Climbing at Eldorado Canyon State Park, Colorado

Eldorado Canyon State Park, or Eldo as most climbers call it, is one of the historic centers of American rock climbing and attracts climbers from all over the world. It is also our backyard. The soaring sandstone walls are decorated with countless classic climbs and lesser known gems.

Climbing in Eldorado Canyon

Along with Rocky Mountain National Park, Eldorado is one of the areas where Colorado Mountain School guides spend the most time, and we know Eldo like no other guide service. One of our guides literally wrote the book on Eldo. Others also have spent decades climbing here, exploring the myriad walls and climbs of the canyon, and in some cases even putting up new routes and variations.

Eldorado Canyon

Shirt Tail Peak, Wind Tower, Rincon Wall, The Bastille, Redgarden Wall and a half dozen other crags hold over 1200 routes and many more variations.  Classics include routes from beginner terrain toexperts-only test pieces, with the highest concentration of climbs in the middle grades. Most routes are festooned with holds as the granite hard sandstone here is abundantly featured. From crimps to slopers, underclings, sidepulls, jams and gastons – Eldorado’s walls seem to feature every type of hold and to be custom made for climbing.

Rock Climbing in Eldorado Canyon

The sandstone (and quartzite) of Eldorado can be climbed year round. While winter can bring snow storms to the canyon, a sunny, calm January day will see climbers in t-shirts high on the red walls, enjoying some of the best climbing movement anywhere. I’ve climbed at dozens of climbing areas in nearly 20 of the U.S. states and a smattering of countries on 5 continents and I still believe that Eldo has some of the best climbing anywhere. Which is why, I call it home.

Recommending routes here is easy, as there are so many great ones to choose from. And yet I’m hesitant to do so; until I know who is asking the question. Are you looking for single pitch climbs or multi-pitch adventures? Pushing your limits or a pleasure cruise? A climb right by the road, or a more remote outing with a longer approach? Overhangs, face climbs, slabs, cracks, traverses, arêtes? Eldorado has all of that. Here you can find a sheltered nook for a relaxing and sociable afternoon of top-roping or the heart pounding thrill of a massively exposed pitch thrust high into the cobalt blue Colorado sky.

Mark Hammond on top of the world in Eldorado Canyon

While South Boulder Creek tumbles through the boulders below, and the swallows, swifts and falcons wheel overhead, keep your eyes open for more exotic wildlife or a sighting of the snow-capped mountains to the west. Whenever you visit and whatever route you climb, let the magic of the canyon flow into you, as it has enchanted a veritable who’s who of climbers for generations.

Mark Hammond

Mark Hammond
AMGA Certified Rock Guide
CMS Head Guide and Senior Guide