Ivanpah Tanks

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 Images to Enlarge.)

Ivanpah Tank Feature DSCF3924

On this page

  • Upper and Lower Ivanpah Dams
  • Abbey Rock • Creeper Rock climbing formations
  • Surrounding Area

Nearby Venues

Live Oak Picnic Area

The Pope’s Hat

The Hen House

Elliot Koeppel’s Live Oak & Ivanpah Tank and Lower Ivanpah Tank commentary.

Trek Dates: 2015 Sep 16 solo; 2016 Mar 25 Murbachi & E!

Ivanpah Tank Joshua Tree NP DSCF0717

Ivanpah Tank, lower dam

Ivanpah Tank, lower dam

Ivanpah Tank, main or upper dam

Ivanpah Tank, main or upper dam

ONE-THIRD OF A MILE SOUTH OF LIVE OAK PICNIC AREA an impressive rock-lined sandy wash crosses the desert floor, draining Jumbo Rocks. Early cattle ranchers built two small dams across it to store seasonal rain runoff for their livestock and horses. This is Ivanpah Tank at Joshua Tree National Park. The taller dam or main ‘tank’ as it was called ( 33°59’53.20″N 116° 2’54.46″W ), the one pictured at left, is described in guide books and Park brochures. It is still being maintained by the Park Service.

Although I have never seen it full, it apparently holds a substantial amount of runoff, with dried mud coating the rocks high up on either slope. A Google Images search will find several pictures, including showing the muddy water in it.

Upon approach you pass this unusual square blockish formation that Elliot Koeppel has nicknamed Submarine Rock. It can be seen from the car park. (Elliot grew up in Orange County, California, seat of Disneyland theme park with its Submarine Ride; no doubt the early memories of that ride were the first thing to come to mind when he encountered this. In bygone days, the Submarine Ride was an E-ticket. This one is Free. Climb aboard!)

Submarine-shaped formation

Submarine-shaped formation

To reach the main Ivanpah dam—continue along the trail which passes a hundred yards or so to the west of the submarine rock.

The other dam ( 33°59’56.61″N 116° 2’46.73″W ) was constructed several hundred yards further down the wash. Pictured above, right, this second dam is approximately three feet tall at its base and is sand-filled. I judge it to be 30-40ft wide. Brush partially obscures the view.

Live Oak 02d DSCF3924 Lower Ivanpah route

GPS 33°59’56.61″N 116° 2’46.73″W

Four iron pipes extend a few inches out of the rock and cement on the smaller dam’s eastern side. Likely the pipes aided in filling water buckets. Or there might have once been a watering trough for the animals ‘back in the day.’

Cast-iron pipes at lower dam, detail

The primary dam is easiest to find, just follow the old road-trail from parking loop closest to the dirt road that leads off Park Boulevard into Live Oak Picnic Area.

As soon as fellow Joshua Tree National Park explorer Elliot Koeppel heard that I had located a second dam at Ivanpah using Google Earth satellite imagery, he was eager to photograph it. We did so a few days after Spring sprang in 2016. It takes a little searching to find the easiest route to this dam. Here, the satellite imagery helped. The way to approach it is from the main road-trail. Break off left at a 45-degree angle. From trail to dam is 250yds. Look for the pointed formation illustrated above and hike around its left side. A gentle gravel slope descends about 30ft into the wash. The dam is not visible from where you enter the wash; brush covers it. Once arrived, however, work your way left a few dozen yards.

Abbey Rock and Creeper Rock. One hundred seventy-five feet east of the car park can be found a rock-climbing formation known as Abbey Rock whose sole climb is “Desert Solitaire.” Creeper Rock is a north-facing formation about 250 yards southeast of Abbey Rock. Climbs on Creeper Rock include “Learning to Crawl,” “Finger Locking Good,” and “Fingerlocks or Cedar Box.”

Abbey Rock

Creeper Rock

Fugly Rock is South on the Desert Floor …

Ivanpah Tank Joshua Tree NP DSCF3925

… and The Hen House

The Hen House (1 mile from Ivanpah Tanks and a 20-30 minute hike), rests on the left end of a large sloping platform.

2D Gallery Ivanpah ♦ Main Dam

2D Gallery Ivanpah ♦ Lower Dam

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

3D Anaglyph Gallery ♦ Main Dam

Be my guest and download as many of the 3D Anaglyph or 3D Half Side-by-Side photographs as you wish. Note: 3D H-SBS images should be saved only if you have access to a 3D TV.

3D Anaglyph Gallery ♦ Lower Dam

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 Ivanpah Tanks 3D Gallery. I trust that you found the photographs and area to your liking and will want to visit Live Oak Picnic Area when in Joshua Tree National Park.


Posted 2016 Mar 27

Updated 2018 Apr 3