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Elevenmile Canyon

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Elevenmile Canyon  

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Location: 38.9344, -105.4075 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 467,119
Administrators: Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Ben Mottinger on Sep 10, 2001  with updates from Bogs
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The canyon at dusk with some ominous looking weath...


The South Platte River flows from Elevenmile Reservoir at an elevation of about 8500 feet into the canyon, just one hour west of Colorado Springs. The granite domes are home to large number of moderate trad routes and more recently some quite moderate sport routes on the many low-angle domes. The canyon also hosts many "hardman" routes (both sport and trad) in the 5.11-5.12 range. Interestingly, there are not many routes with grades in the 5.8-10 range, but any climber will be satisfied by the fine quality routes.

Weather will be colder than most Front Range areas due to the higher elevation so the season is shorter, but it's a fine place for summer climbing on the shady side of a crag.

Bring a standard rack up to #4 Friend for trad routes. A 50m rope should suffice unless specifically mentioned otherwise.

Route development started in the '60s but the '70s marked the era of the many moderate classics, while the '80s brought about many new difficult lines of sport and trad. Major developers included: Richard Aschert, Dale Goddard, Mark Milligan, Mark Rolofson, Neil Cannon, and Bob D'Antonio (whose guidebook "Mueller St. Park/Elevenmile Canyon" from the Chockstone Press provides more historical information).

Popular rocks include: 11mi Dome, which hosts many moderate trad and sport lines from 5.4-5.10. Don't miss "South Face Direct" (5.10c sp), a fine face route. "The Overleaf" is a nice long 5.8 trad route to the summit of the dome.

Also, check out Arch Rock, Turret Dome, Pine Cone Dome, for moderate climbing. The hardperson should check out Sports Crag, Indulgence Crag, and Cove Rock.

Getting There 

From Colorado Springs (I-25) head west on US-24 through Manitou Springs, past Woodland Park, Divide, and on to Lake George. Look for a blue road sign to County Road 96 and head south for a mile to the canyon entrance. Mileage for rocks starts at this turnoff.

Pay a $5 day-use fee (State Park passes are NOT valid) and drive a few miles to the first major rock formations.

Per Bogs: as of 2014, the entrance fee is now $6 for a day pass. If you're not camping in the canyon, you can get a weekend pass for $12, $6 for the initial fee then +$3 for each additional day.


If camping at Eleven Mile Canyon, plan to arrive early! If you can't find a site go to Wagon Tongue Gulch & beyond, for no fee camping on forest land. Bring some mosquito spray.

Climbing Season

Weather station 4.2 miles from here

214 Total Routes

['4 Stars',16],['3 Stars',76],['2 Stars',101],['1 Star',20],['Bomb',1]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Elevenmile Canyon:
Schooldaze   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, 3 pitches   Turret Dome
The Staircase   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, 2 pitches   Arch Rock
Guide's Route   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 3 pitches   Turret Dome
Hollow Flake   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Arch Rock
Moby Grape   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 2 pitches   Elevenmile Dome
Roof By-Pass   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 2 pitches   Pine Cone Dome
The Overleaf   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches   Elevenmile Dome
Arch Rock Route   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches, 250'   Arch Rock
Face Value   5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Elevenmile Dome
Miss Wyoming   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 110'   Elevenmile Dome
Hemisphere   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   The Icebox
Zamboni Man   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Arch Rock
Randy Speaks Farsi   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Spray Wall
Breakfast in America   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 40'   Cove Rock
The Microfridge   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   The Icebox
Spray Direct   5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch   Spray Wall
Rapture   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 55'   Spray Wall
Spew   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Spray Wall
Only Entertainment   5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 55'   Spray Wall
Spray   5.13b/c 8a+ 29 X- 30 E7 6c     Sport, Chipped, 1 pitch, 60'   Spray Wall
Browse More Classics in Elevenmile Canyon

Featured Route For Elevenmile Canyon
Middle of the crux on Surefire.

