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Naturita and Paradox Valley

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16Z 
Atomic Energy Bouldering 
Atomic Energy Crag 
Big Gypsum - Dolores 
Carpenter Ridge - Paradise Wall 
Ray Motel Boulders 
Red Rocks 
Sunshine Wall (River Road area) 
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Naturita and Paradox Valley  


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Elevation: 6,000'
Location: 38.2198, -108.5675 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 90,022
Administrators: Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: John Peterson on Feb 28, 2007
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AH bouldering along Long Park Road, Paradox Valley...

Description 

The "Wild Wild West" is a remote area of western Colorado near Naturita. With no nearby population centers, climbing in this area is wide open. Most of the rock is sandstone, with everything from short crags to pinnacles to long sandstone cracks.

The best source of information on this area is Charlie Fowler's guidebook, The Wild Wild West.

Getting There 

Approach from the south through the Telluride area on CO 145 northwest to Naturita and then continue west on CO 90.

From Grand Junction head south on CO 141 through Unaweep Canyon.

From the the Moab / Indian Creek area, head south on UT 191 to UT 46 east which becomes CO 90.

Unfortunately Charlie Fowler's excellent website is gone. Here's a link to the archive of it: eb.archive.org/web/20061207011...

Climbing Season



Weather station 13.4 miles from here

53 Total Routes

['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',26],['2 Stars',18],['1 Star',7],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',0],['5.7',0],['5.8',2],['5.9',8],['5.10',20],['5.11',11],['5.12',3],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',1],['V2-3',7],['V4-5',1],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Naturita and Paradox Valley:
Mushroom Cloud   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   Atomic Energy Crag
Sandstoner's Highway   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 2 pitches, 200'   Sunshine Wall (River Road a...
Pick Pocket   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Atomic Energy Crag
Psycho-Path   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 3 pitches, 180'   Big Gypsum - Dolores : Psycho Tower
Rancho Deluxe   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Atomic Energy Crag
Finger Fusion   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 40'   Atomic Energy Crag
Bomb Factory   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch   Red Rocks : Porcelain Wall
Nameless Face   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   Big Gypsum - Dolores : Psycho Tower
Chaos Spider   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   Red Rocks : Porcelain Wall
Tower Of Power   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c R     Trad, 3 pitches, 200'   Hamm Canyon : Tower Of Power
Browse More Classics in Naturita and Paradox Valley

Featured Route For Naturita and Paradox Valley
Perfect varnished Wingate.

The Cheeseheads 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a  CO : Naturita and Paradox Valley : Carpenter Ridge - Paradise ...
Wow! This is a sweet pitch! Climb the clean, right-facing dihedral. It is mostly thin hands, but it has a little wide section in the middle to keep things interesting. This route would have a line in it if it was located in Indian Creek! There is a second pitch according to the book that we did not climb....[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Photos of Naturita and Paradox Valley Slideshow Add Photo
Photo of A.E.C. more routes to right of photo.
Photo of A.E.C. more routes to right of photo.

