The Pikes Peak region offers some of the best and most varied types of climbing in the country all within an hour or so drive from Colorado Springs. Within the city limits of Colorado Springs, there are four climbing areas managed by the parks department, Garden of the Gods, Red Rock Canyon openspace, Cheyenne Canon and Ute Valley Park. All of the parks in the city offer different types of climbing from Sport to Traditional with a bit of Boudering. With a short 1 hour drive, the visiting climber can reach the world class sport climbing of Shelf Road to the south or the traditional multi-pitch alpine granite spires on Pikes Peak! The climbing in and around the Pikes Peak region can be accessed year round with Spring and Fall being the best time to hit any of the areas. Summertime on the Peak cannot be matched with its beautiful alpine meadows below the bullet hard alpine granite. Warm winter days at Shelf Road offer perfect sending temps for the climber chasing the hard sport climbs there.
Before You Get Started
City Parks - Every climber will need to fill out the yearly permit to climb in any of the parks. The permits can be found online here >>
Your permit will have a number that you need to be able to show if you are approached by a ranger. All of the city parks have managed anchor replacement processes, no new route development or fixed hardware are allowed without following the proper procedures. More information can be found by contacting the Pikes Peak Climbers Alliance.
The alpine climbing on Pikes Peak can be accessed by hiking the Barr Trail a no cost or by the highway with a $15 per person charge. The road to the top is paved the whole way but does have rules regulating entry and exit times and emergency weather procedures. More info can be found here >>
Shelf road is on BLM property and is free for day use, car camping can be had the the Bank or Sand Gulch campgrounds.
Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics for Rock Climbing
Plan Ahead And Prepare
- Know the regulations and special concerns for the area where you plan to climb.
- Prepare for extreme weather, hazards and emergencies.
- Schedule your climbing to avoid times of high use.
- If you are climbing with a group, communicate your expectations.
- Bring the appropriate equipment for the route(s) you intend to climb.
- Acquire the necessary technical skills including first aid knowledge.
- Check local regulations and ethics regarding the installations and use of fixed protection.
Travel and Camp on Safe, Durable Surfaces
- Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock gravel, dry grasses or snow.
- Always use durable roads and trails to access climbing routes.
- When unpacking gear at crags, choose a durable location for your staging and belay areas.
- Use existing anchors when available.
- Protect water sources by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
- Good camp sites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
Dispose of Waste Properly
- Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your camping and climbing areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food, tape and litter.
- Carry out abandoned or forgotten gear and webbing.
- Minimize the use of chalk when possible. Keep chalk bags closed when not in use to minimize spills.
- Consider packing out solid human waste using an approved method.
- If allowed, deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
- Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
Leave What You Find
- Preserve the past: observe, but do not touch, cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
- Leave rocks, plants, and other natural objects as you find them.
- Avoid developing new routes near archaeological or historical sites, or critical wildlife habitat.
- Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
- Do not build structures, furniture or dig trenches.
Minimize Campfire Impacts
- Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Consider using a lightweight stove for cooking and bring a headlamp for light.
- Where fire are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
- Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
- Don't bring firewood with you. It may be contaminated with tree killing insects or diseases. Instead, buy local wood near your destination or gather it upon your arrival.
- Burn all wood to coals and ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
- Learn about seasonal route closures and be prepared to back off a route if you disturb wildlife.
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach wildlife.
- Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
- If bringing dogs to crags, ensure they're under control or consider leaving them at home.
- Avoid wildlife during sensitive times. Mating, nesting, raising young or winter.
Be Considerate of Other Visitors
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Larger groups should try not to monopolize popular climbing routes, especially during times of high use.
- Maintain a cooperative spirit by being courteous to other users on the trails and at crags.
- Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises unless necessary for communicating with your climbing partner(s).
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles are reprinted with the permission of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. For more information, visit www.LNT.org.
The gear needed for climbing in the area is a standard rack, 12 to 15 quickdraws and 2 60 meter ropes. Many of the climbs can be done with less but this will get you up 90% of the climbing in the area.
Where to Go
1805 N 30th St, Colorado Springs, CO 80904
Garden of the Gods Park is a registered National Natural Landmark. Imagine dramatic views, 300′ towering sandstone rock formations against a backdrop of snow-capped Pikes Peak and brilliant blue skies. This world-class Visitor & Nature Center and museum is the most visited attraction in the region with all new interactive exhibits. Learn how the amazing […]
3550 W High St, Colorado Springs, CO 80904
Red Rock Canyon Open Space is one of the best local hiking spots for families with small kids all the way to the serious hiker. Located between Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs, this canyon provides picturesque views of Garden of the Gods and Colorado Springs. The canyon houses a system of trails with a variety […]