Surefire 5.13c/d 8b 31 X 31 E8 7a  CO : South Platte : ... : Spray Wall
Start on the first two bolts of Spew and fire straight up to Rapture's anchors. One of the best and most direct lines on the wall. I don't know if I officially have the FA or not. Either way it is a great route that I know will get a lot of traffic. No clue on the grade either 13c or d other sends will tell....[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Photos of Elevenmile Canyon Slideshow Add Photo
I'm a huge advocate of rest days because you don't...
I'm a huge advocate of rest days because you don't...
Free Camping on Wagon Tongue Gulch RD at Elevenmil...
Free Camping on Wagon Tongue Gulch RD at Elevenmil...
Sunset from wilderness campground outside of Eleve...
Sunset from wilderness campground outside of Eleve...
Jesse Mascarenas on Smoke Signals V7/8?
Jesse Mascarenas on Smoke Signals V7/8?
Looking downstream from Pine Cone Dome.  What a be...
Looking downstream from Pine Cone Dome. What a be...
Top of The Staircase, Turret Dome in the backgroun...
Top of The Staircase, Turret Dome in the backgroun...
The South Platte from the Icebox.  I love this Can...
The South Platte from the Icebox. I love this Can...
Eleven Mile Dam at dusk. 6/19/2010.
Eleven Mile Dam at dusk. 6/19/2010.

Comments on Elevenmile Canyon Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 25, 2011
By Anonymous Coward
Nov 10, 2001
For easy moderate trad stuff, go onto turret dome just about anywhere and have fun. The Staircase (5.5) on Arch Rock is listed everywhere as a classic, and I heartedly agree - numerous, "bomber" nut placements throughout the climb.
By Sean O'Dell
Mar 6, 2002
Turret dome is a phenomenal rock. The "Guide's Route" follows an obvious wide crack system up the south face and is a great moderate trad route. The first 2 pitches are real clean with plenty of good placement opportunities. Pitch 3 (or sometimes pitches 3 and 4, depending on how much rope drag you can deal with) is where the crack system runs out and the route to the summit goes either over or beteen a row of funky boulders. I don't really know what the "actual" route is on this pitch, but it doesn't really matter. Pick a line that's protectable and do it. The only downer for this rock is the downclimb off the back - 5.4 ish in places; don't take the ol' rock shoes off at the top. For the sport-minded, to the left (west-ish) of the start of Guides are 4 excellent bolted lines in the 5.7-5.9 category. The approach from Guides on around is a bit of a scramble, but totally worth the effort as these routes are each solid and one of the best places I know to hone your slab technique.
By Scott Edwards
Nov 29, 2002
Looking for any information on new route development in Elevenmile Canyon. I've noticed and climbed some bolted routes near Pine Cone Dome that I can't find any information about. Also, looking for a "long-time local" partner for Colorado Springs areas.
By John McNamee
From: Littleton, CO
Mar 16, 2003
Climbed in Elevenmile Canyon yesterday for the first time. It's a great area with a wealth of good climbing and only an easy two hours from Denver. Conditions are good in the sun, especially south-facing and west-facing aspects. Some of the cracks and dihedrals have snow and ice in them, so it's best to give them another week or so. Bring a pad and a rope bag for the bottom of the routes to keep your shoes and gear clean.
By Anonymous Coward
Apr 12, 2003
Warning! Tick Season is here. There has been at least one case of Lyme disease reported this spring from Elevenmile Canyon ( a dog ). My daughter who is 2 1/2 got a bit by a tick a few weeks ago. I am pretty sure she picked it up the day we climbed in the Canyon. Inspect yourself, kids, dogs etc. If you get one, Web MD has some good info on how to remove them and how to identify which type of tick it is. Be Careful.Scott Dooley
By Russ Holcomb
May 19, 2003
Climbed in Elevenmile for the first time this weekend. Good quality moderates abound. Great place to take a novice or beginning leader. The camping is very limited and quickly fills up with fisherman on the weekend. A mid week trip would be great. The fishing is world class as well.
By Kyle Martin
May 30, 2003
If you go to 11 mile I would definitely recomend a 60 or 70 meter rope if you plan to do either 11mile Dome or Turret Dome. Also, if you are using the book "Classic Rock Climbs: Mueller State Park and Elevenmile Canyon" take the rating with a grain of salt.