Comments on Naturita and Paradox Valley Add Comment
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By Christian Prellwitz
From: Telluride, CO
Mar 28, 2010
Detailed information for all of the bouldering in the Naturita and West End areas can be found in 'A Guide To Bouldering In The Telluride & West End Areas' by Christian Prellwitz. This book can be purchased at climbing shops and book stores throughout Southwest Colorado.
By MattCichella
Jan 3, 2011
I recently went to the West End climbing areas and found them very hard to find due to endless network of rough and poorly marked dirt roads. Most of the areas had huge approaches up very unstable talus fields that most often lead to mediocre climbing. The bouldering was only so so. I yanked on a lot of old and deteriorated bolts and anchors and many of them moved out up to a 1/2 inch. Scary place. Next time I'm out there I'm going to Potash Road where I can belay off my bumper or the Creek where I can mooch cams and climb top-ropes.
By Jason S.
From: Durango, Co
Apr 9, 2011
Yeah, the west end is all long approaches for chossy climbing, stay away ; ) True, some of the bolts are less than bomber, though.... Also, I think that The Wild Wild West guidebook is out of print. Edit: Guidebook.
By Kevin Sainio
From: Durango, CO
May 26, 2011
The whole area is junk. Everyone should definitely stay away.
By T5w
From: Ia.
Sep 4, 2011
WWWest still in print. Atomic Energy Crags is an excellent area nearby. Short but fun. Bouldering along EE22 also fantastic. The book store Between The Covers in Telluride had the book.
By Matt Kroll
From: Telluride, CO
May 7, 2012
There are some great areas out there with some fine sport and trad routes. You just have to know how to navigate the roads. Some of the best crags involve camping right above them.
By Jay Berino
From: Denver, CO
Jul 12, 2012
Has any one heard of the "lost world" craigs in this area? Off of EE22?? climbed there a couple of years ago with dudes who knew the area and I cant find them again. One of the neatest areas I've seen in CO (out of the mtns) with or without climbing.... Lots of bolts... maybe it has another name?
By Christian Prellwitz
From: Telluride, CO
Sep 15, 2012
Yeah, you might still be able to get a copy of the Wild West guidebook in one of the area stores. Damon was saving the remaining copies for Between The Covers. There are probably a few others floating around elsewhere out there at other random regional stores.

As to your question, Jay, the Lost World Crag is located off of Road EE22. Here are the directions:

From the intersection of Highway 90 and EE22, drive 1.7 miles and turn right onto an unmarked dirt road. This road is quite rough
in sections and a high clearance four wheel drive vehicle is advised. Take the dirt road, staying to the right where it splits. A 1/2 mile off of EE22, the road splits again. Keep straight to reach the boulders on a rough, washed out road. Park at the main campground, right next to a large boulder, or walk to this point if you decide the road is too rough.

Lots of bolted routes there, but the rock is lower quality than Atomic Energy and some of the other areas. Charlie liked to call it petrified kitty litter. The bolts probably haven't been checked in a while, so be safe. The same goes for all off the bolts out at these areas. Bolting in this soft and highly variable sandstone is difficult, and with so few visitors, bolts rarely get checked and replaced.

Anyhow, glad people are enjoying the areas. There's some fun to be had amongst all the choss. :)
By Stevie Johnson
May 2, 2014
The Administrators might note that Damon Johnston is a co-author of the Wild Wild West guidebook.

Kroll is right. An area slightly west and below the Naturita Crags is called Little Red Rocks. It is maybe 2 miles west of EE22 and best approached from the highway below in the main Paradox Valley. Go past EE22 about a half mile, 2nd gate, and head north through a wash then west along the base of the escarpment to a large, colorful drainage north of some large ponds.

This approach is different from that described in the guide, which approaches more directly from the south but is now washed out. Four wheel required. Little Red Rocks is visible as white and reddish-orange cliffs just west of the drainage. These become visible from the highway. Hike and scramble WNW up a faint trail about 30-45 minutes. Higher up there is a small spire to the east of the trail that can easily be approached by traversing a bench. It has a cool pictograph gallery.

Little Red Rocks and particularly the Porcelaine Wall has very high-quality face climbing, all one-pitch sport bolted (and a little less sporty than the Naturita crags) with several cracks. The sandstone rock on this wall is bullet hard and reminiscent of Red Rocks, much better quality than the Crags (which are small conglomerate and sometimes chossy). South-facing and warm, with some limited tree shade at the base, climbable into November and from late January in the right sun/wind conditions. Just before the parking area, you pass a fenced off area with hiker gate with huge boulders full of pictographs and petroglyphs. There are more such treasures hidden in these hills.

The Carpenter Ridge area west of the Dolores has fine Wingate crack climbs, longer but less dense than Indian Creek. Some routes like Cowboy Up on the Paradise Wall rival anything in Indian Creek and the ambience is reminiscent of Indian Creek in the late '70s-'80s. The approaches are longer, but the camping is free and never crowded, and the views are incredible.

Some new areas are being developed near the west end of the Valley with fine Wingate cracks and even some hard patina face climbs.