Dolores Canyon Rock Climbing
Dolores Canyon is a very nice, accessible canyon on BLM land that has camping, a river (sometimes), and quality Wingate sandstone rock. The climbs are 1-2 pitches in length, and the approaches are mostly short. The climbs face east or northeast, so this can be a bit chilly in the winter. This area offers seclusion in a wilderness setting.
Just south of Dove Creek on US Highway 666, there is a turn by the airport. There is a BLM sign that says "Dolores Canyon overlook." Turn down this road and take your first left by the airport, do not go to the overlook (unless you want to see the view). There may be signs to Mountain Sheep Point or the pumping station. Follow this road down into Big Canyon and the boat ramp at the pumphouse. Continue past the boat ramp to where the cliffs come closer to the road and the rock quality improves dramatically. There are several obvious buttresses, and some of them have routes on them. There are still opportunities for FAs here, too. The local ethic here is traditional (ground up). There is one particularly good buttress, just to the right of a drainage system, called Beehive Buttress.
Per ian altman
: just as you enter the township of Dove Creek on US Highway 491, look for a large brown BLM sign stating Dolores River Canyon Access. The sign is on the south side of the highway, and the road you want is directly across the highway from it on the north side of the highway. After turning onto this road, follow it for a series of marked turns that state: Dolores River Access until you drop into the main canyon.
The series of turns after you leave the highway are: 1. left, 2. right. 3.left and 4. left. After taking the last left turn, the road begins to descend towards the Dolores River by descending a side canyon called Secret Canyon. Once you reach the bottom of this descent and you first see the river, take a left and follow this road for another mile before you reach the first chunk of climbs. There is a well maintained campground about 5 miles from HWY 491 known as the Box Elder campground. There are some shorter climbs near this campground, but the bulk of the climbs are a mile or so farther in an area known as The Pump House. The Pump House access trail is marked by a cairn and is located at the far end of the buttress. This access trail will put you right at the base of the Retro Groove Wall. There are a multitude of other crags along this road, and looking for anchors is your best way to find them.
Topos from Ian Altman
DOLO topos - Pump House Crag, close up on Red Rock Simulator Wall. "Bee Hive Buttress" and the obvious arch/cave are just to the looker's right.
DOLO topos - Ten Mile Crag - 10 miles from Dove Creek, CO.
DOLO topos - The Wind Tower - FA I. Altman, K. Allinger, & J. Kelly, 1995. FFA - I. Altman, J. Hooten, 2001.
Climbing Season For the All Locations area.
Weather station 12.1 miles from here
38 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',4],['3 Stars',13],['2 Stars',14],['1 Star',6],['Bomb',0]
Classic Climbing Routes in Dolores Canyon
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Dolores Canyon
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Dolores Canyon:
Air Time 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c Sport, 1 pitch, 80'
Featured Route For Dolores Canyon
Sunday Stroll 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b CO
: Dolores Canyon
This awesome finger crack follows obvious splitter up the center of this varnished face surrounded by lime green lichen and plentiful foot holds.Follow a short corner w/ good gear placements (5.8) onto short slab section w/ a single bolt for protection (5.9). After climbing 35' up and left, join a splitter finger crack for 90 feet. The crack is mostly 1" fingers with the occasional hand pod (see gear recommendations) and climbs at mostly 5.9 and easy 5.10. Near the top, the crack slims and the f...[more] Browse More Classics in CO