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.
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.
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.
Browse More Classics in Elevenmile Canyon
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Elevenmile Canyon:
Featured Route For Elevenmile Canyon
I'm a huge advocate of rest days because you don't...
Jesse Mascarenas on Smoke Signals V7/8?
Top of The Staircase, Turret Dome in the backgroun...
Eleven Mile Dam at dusk. 6/19/2010.
View from the top of Arch Rock.
Looking downstream from Pine Cone Dome. What a be...
Sunset from wilderness campground outside of Eleve...
The South Platte from the Icebox. I love this Can...
Free Camping on Wagon Tongue Gulch RD at Elevenmil...
|Comments on Elevenmile Canyon
|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.
From: Glenwood Springs, CO
Sep 17, 2006
Any news on a new guidebook for Eleven Mile Canyon?
|By Mike Ben|
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!
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.
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.
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 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.
Submitted By: Ben Schmitt on May 28, 2011
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.