The Pope’s Hat

At Live Oak Picnic Area

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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.)

Live Oak Picnic Area Joshua Tree NP DSCF3490


On this page

  • Pope’s Hat
  • Climbing Formations, West Side
  • Climbing Formations, South Side
  • Hilltop Scenery

See also

Live Oak Picnic Area

Ivanpah Tanks

The Hen House

See Elliot Koeppel’s Live Oak and Ivanpah Tanks page (he will be most tankful).


The Pope's Acura

The Pope’s Acura

Trek dates: 2013 Apr 1 and 2015 Sep 16

THE POPE’S HAT CAN BE FOUND across Park Boulevard from The Wedge area and about a mile east of the entrance to Jumbo Rocks Campground. (See The Wedge 3D Gallery HERE.)

There are over 30 named rock climbs on this large inselberg and surrounding boulders situated at Live Oak Picnic Area. The major climbs face west and south. The iconic Pope’s Hat includes “Pope’s Hat,” “Nincompope,” “Pope on a Rope,” “Desert Storm,” “Pope and Circumstances,” and “Is the Pope Catholic?”

Inquisition Rock, detail

Inquisition Rock, detail

The Pope’s Cape is a block/formation just north of the Pope’s Hat and includes the popular “The Popemobile” and “Papal Smear.” Close by these are The Pope Boulders, including The Slammer, Tidy Bowl, Papal Pleaser, and Oh God! Lastly, on this side, a large, low-angled, north-facing rock south of The Pope’s Hat known as Inquisition Rock. It hosts two relatively easy climbs “Westward Ho!” and “Funky Gunkies.”

On the east side, scattered throughout the picnic area and southward are Abbey Rock, Perjury Rock, and the tall Whispering Wall. This latter is a wide, south-facing wall indicated on the second illustration above that can be found immediately east of the Pope’s Hat. Climbs on The Whispering Wall include “Stemski,” “Jeepers Leepers,” “My 3 Friends,” “Indian Garden,” “More Crazy Than Lazy,” “Mother Board Breakdown” (a popular climb apparently by the 3-star rating) and finally “Charlotte’s Web.”

Below, we illustrate Creeper Rocks, 500 yards from of The Whispering Wall group and easily accessible from the east side parking circle and picnic tables. It includes “Finger Locking Good,” “Irie Heights,” “Cadillac Desert,” “Sunday Afternoon,” and “Route Canal.” According to the author of the website, “The Creeper Rocks offer a small number of mostly mediocre routes with the exception being Irie Heights (5.10d) and Cadillac Desert (5.11b).”

Creeper Rocks

Creeper Rocks Joshua Tree NP DSCF0686a



The Wedge from Live Oak DSCF3222


The Hen House, distant far left

The Hen House, back left



2D Pope’s Hat West Face

Click images to enlarge. 1080p resolution. Or Windows users, right-click and choose SAVE LINK AS. 3D Anaglyph Slideshow follows.


2D South and East Side


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

3D Anaglyph Gallery

Enjoy these and 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.

Live Oak Popes Hat 3DA 1080p DSCF3213


The Hen House 3DA 1080p DSCF3335



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.


Pope, Junior's hat

Pope, Junior’s hat

Jeeper’s creepers this was a fantastic area within Joshua Tree National Park to take 3D photos. So many interesting angles. Endless balanced- or strange-shaped rocks. Strategically placed yuccas or small Joshua trees which can be used for framing. Close-ups; long distant panoramas; a bit of everything which makes it all worthwhile. I hope that you enjoyed visiting the Pope’s Hat, and that you will tip your hat to me.

John Murbach

Temple City, California



Posted 2016 Mar 18

Updated 2017 Nov 4