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Castle Valley

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Castleton Tower 
Convent, The 
Nuns, The 
Parriot Mesa 
Priest, The 
Rectory, The 
Sister Superior Group 
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From MP's sister site: MTB Project

Castle Valley  

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Location: 38.6836, -109.4227 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: slim, Andrew Gram, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Ben F on May 12, 2002
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BETA PHOTO: Aerial view of Castleton Tower, the Rectory, and t...


Castle Valley is the place to go for your baptism into desert towers. This area is one of the birthplaces of tower climbing. Maybe you've heard of the Kor-Ingalls Route, listed on the 50 North American Classic climbs? Other climbs that should be done before you become too old and fat to climb are Honeymoon Chimney, Jah Man, and Fine Jade.

Overall, the rock is as good as desert sandstone (Wingate) gets, but beware of the slippery white calcite coatings found on much of the rock here. Most routes start at honest 5.9.

Getting There 

These directions are from Moab. Basically, the turn-off for Castle Valley is about 20 miles NE of Moab off SH 128 (River Road). Look for the sign for Castle Valley. To do anything on the Priest, Rectory, or Castleton Tower, take the Castle Valley turn-off (see here for a photo)

Go about 4.7 miles on the Castle Valley road, and then turn left on a noticeable dirt road. Go until you can't anymore.

For Sister Superior, go about another mile up 128 (i.e., not taking the Castle Valley turn-off) and look for a dirt road (obviously on the right since the left will send you towards the Colorado River). See here for a photo of the turnout, which may also be seen from above here.

Hey, just look for stuff and figure out how to get there. Its not like there are tons of trees blocking your view. In both cases be prepared to walk. Look for climbers trails as much as possible to avoid trampling any cryptobiotic soil.

Climbing Season

Weather station 2.6 miles from here

45 Total Routes

['4 Stars',12],['3 Stars',21],['2 Stars',6],['1 Star',6],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Castle Valley:
North Chimney   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 4 pitches   Castleton Tower
Longbow Chimney   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c A1     Trad, Aid, 2 pitches, 300'   Parriot Mesa
Kor-Ingalls Route   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 4 pitches   Castleton Tower
Black Sun   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 4 pitches, 350'   Castleton Tower
Jah Man   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 5 pitches   Sister Superior Group
Ascended Yoga Masters   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b A0 R     Trad, Aid, 5 pitches, 450'   Parriot Mesa
Ministry   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 5 pitches, 400'   The Rectory
Honeymoon Chimney   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 4 pitches   The Priest
Fine Jade   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 5 pitches   The Rectory
West Face   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 4 pitches, 350'   Castleton Tower
Crack Wars   5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, 4 pitches, 400'   The Rectory
North Face Original Pitch 1   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 130'   Castleton Tower
North Face   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, Grade III   Castleton Tower
Where have the Wild Things Gone   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, 3 pitches   The Nuns
Holier Than Thou   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, Sport, 2 pitches, 350'   The Nuns
Bad Habit   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, 2 pitches, 250'   The Nuns
Coyote Calling   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a     Trad, 4 pitches, 350'   The Rectory
Hollowpoint   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 140'   Castleton Tower
Sacred Ground   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Trad   Castleton Tower
Excommunication   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Trad, Sport, 5 pitches, 380'   The Priest
Browse More Classics in Castle Valley

Featured Route For Castle Valley
Dave Vaughn at beginning of P1.

Holier Than Thou 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a  UT : Moab Area : ... : The Nuns
Hard sport climbing up a dead vertical face using pinches, underclings, and pulls on delicate stalactites and knobs... exactly what you'd expect from a Castle Valley tower route, right? Holier than Thou climbs the beautiful, calcite-covered east face of the Nuns and is perhaps a welcome departure from the grunt fest of the nearby Honeymoon Chimney.P1: 11 bolts to a two bolt belay. Jay Smith did a fantastic job bolting this line. The climbing is hard and in-your-face and the placements are spa...[more]   Browse More Classics in UT

Photos of Castle Valley Slideshow Add Photo
hey, lets go do the kor-ingalls!
hey, lets go do the kor-ingalls!
Castle Valley Twilight
BETA PHOTO: Castle Valley Twilight
The Priest, the Rectory, and Castleton Tower.
The Priest, the Rectory, and Castleton Tower.
Castleton and the Rectory
Castleton and the Rectory
july sunrise lightning
july sunrise lightning
Castle Valley
Castle Valley
The Castleton massif
The Castleton massif
Castleton and company from the Fisher Towers. Janu...
Castleton and company from the Fisher Towers. Janu...
Storm over Castle Valley
Storm over Castle Valley
Porcupine Rim rockfall
Porcupine Rim rockfall
Castleton, the Rectory, and the Pope after spring ...
Castleton, the Rectory, and the Pope after spring ...
Castle Valley sky from Castleton campground
Castle Valley sky from Castleton campground
N. Chimney success.  finally.
N. Chimney success. finally.
From the Convent, looking North
From the Convent, looking North
Sunset 10/13/06
Sunset 10/13/06
Castle Valley. Photo by Blitzo.
Castle Valley. Photo by Blitzo.
Castle Valley from the La Sals. A beautiful perspe...
Castle Valley from the La Sals. A beautiful perspe...
Castle Valley from Mount Tukuhnikivats(12,482)
Castle Valley from Mount Tukuhnikivats(12,482)
Around 7PM, looking back into the valley from comi...
Around 7PM, looking back into the valley from comi...
Yucca flowers standing tall with the Castle Valley...
Yucca flowers standing tall with the Castle Valley...
Another rockfall on Porcupine Rim (in cloud shadow...
Another rockfall on Porcupine Rim (in cloud shadow...
Sunrise on The Rectory. March 2012,
Sunrise on The Rectory. March 2012,
Castleton Tower in clounds
Castleton Tower in clounds
word around the campfire was that some local hard ...
word around the campfire was that some local hard ...