Finally, if you are looking for climbs in the 5.8-5.10 range, there are some great sport routes on 11mile Dome and Arch Rock.
By Jim Gloeckler
From: Denver, Colo.
Jun 5, 2005
Anyone know what the climbs are about 3 miles in right next to the river are called or rated? We did the two on the left, and both seemed about 5.7 or something like that. I think there are 2 more just to the right, but I saw no anchors on these. They look to be about 5.8, any info??
By Larry Shaw
Jul 28, 2005
Is there a tentative date for release of the new guide book? I'm interested in purchasing a copy.
By coop
From: Glenwood Springs, CO
Sep 17, 2006
Any news on a new guidebook for Eleven Mile Canyon?
By Mike Ben
From: silverthorne/denver
Oct 17, 2006
Anyone know anything about a bunch of anchors on top of the rock ridge 1-2 miles up Wagon Tongue Road? I was scrambling around back there and found them. They weren't there a few years ago. There were about five sets, and one had another bolt below but looked useless. They were way back from the edge and above blank overhanging walls above the cave in the middle. My guess is that they are either for teaching people to rappel or hard ass toprope climbs (probably not).
By Buff Johnson
Oct 17, 2006
The anchors have got to be for rap practice. I'd pay good money to see someone go and free that wall, no freakin' way.

Although, there looks to be a dihedral slot more toward the camping area that looked doable ending in an OW; but I always seemed to be drunk looking at it during the sunset, and I just decided: beer/climb? beer/climb?? beer/climb??? ah - beer.

You know there also looked to be a fair sized slab on the back end side that might be cool; but then again, I was always drinking when I walk up there.
By Stewart M. Green
Jul 15, 2008
Finally...after four years of collecting info on new routes and putting up lots of new routes, Bob D'Antonio and I will be publishing a new guidebook to Elevenmile Canyon. New routes. New cliffs. New fun. Hopefully it will be ready for sale by early September. I'll keep everyone who has been waiting for this new book aware of the publication date as it gets closer!
By JK1
From: Lakewood, CO
Jul 25, 2008
I will be in the Elevenmile Canyon area on July 29th and 30th. I would love to do some routes with someone. I lead up to 5.9 bolted and dabbling in the 5.7 trad lead. I am a safe and competent belayer and climber. The staircase is a route I would love to do as it has been a couple of years since I last did this route. Thank you for the new guidebook as this is one of my favorite areas to climb and have noticed the rapid growth of new routes.
By Olivia
From: Colorado Springs
Sep 22, 2008
I am new to Colorado and I am probably going to be in 11 mile canyon Thur or Fri. I was wondering if there was any bouldering there, also if anyone would be interested in a climbing partner.
By Stich
From: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Jun 29, 2010
Elevenmile Canyon is no longer listed on Reserve America. Any beta on how one might now make camping reservations there?
By crankenstein
Jun 29, 2010
By Donna M.
Aug 29, 2010
I'm planning a trip to Elevenmile and don't have a guidebook. Can someone suggest some good routes in the 5.8-5.9 range (sport) or 5.6-5.8 range (trad)?
By Buff Johnson
Aug 30, 2010
Elevenmile Dome, Arch Rock, & Pine Cone have good slab climbing sport and fun trad with great protection opportunities. I list these three as it's what I usually hit on a weekender of moderates. Turret Dome and others have gems as well. It's difficult to actually go wrong in this canyon.

A 70m is good to have, though not everything needs this. Personal favorite trad is Roof Bypass on Pine Cone, good continuous technical hands; Jolly Jugular is fun, Staircase is also; Moby Grape, Arch Rock Route, etc etc etc (take a #5 on the Overleaf, just my opinion though).

I think Stewart's new Colorado book is really good to have also.
By Ben Schmitt
May 28, 2011
Attention all Elevenmile Climbers! The new Elevenmile guidebook is done! It will be available on amazon.com in about six weeks for $20.00, or you can contact me and I will get you a copy. I am currently waiting on a shipment that will be here in about two weeks, so P.M. then and I'll hook you up!

New Elevenmile Guidebook.
New Elevenmile Guidebook.
By Asatrur
Jun 28, 2011
Does anyone know if you can still drive up FS 393 from the canyon to camp? It looks like you can, but I am looking for first hand knowledge.
By Ben Schmitt
Jul 25, 2011
Check out Darryl's shout out to Eleven-mile canyon, as well as a magnitude of other interesting articles and videos of climbing! Eleven mile is one of the best summer areas, so take a look!

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