Sheep Pass Group Campground is centrally located within Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California and is easily accessible to hiking trails and rock climbing routes. It is one of three group campgrounds in the park. Towering rock formations and uniquely-shaped Joshua trees surround the facility. Travelers who enjoy warm, dry winters flock to Joshua Tree from October through May, when temperatures hover in the 70 to 90-degree range during the day and drop to a 40 to 60-degree range at night. Summer is the parks off-season due to the uncomfortably-high desert heat. Sheep Pass is at an elevation of 4,500 feet and has a mix of both sun and shade. Natural Features: The distinctive shape of Joshua trees and the huge rocks that surround them draw tourists and scientists alike to the national park.Joshua trees are a member of the yucca family that have long evergreen leaves, shaggy bark and bunches of white flowers that bloom in spring. 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 in the morning and evening sunlight and glow with campfire light at night. Visitors may want to keep their eyes out for typical desert inhabitants such as lizards, rattlesnakes, scorpions, ravens, squirrels, coyotes 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. Recreation: Sheep Pass is very close to many hiking trails, popular rock climbing routes and a central location for sightseeing within the park. Facilities: There are six group sites within the campground. Electrical hookups and drinking water are not provided. ACTIVITIES Climbing: Rock Climbing Hiking Picnicking: Picnic Tables
I brought my brother and his family here for a quick overnight in order to enjoy the park. Unfortunately we went in early November and the desert winds were brutal with little natural shelter available. While we were near the famous Skull Rock and the boulders offered some fun scrambling, this site is far from some of the better trails. Our site did have a fire pit and a picnic table, and was far enough from the other sites to have an illusion of privacy.
One of my complaints about JTree camping is usually that the sites all fill up so quickly and it's hard to be guaranteed a spot. That's what nicer about the group camp sites! Sheep Pass campground is one of three group sites in JTree (along with Cottonwood and Indian Cove), all of which can be reserved online ahead of time. You just have to have a group with a minimum of 10 people.
This campground has 6 individual sites, and host large groups pretty comfortably. It's great for our group climbing trips, when we actually make plans far enough in advance. See here for all rock climbing info for the immediate area.
FYI, this campground gets its name because there actually can be big horn sheep spotted in JTree! Though we have yet to see any on our trips…
As with all campgrounds in JTree, remember that there is no potable water available here. For large groups, that means you need to be packing A LOT of water for drinking/cooking for the duration of your stay.
Group sites at sheep pass allow you to have up to 10 vehicles. Not too far from good climbing and relatively easy access if you're interested in checking out Keyes View at Sunset. Close to Ryan Mountain trail, which has some epic views. Bring all your own water and firewood (we've ordered massive wood dropoffs from town) as none are available in the park. Heads up that unlike much of the park, this entire campground is reservation only. Super pretty, but requires some planning. Other groups can be loud, wouldn't be a bad idea to bring ear plugs. One issue we had this spring was that all tents were supposed to be within 50 feet (I believe) to the fire ring, but during the intense winds that weekend it would not have been safe to have tents anywhere close to 50 feet from the fire ring since wind swept massive embers downwind. So we were disappointed to be cited by rangers for being too far from the fire pit. Okay- that gripe out of the way- this is a solid spot.
New Years excursion.
Reserved this site for 50 people and it did not disappoint. Be sure to pack as many people into cars as possible. Not too many parking spaces on site…
Nice space with plenty of flat areas to setup tents.
large fire pit and plenty of rocks to scramble up. No bolted routes in this spot but there are areas to climb near by.
beware of the wash running through the site. If you're anticipating rain, set up camp on the higher ground.
No showers but there are out toilets on site.
I stayed here with a small group for one night and it was very lovely. The sites are nestled among the rocks so it actually feels like you're in nature. You can really spread out and have tents all over the place. It is not super clear where one site ends and another begins - but this is not a problem. In fact I think there was a couple who stayed on "our land" but they were behind some rocks so it was totally fine. We were only able to snag this site for our first night - wish we could have stayed the whole weekend!