Show All 54 Photos

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Comments on Castle Valley Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 3, 2015
By Anonymous Coward
Jan 2, 2002
Access to Castleton is restricted by private property now. You need to look for a rough road to the west of the old turn-out and the approach is much longer. If we continue to use the old appraoch we run the risk of pissing off the locals and loosing all access.
By Anonymous Coward
Jan 7, 2002
could you elaborate, please? What is the private property/access situation exactly, and how long has it been in effect? I didn't notice any no trespassing signs last time I was there, and the sign at the trailhead was still up (in November). Is there a trail from the parking area you suggest? How about better directions? Has there been anything about this in the mags?
By Anonymous Coward
Feb 8, 2003
As some of the may know, the access lands and camping areas around Castleton Tower are currently threatened by development. In order to prevent this from happening, the Castle Rock Collaboration (castlerockcollaboration.org) was formed with the goal of finding a 100% conservation solution for this land. They have entered into an agreement to purchase the land around Castleton Tower, but now they need your help to raise the funds for this purchase. Any contributions you can make, however large or small, will be greatly appreciated. For more information, please visit their web site at: castlerockcollaboration.org
By E.T.
Jul 7, 2003
I'm not familar with this site so pardon the stupid question.

Is there a standard, or convention on cams for route beta? ex: when route beta says you need a #4 cam do they mean the rather large BD cam. or the rather small Trango cam?
By Andrew Gram
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jul 7, 2003
There isn't really a standard, but usually it seems that when vague you can assume camalots.
By Craig Quincy
Jul 16, 2003
There's no standard on the site. When the type of cam isn't listed, I always assume friends since they've been around the longest and they correspond roughly to inches. A #3 Friend tips out at 3 inches. Most guide books use the friend convention too. Sometimes it's possible to figure it all out based on the type of crack under discussion. #4 cam in an offwidth discussion ususally means Camalot. #4 cam in a fist crack reference usually means Friend. It gets even more interesting when people specify the color of cams that you aren't familiar with. "Bring lots of yellow cams". The supertopo website has an excellent cam conversion chart which is helpful in matching up your rack to the beta. Regardless, I usually fatten up my rack with a few purchases and then steal my friend's rack before heading out. Then, I survey the cracks and make my own decisions before starting up.
By E.T.
Sep 10, 2003
From personal expierance castle valley is nearly unclimbable in the summer. Also it is well worth your time to find and stay on the trail. Bushwaching it is very hard and dangerous. Finally if you are bold/dumb enought to attempt it in the summer plan 1.5 gallons/person per day.
By Derek (friendly east coast climber)
Oct 14, 2003
Just wondering, i am from the east coast and plan on climbing Castleton Tower on my spring break; are there any updated guides or topos that might cover access with respect to the current issues with Castle Valley? If not where is the Castle Valley climber's campground located? ThanksDerek
By Leo Paik
From: Westminster, Colorado
Apr 26, 2006
For the apres-climb time, there is a terrific little winery with wine tasting just downstream along the River Road. Castle Creek Winery at Mile 14, Hwy 128 in the Red Cliffs Lodge. Reasonable prices. Chardonnay & the Merlot are particularly enjoyable.
By Lyndsy
From: Laramie, WY
Mar 7, 2010
My partner and I are headed down from WY in a couple weeks to Southern Utah we would love to jump on Castleton which we have never done, any advice? I have heard its best to park at the bottom of the rough road and start hiking at dawn to not have to wait in line...is that true? Any comments or tips would be great!
Happy Climbing!
By Brian Scoggins
From: Boise, ID
Mar 7, 2010
I drove down from Laramie years ago and got to the parking lot around 10pm. If its warm enough (you'll know if it is), its worthwhile to toss the sleeping bag in your pack and hike up to the base. The trail isn't difficult to find, and depending on the condition of the final 1/4 mile, it might make the trail's exposure easier to deal with. We made it to the base just after midnight, so we still got a solid 5-6 hours sleep before starting up the next day. There were some rock structures present to help block the wind as well, and since you're packing two ropes anyway, you can just lay out the tarp and sleep on them, old school mountaineer style. Plus, the ridge to the west blocks all the light from Moab, so you get a sky so dark that I could actually see color in the Milky Way.

Also, if you elect to do Kor-Ingalls, fight your Vedauwoo instincts. Climbed as a regular offwidth, it ain't 5.9.
By fossana
From: Sin City & Bishop
Mar 12, 2012
Newish pit toilet in the campground below Castleton. Many thanks to Friends of Indian Creek. Please show your support with a donation.
By Gee Double
3 days ago
Anybody mind if I look for a new route b/t Ministry and Crack Wars ? Thin Flake to 'blank' head wall ?
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