Grand Tank - Joshua Tree National Park

Trek Date: January 28, 2017

Grand Tank is a reservoir located near White Tank campgound. From reports I've read, it apparently holds water after any significant amount of rain in the area. I've visited several times over the years, but have never found water behind the dam wall. With all the rain the park received during the last half of January, I thought, "what the heck, I'll go check it out. Maybe there'll be water there this time." 

Cattle ranchers are most likely responsible for building the dam that creates Grand Tank. The dam is a tall, narrow structure built between two large rock formations that "pinch" together, effectively damming the wash in which it was built. There is a large area behind the dam, with numerous valley and washes that drain down through this spot.

The following images show how Grand Tank usually looks. Bone dry.

This vantage point is a good view of how Grand Tank looks most of the time. Full of dry sand, desert shrubs and with the water line clearly visible along the rocks. 

Standing a few feet away from the wall, after walking through some thick areas of tall, stickery bushes.

At the small slope rising up by the large boulder on the left, is the approximate spot where the first image above was taken.

That spot is also where the following picture was taken, after a lot of rain in the park.

Imagine my surprise when I first saw this pool, no, this lake of water. The only pictures I had seen previously with water at Grand Tank showed a small pool at the base of the dam. On this day, the water level was at the top of the dam. 

The wash running beyond the dam had a small stream running, another thing I've rarely seen in JTree.

The water level was so high, I wasn't able to find any path to get out behind the lake.

Grand Tank was my first stop of the day, which was spent checking many of the dams I know of in the park. Unfortunately, White Tank, Twin Tanks, Ivanpah and Squaw Tanks were all dry. I guess the dams must have leaks, because with the amount of rain there should have been pools behind them if they were able to hold water. Perhaps the park service maintains Grand Tank, Barker Dam and Surprise Tank, as they were all full. In any case, water at Grand Tank was a wonderful sight. Hopefully the park will be blessed with more rain to help keep the water levels high for as long as possible.

Please feel free to download and use any of my images that strike your fancy, there's no charge or fee associated with sharing these images.

By the way, this area has more than the normal quota of odd-shaped rocks, and that's saying a lot for JTree. I've named this one, The Molar.