nature Trail

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

The Long View


Trek date: 2016 Sep 3. Explorers: E! & Murbachi

Conditions: 85F. Wind 13. Humidity 12%

Jumbo Rocks DSCF1259

Sky King Rock

Sky King Rock, north face. Dark boulder at right base is Burnt Marshmallow block

FROM JUMBO ROCKS CAMPGROUND, follow the well-marked trail to Skull Rock. This photogenic area goes through gently rolling country, past the important rock-climbing faces behind the world-famous marble-in-the-groove wall (above). As you take your first steps the familiar balanced marble wall greets you on the right side of the trail. Beyond, a maze of interesting formations, Teepee Rock and Sky King Rock mark important points on the next wall immediately behind the marble. Beyond lies Dislodge Rock, New Sage Rock, The Fruit Cake, while closer to the camptround is Jumbo Rocks Corridor. Before you know it, you will arrive at Skull Rock and the main road through Joshua Tree National Park, Park Boulevard.

Rock climbers have staked out routes on Teepee Rock’s wall having names that will leave you scratching your head in wonderment: “Tortoise Skeleton Crack,” “Retirement Is All That,” “It’s Cracked Up to Be,” “Not a Hogan,” “Gracias a Dios,” “Busy Bees,” and “Scorched Earth,” the latter one of the most difficult and enjoyable three-star climbs in this group.

Teepee Rock Area

Jumbo Rocks Corridor, North End


Marble Wall, Distant View from Conan’s Corridor Trail

Jumbo Rocks Conans Corridor trail DSCF0775


The day was picture perfect, 85F with a cooling breeze to dry any sweat away, and humidity clocking in at 12% (bring chapstick!). We parked at the second of the two public (non-camper) Parking Areas, the one below the amphitheater. That is Elliot’s Tacoma truck, T-Red.



Skull Rock trail begins at this point and traverses 800 yards or slightly under half a mile one-way to the eponymous sculpted-face rock. Start at the pavement trailhead near the amphitheater visitor parking turnout (large P at center in the campground layout). The trail makes a long meandering curve north-northeast. Along your right-hand side rise the various giant granite-tan formations known collectively as Jumbo Rocks.

The upper trail marked in red dashes is the Conan’s Corridor Trail, which completes Skull Rock loop trail.

If you are a casual visitor, stay close to the trail; however, those familiar with the surroundings, or having a decent sense of direction and can return cross-country to the main campground, may want to explore deeper up the numerous small slopes and into gullies back in there.

We came across this funny looking erosional remnant which, likely as not, has been squatting here exactly as you see it today for 50,000 or perhaps as long as 100,000 years, just waiting for a lamebrain 3D photographer to step up and frame it. Which I did. (Further down the page are the 3D Anaglyph and 3D Half Side-by-Sides of this granitic marvel.)

Place your hand over your right eye and count to 42

Place your hand over your right eye and count to 42


“Cairn.” c.1530s, from Scottish carne, from Gael. carn “heap of stones, rocky hill,”

Friend Elliot Koeppel and I, having about ninety minutes to spare on this particular summer’s afternoon, wandered in and among this Jack and the Beanstalk giant’s playground. We also found one delicately balanced cairn someone had stacked (left photo) near the oddly eroded rock (at right). Of course, Joshua Tree National Park is world famous for its strange, sometimes creepy-looking boulders. Skull Rock is one of the most popular destinations in the park, while across the street from it rises another oddity, virtually unknown ‘Face Rock.’ Choose this LINK to visit my 3D Skull Rock/Face Rock page (link opens a new tab in your browser).

Looking North from above Skull Rock

Some of the things you will see along Skull Rock Trail

  • The meandering campground
  • The remarkable balanced-marble wall
  • Teepee rock formation
  • Sky King Rock


2D Skull Rock Trail Gallery

Click images to enlarge. 2016p resolution. Or Windows users, right-click and choose SAVE LINK AS. 3D Anaglyph Slideshow follows.


  • Use glasses to view 3D Anaglyphs
  • Click to Enlarge Photos

3D Anaglyph Gallery

Visitors to Joshua Tree 3D are invited to download as many of the 3D Anaglyph or 3D Half Side-by-Side photographs as you wish. Note: 3D H-SBS images should only be saved if you have access to a 3D TV.




3D Half Side-by-Side Gallery

Suitable for 3D TV viewing. Half Side-by-Sides avoid the minor Anaglyph anomalies that can occur. Click images to enlarge. 1080p resolution. Or Windows users, right-click and choose SAVE LINK AS.


Thank you for visiting the Jumbo Rocks 3D Galleries at Joshua Tree National Park. Be sure to include this interesting hike on your next visit to Jumbo Rocks, it’s a campground favorite.


Temple City, California


Posted 2016 Sep 15

Updated 2017 Nov 4