Indian Cove is a stand-alone section of the park, located to the north of the main park and around 1000 feet lower in elevation. This, plus the fact that it is relatively sheltered, make it a good destination on cold winter days. Additionally, unlike the main park, the campsites in Indian Cove can be reserved and cost (as of Jan 2011 $15/night) -- on the other hand, there's no park entrance fee.
The rock tends to be slightly grainier than some of the other popular areas (Lost Horse, Real Hidden Valley), and many of the routes are a bit shorter. Nonetheless, there's some great climbing here, probably close to a thousand routes from 5.0 all the way up, and as a bonus most of it is within a hundred yards or so of the road, so the approaches are practically non-existent. A few less populated crags lie up on the slope of the Wonderland of Rocks (the south side of IC) or up Rattlesnake Canyon in the Wonderland.
Certain formations at Indian Cove can be overrun with gang-ropers (Feudal Wall, Short Wall, Billboard Buttress, Pixie Rock), so plan accordingly. Other great areas to check out include Moosedog Tower, Dos Equis Wall, Corral Wall, Wonder Bluffs, and more that I don't have time to list here. One general word of warning: the further north you get, the grainier and more crumbly the rocks tend to get. Grain Central Station has that name for a reason, and although Morbid Mound is relatively popular, I can't figure out why.
Campground Map as provided by the park (some editing for clarity)
Follow the 29 Palms Highway past the entrance to the main park in the town of Joshua Tree. The entrance to Indian Cove is between the towns of Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms. Keep a look out for Indian Cove Road, on the right side of the highway. If you're approaching from the west, look for a Del Taco billboard to mark the spot.
Turn south on Indian Cove Road and head straight into the park. After a couple of miles, you'll pass a small ranger station, and after another mile or so, you're there.
A hand crack start leads up to an imposing roof (5.10+) which goes at a far easier grade than appearances suggest. Once established over the lip the climbing is off-vertical, thin face with difficult smearing. The crux will be found around the vicinity of the fifth bolt with easier moves leading to the top and a bolted anchor/rap. This spectacular route is well worth the rugged thirty minute approach. Almost a sport climb, except for the crack start, but the rest of the route is protected like ...[more]Browse More Classics in CA
Indian Cove is a great place to hang out and do some toprope climbing during bad weather elsewhere in the Park. Short Wall has some fun topropes or 3rd class for getting used to the rock as a noob visitor, but can also wear down the fingertips in a very short time. The rock is particularly grainy and abrasive. Have fun sparingly here.