Belle Mountain and Vicinity
(2D images first. 3D Galleries further down the page will require red–cyan glasses to see the full 3D effect. Click Photos to Enlarge.)
Trek date: 2016 Sep 3
On This Introductory Page
- Castle Rock ♦ Short Cake Rocks
- Views of Belle Mountain
- Castle Rock, North Side
- Castle Rock, South Side
- McClure’s Clump
- Short Cake Rocks
- Half Rock
- Unusual “tafoni” pockmarked rock
- View of Becky’s Buttress Area
Link to Joshua Tree National Park’s Belle Mountain Webcam
THE SMALL BELLE CAMPGROUND hosts 18 campsites and lies at the high point of a large, sweeping valley that drops both to the north and to the south. Below, White Tank Campground, beyond which the Mojave Desert makes a transition into the lower, drier Colorado Desert of Joshua Tree National Park. You can see the relationship in the distance photographs that I took at Eagle Cliff Hills and the Split Rock Picnic area.
Dark brown Belle Mountain, with its ranger facilities and the Belle Mountain Webcam aimed in a southerly direction, rises east of the campground. The Eagle Mountains (24-38 miles), and in the center-right distance, the Chuckwalla Mountains (46-48 miles) can be seen on clear days. It so happens I was photographing the Virgin Islands area of Geology Tour Road one fine October afternoon in 2015, on what friends in Rancho Mirage say was the clearest, most pristine day they had seen in the desert that year. Notice how beautiful the view is, enhanced by the puffy white clouds.
The shot at left shows the Belle Mountain facilities; McClure’s Clump rock climbing formation lies a few hundred yards east of Castle Rock.
The main Belle Campground rock-climbing formations are Castle Rock, at the base of which the campsites are laid out, and Short Cake Rocks. The Short Cake cluster consists of a small group of fin-like formations and a rubble pile. A mile northeast and jutting out of the hillside are additional monzogranite clusters known as Becky’s Buttress Area, Gorby’s Mound, and Tollakson’s Tower.
The south side of Castle Rock (see below) hosts a number of climbs that include: “True Grit,” “Yucca Bowl,” “Bonny’s Boo-Boo,” “Bonnie Brae,” “Bubba’s Tourist Trap,” “Betty Flop,” and “Sand in My Shoes.” The end block, which from this angle is at the left, hosts “Belly Dancer,” “Bell-E-Up,” and the quite difficult 5.12a “The Strange Attracter.” Sixteen other climbs are on the north side of Castle Rock, as listed in Robert Miramontes climbing guide.
Shortcake routes include the incredibly difficult (5.13a 2-star) “Piece of Cake,” “Cake Walk,” “Short Cake,” “Short Flake,” “Blue Sky Mine,” and “Ashes to Ashes.”
Castle Rock ♦ Shortcake Rocks
- Use glasses to view 3D Anaglyphs
- Click to Enlarge Photos
3D Anaglyph Gallery
(Click images to enlarge. 1080p resolution. Or Windows users, right-click and choose SAVE LINK AS).
3D Half Side-by-Side Gallery
(Note: 3D H-SBS images should only be saved if you can view them on a 3D TV. Windows users, right-click and choose SAVE LINK AS.)
Thank you for visiting the Belle Campground Galleries and those for Becky’s Buttress at Joshua Tree 3D.
Posted 2016 Sep 22
Updated 2017 Mar 13