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Franklin Gorge

Select Route:
A Moment of Clarity 
Aloha (Bircham's Other) 
Anchors Away 
Barnacle Bill 
Barney Rubble 
Belly of the Whale 
Bends, The 
Bircham's Beach 
Bird of Prey 
Black Magic 
Blood, Sweat and Chalk 
Break the Chain 
Davey Jones' Locker 
Decompression Sickness 
Dig Dog Dig 
Early Retirement 
Eddie's 10b Roof 
First Aid 
Gray Matter 
Hidden Treasure 
Jump Start 
Kelvin Roof (?) 
Last Laugh, The 
Lost Planet Airman 
Lunar Debris 
Mostly Harmless 
Potential Energy 
Raised by Sasquatch 
Rock Your World 
Squeal Like a Pig 
Sticks and Stones 
Super Amazing Sea Monkeys 
Sweet Dreams 
Unknown 5.10c (Roadside) 
Unnamed RB 1  
Unnamed RB 2 
Van Idle Route 1 
Van Idle Route 2 
Walk the Plank 
Wild, Wild West 
Wish I Were a Fisherman 
Wish I Were a Golfer 

Rest Day:
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From MP's sister site: MTB Project

Franklin Gorge 

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Location: 38.66451, -79.3243 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 20,425
Administrators: Ladd Raine, Shawn Heath, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Ladd Raine on May 17, 2007
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You & This Area
Best routes for YOU in this area Add Route | Add Photo | Add Comment | Add Event
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Early morning sunrise outside of Franklin, WV. Pho...


Access Senstive!! Be repectful to environment, neightboors, locals and remember Guideline #1.
Do not camp at Franklin. Not in your car. Not anywhere.

Pockets, Jugs, Rails, Overhanging jugs hauls, Moderate classics and many other awesome things about Franklin are frequently overlooked by everyone in the climbing world except for locals.

Great collection of sports routes here that folks generally use as a local crag, not neccesarily a destination.

Many locals use Franklin's cliff as a trainging ground for the challenging vertical cliffs of the New River Gorge (3-4 hours away).

A good guidebook doesn't exist for this area, so onsight!!
For those who don't like onsighting... Online Guide Here isn't exactly the best guidebook, filled with errors, but it is better than nothing.

Yay, my first clean 5.10 TR was here!! 7-05

Getting There 

From Harrisonburg, VA the distance is about 41 miles, driving time is just over an hour.
To reach Franklin: Drive west on Rte 33, through Rawley Springs, into the National Forest and over Shenandoah Mountain, with great views all along the way (about 15 miles to the top of Shenandoah Mtn from Harrisonburg).

Stay on Rte 33 through the small town of Brandywine, making a right turn before passing over a bridge on the way out of town. Watch for deer along this stretch of road near sunset.

Pass through Oak Flats to climb over the next mountain and descend into Franklin, past a welding shop and State Police Headquarters. The Roadside Crag lies along this stretch of road, as well, directly across from Delta Road 31.

2.8 miles after the State Police HQ, slow down as you approach the obvious bridge over the South Fork of the Potomac River, with Kemper's Store on your right. Please patronize this local business, whose owners have always been welcoming to climbers of all types.

Between Kemper's entrance and the bridge is 5|11 River Gap Road (dirt). Turn right. Maximum speed on this road should be about 10 mph- it is narrow and rough, and large 4x4s can appear from the opposite direction.

Follow dirt road to obvious parking, exactly one half mile in. Park in consideration of other parties and traffic. Please do not block the gate going up the mountain, or your car may be towed.

To reach the new trail, new bouldering, and upper walls: Hike up the log/stone steps leading to the "Parking Lot Wall" (Look for pink ribbon tied around a large tree about 8'off the ground.). Head right from here along the new (and still improving) trail. For the River's Bend crags, park as you would for anything else, then hike downstream to where the road ends and continue along the riverbank for another 2/10s of a mile. Coming from Seneca, the Franklin Gorge turn off is one mile east of the town of Franklin on Route 33.

Information retreived via RC.com

54 Total Routes

['4 Stars',6],['3 Stars',29],['2 Stars',17],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Franklin Gorge:
Aloha (Bircham's Other)   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     Sport, 80'   
Castaways   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 30'   
Lunar Debris   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     Sport, 40'   
Shipwrecked   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   
Jump Start   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     Sport, 30'   
Blood, Sweat and Chalk   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     Sport, 70'   
Anchors Away   5.9+ 5c 17 VI E1 5a PG13     Sport, 35'   
The Last Laugh   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a R     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   
Squeal Like a Pig   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     Sport, 70'   
Aqualung   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     Sport, 65'   
Bircham's Beach   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     Sport, 70'   
Potential Energy   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- E2 5b     Sport, 60'   
Edge-u-cation    5.10c 6b 20 VII E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 35'   
Rock Your World   5.10c 6b 20 VII E2 5b PG13     Sport, 1 pitch, 45'   
Decompression Sickness   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 85'   
Super Amazing Sea Monkeys   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b     Sport, 30'   
A Moment of Clarity   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ E3 5c     Sport, 50'   
Barnacle Bill   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- E3 5c     Sport, 80'   
Dynosaurus   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   
Davey Jones' Locker   5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ E5 6a PG13     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
Browse More Classics in Franklin Gorge

Featured Route For Franklin Gorge
Heather Sudlow bearing down on some crimps at the start of Edge-u-cation. Belay and Photo by Greg Sudlow.

