North Boulder Creek flows down through Dream Canyon to Boulder Falls, where it merges with Boulder Creek.
The crags in Dream Canyon are split into two parts: Upper Dream Canyon and Lower Dream Canyon. The crags in Upper Dream Canyon are generally accessed from a parking area above the canyon, off of Sugarloaf Road.
The crags in Lower Dream Canyon are usually accessed from the Boulder Falls parking area. These crags can be accessed from the Upper Dream Canyon parking area, but this is not commonly done.
Probably, the most popular crag in Lower Dream Canyon is Plotinus Wall. It has a few old routes put up by Jim Erickson and others in the 1970s and 1980s, but it didn't gain prominence until the past few years, after Bob D'Antonio and Vaino Kodas established many great sport routes there. Today, it is popular for climbers seeking 5.10 to 5.12 sport routes in a great setting.
Another popular crag in Lower Dream Canyon is the Wall of Winter Warmth It has some old trad routes from the 1970s, and some newer harder sport routes put up by D'Antonio and Kodas.
The Berlin Wall has some very difficult sport routes, and some older trad routes that are challenging and runout.
Most of the other crags in Lower Dream Canyon (Pin Dome, Nickel Dome, Krishna Spire, and Serenity Spire) have a few high-quality sport routes that are worth seeking out.
Chrome Dome, just upstream from Boulder Falls, was developed during the 1980s, before the advent of sport climbing. Most of the routes are runout and serious, and this rock sees little attention from modern climbers.
From Boulder Canyon
From the intersection of Broadway and Colorado 119 in Boulder, follow Colorado 119 west towards the town of Nederland. About eight miles up the Canyon turn left into a large parking area for Boulder Falls.
From the Boulder Falls "trail" walk in on the 'tourist path' until you nearly come to a park bench. Switchback to the left between some caged rocks and a tree. Switchback again to the right on top of the rocks. Above you is a second set of caged rocks - pass these on the left (south) end, or climb over. From here, angle up and right on a faint path. There were some small cairns leading the way on 7/12/03. You are aiming for a small 'tunnel' near a dead tree that is, again, up and right from the caged rocks. Note, this access may be frowned upon by non-climbing land managers.
Eds. during the months when Boulder Falls is CLOSED (Nov. 1 - May 1), some folks access skirting the right edge of Boulder Slips. It is not clear as to if this access is affected by the Boulder Falls closure.
Pass through the tunnel and hike steeply down the other side, heading to the water's edge, and follow a path upstream to a boulder jumble. The Plotinus Wall should be clearly visible uphill at 11:00, and the Wall of Winter Warmth at about 1:00, across the creek.
To get to Plotinus Wall, head up through the boulders to the bottom of the wall, just below the bolted slab, "The Scientist".
Universal Crusher is a small crag left of Plotinus and a short distance above the creek.
Chrome Dome, Nickel Dome, Pin Dome, Wall of Winter Warmth, Berlin Wall, Krishna, and Serenity Spire lie on the other side of the creek. Pick a good spot to wade across, and head up to the rock of your choice. The crossing may be difficult at times of high water (spring and early summer).
From Upper Dream Canyon
Lower Dream Canyon crags can also be accessed from the Upper Dream Canyon parking area: Go left and down away from Upper Dream Canyon following the rock cairns heading in southerly direction. See the beta photo for trail choices to the different crags.
To get to Plotinus Wall: cross a small stream and follow the cairns towards the Wall of Winter Warmth. Skirt the top of the wall and drop down a gully towards the creek. Reach the creek, cross it, and go up the talus to Plotinus Wall. Maybe 15 minutes of hiking.
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Lower Dream Canyon:
Start twenty-five feet right of Lucid Dreaming on the Plotinus Wall at a overhanging quartz-filled corner. This is the Boulder Quartz System. Clip the first bolt and climb up nice moves on large quartz holds. After the the fifth bolt make hard moves up and right into a overhanging corner. Strenuous moves leads to the anchor. Classic!...[more]Browse More Classics in CO
Those of us who climb in Dream Canyon are acutely aware of the signs "discouraging" people from hiking up that loose gully to gain access to the area above the falls. I read one post about a ranger giving someone a ticket for this offense.
Phil, Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) closed the Boulder Falls area on March 30 "until further notice due to potentially unsafe conditions in the cliffs above the falls." No date was set for reopening the area.
I heard a tourist had been injured by a falling rock.
Currently, the only legal access to Lower Dream Canyon and Plotinus Wall is via Upper Dream Canyon. Personally, I would not ignore the closure -- you would be subject to a ticket and fine, and possibly damage relations between climbers and OSMP.
15 minute hike?? Either I am making the trail much harder or you guys are hiking studs... I would say more like 30 to 45 minutes (depending if there is snow on the ground). The "right" way to go isn't obvious, so if it is your first time there, expect it to take longer.
It was a 10-15 minute hike in from Boulder Falls before that way was closed.