Indian Cove Campground in Joshua Tree National Park lies amid the huge, steep rock formations for which Joshua Tree National Park is known. Because of its proximity to many rock climbing routes, it is a popular camping location for climbers. Indian Cove is one of four campgrounds in the park that can be reserved during the busy winter season; it is open on a first-come, first-served basis from June 10 through August 30.
Travelers who enjoy warm, dry winters flock to Joshua Tree from October through May, when temperatures hover between 70-90 degrees during the day and drop to a 40-60 degree range at night. Summer is the park's off-season due to the uncomfortably-high desert heat. Indian Cove is at an elevation of 3,200 feet.
Rock climbers flock to Indian Cove Campground for the variety of routes and warmer temperatures that can be found in the interior of the park. Several hiking trails also leave from the campground. There is a short interpretive nature trail and plenty of rocks for the non-climber to explore within the facility. Clear desert skies are perfect for star-gazing.
This large facility has 91 individual campsites, as well as 13 tent-only group sites. There are no hookups or drinking water in the campground, however water and an emergency phone are available two miles away at the ranger station. The town of Twentynine Palms is less than 10 miles away and provides basic amenities. The park allows six people and two vehicles per site, however, some sites are small and may not accommodate the maximum number of people and vehicles. See Site Details for specifics.
Campsites are nestled on a flat, sandy surface between large boulders that tower in unique shapes over the campground and rise up from the otherwise uniform desert landscape. The rocks were formed by volcanic activity millions of years ago and have been exposed and shaped by wind and water over time. They brighten with soft pastel hues during the morning and evening sunlight and glow with campfire light by night.
Visitors may want to keep their eyes out for typical desert inhabitants such as lizards, rattlesnakes, scorpions, ravens, squirrels and desert tarantulas during the cooler months of the year. Bobcats and mountain lions do live in the park, however they are rarely seen near humans.
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Always a go to campsite, quiet and relaxing.
I chose this site because it was close to the main road and we had to leave early morning so we didn't want to go into the actual park.
It was stunningly beautiful - the site is nestled up against giant rock formations that you can climb around on for views of the area. We laid on the warm rocks at night and watched the stars after dinner - best stargazing we had our whole trip through CA - AZ.
The website warned that the site wasn't level but we were able to just park so that we didn't notice (truck bed campers)
One of my fav camping places! Love the desert during the winter, the sunsets are epic! Beautiful grounds, you almost feel like your remote camping! Lots of land to explore and rocks to climb!
Nice Campground with most sites next to large boulders. Many sites are close to each other but not too bad. The rock walls around us provided some nice privacy. Can get a lot of sun depending on time of day. Really enjoyed the dark skies and cuddling up with my pups. Spend time watching the climbers master their craft :)
I've camped at Indian Cove multiple times, at the group site and the individual sites. Indian Cove is on the Northern side of the park, and you will use a different entrance than the main park entrance. The group sites come up first off to the right, and you can still see the town of 29 Palms, but they're nestled right at the beginning of the classic J Tree giant boulders. A 2 minute walk south and you're in the thick of it. The individual sites are on the south side of the boulder line, giving you a little more secluded feeling (inside J Tree as opposed to on the outskirts), but you'll be right up next to your neighbors. If you can, I highly recommend the group sites - they're HUGE! You get nearly an acre of space depending on some of the sites.
You can hike the Boy Scout Trail, trailhead near the Indian Cove individual campsites, which connects to the main road if you want to explore Jumbo Rocks or Skull Rock. We always love to scramble up to the top of as many rock stacks as we can.
Overall: Group sites>individual, but 10/10 either way. Joshua Tree is a magical place.
I’ve been to Indian Cove several times. We like to come around sunset, set up camp eat some dinner, get the fire started then star gazer. Wake up and go for a quick climb and walk around the campgrounds.
Just about every campsite here is great. Most are nestled along the base of a huge boulders or rock cliffs. The stars are amazing. Seeing all the campfires light up the cliffs at night is magical. There are no flush toilets and no water. You also have to drive into the main area of the park for the most popular hikes, but you can’t beat the camping.
We brought a lot of water with us, but also good to stop at the ranger station and visitor center to fill up water bottles before and after the hikes. Great place to go bouldering or just climb rocks.
We camp here every November for a friends birthday and this site never gets old. Plenty of hiking around beautifully formed rock arrangements. Camp sites are dog friendly however trails are not, as this is protected State park land.
Our favorite place to camp at JT!
Indian Cove has served as the annual outing for the Sierra Club Wilderness Travel Course to teach its students land navigation. I took this course in 2016 and recommend it to anyone interested in learning how to backpack the back country or just want to feel more confident in the wilderness. The campground ihas a number of sites to choose from, although they aren't always clearly defined. There's also a few table picnic tables to use. There's no electricity and cell service was limited as I recall. There are also a number of good trails nearby.