Edge-u-cation 5.10c 6b 20 VII E2 5b  WV : Franklin Gorge
Despite the long approach and the route’s short height, Edge-u-cation is one of the most unique and best climbs at Franklin. For slab lovers a must do. Follow narrow crack past first bolt then traverse right and move up slab on good crimps to anchors above. ...[more]   Browse More Classics in WV

Photos of Franklin Gorge Slideshow Add Photo
super fun 5.7
super fun 5.7
View looking out over Franklin Gorge.
View looking out over Franklin Gorge.
TR'ing on Barnacle Bill--a Franklin super-classic! (5.11a)
TR'ing on Barnacle Bill--a Franklin super-classic!...
5.11a - Walk the Plank - Right before the roof...and crux.
5.11a - Walk the Plank - Right before the roof...a...
Leading Shipwrecked (5.9-moderate) on Franlin's Impact Zone.
Leading Shipwrecked (5.9-moderate) on Franlin's Im...
View from the top of Franklin Gorge
View from the top of Franklin Gorge
Hidden Treasure (5.11c) -- a nice climb just next to Shipwrecked. The 11c rating is mostly due to the cruxy finish.
Hidden Treasure (5.11c) -- a nice climb just next ...
Summer time in Franklin
Summer time in Franklin
Crux move on a 5.9 up at franklin. It felt like 5.5 up to here and then a few 5.9 moves.
Crux move on a 5.9 up at franklin. It felt like 5....
5.11b - Barnacle Bill - Just the beginning.
5.11b - Barnacle Bill - Just the beginning.
5.6 section of the 5.9
5.6 section of the 5.9
Red buds in bloom. Franklin Gorge - River's Bend early spring. Photo by Josh Davidson.
Red buds in bloom. Franklin Gorge - River's Bend e...
Comments on Franklin Gorge Add Comment
Show which comments
By Jesse Coburn
From: Manchester, NH
May 18, 2008

Im going to be in this area this summer and i need some info on what and where to climb cause i dont onsight 13. Anyone know where i could get ahold of this info?

By Jesse Morehouse
From: CO
Jun 22, 2008

While not a destination, it is great limestone climbing if you are in the area you should go. There is a lower band of limestone with sandstone on top. Most routes have a mix of the 2 rock types.

Id hesitate to do any gear routes here. Eddie Begoone, a serious hardman and no wuss on poor gear related a story once about taking a modest fall on a perfect #1 camalot and having it pull at Franklin. I think he abstained from gear routes after that when at this crag.

By Brian Adzima
From: the Paris of Appalachia
Mar 12, 2009

Probably pertinent,


By Ronin
From: Petersburg, WV
Sep 29, 2009

All routes have now been restored with new bolts and hangers to replace the junk hardware used in some of the original installations. New routes have gone up and the trail is in better condition than ever, with a new set of stone and mortar steps (courtesy of Eubanks Renovation's Ryan Eubanks and the NoVa/D.C. Crew and with a little help from yours truly), new trails around Blood Sweat and Chalk (thanks to Amber Childress and Whitney Moss), and an increased police presence in the parking lot to prevent local partying from reaching such destructive levels.

It's fall,kids... the best time of all to enjoy Franklin. Come on down and enjoy!

By billyjacks
From: Las Vegas, NV
Apr 22, 2010

where can we stay if we cant camp there?

By croos
From: Spring Hill, TN
May 4, 2011

Are there any lines here that would stay dry in the rain, and how long does it usually take to dry out. I have a trip planned to seneca and it looks like we will be dodging rain the whole time. any info would be great thanks.

By Andrew Cassidy
Oct 18, 2011

I'm fairly certain I left my evolv talons at Franklin potentially at 7-11 or in the parking lot. Please contact me if you find them!!! It would be greatly appreciated.

By Stephen Ackley
From: Richmond, Virginia
Sep 6, 2012

I'd like to contact the property owner of the area. Does anyone have this info? Feel free to send me a private message. Thank you.

By Ronin
From: Petersburg, WV
Sep 16, 2013

The Franklin Treasure Mountain Festival will be running from Thursday, Sept 19 through Sunday, September 22, in downtown Franklin, WV. Enjoy live music, home made foods and crafts in the Treasure Mountain Festival area below town.

FROM THE LIGHT, turn left (south) and take the first left (Lee Street) Follow this around to parallel Main Street (220 South) and take your first left toward the bowling alley and buildings below, where you will see the festival. There will be live music and great food available as late as 8 pm Sunday, so check it out!