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North Fork of the St. Vrain River

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Big Elk Meadows - Boulders 
Button Rock (aka Pinewood Rock) 
Coulson Gulch 
Kenny Mt. North 
Longmont Reservoir Area (aka Buttonrock) 
Palace, The 
Pinewood Boulders 
Raven's Roost 
Tomato Rock 

North Fork of the St. Vrain River Rock Climbing 


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Location: 40.24453, -105.33163 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 18,702
Administrators: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Monty, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: John McNamee on Oct 13, 2012
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Bob Horan on 3rd ascent of Randy Leavitt's Animal ...

Description 

US 36 is a popular through road connecting Denver to Estes Park and continues into Rocky Mountain National Park. Along the stretch from Lyons to Estes Park is a canyon littered with rocks that draw the eye. Many of these crags lie on private property or are only reasonably accessed through private property, so check first.

The rock here varies from granitic to harder, metamorphic, igneous varieties that are more challenging to characterize. Crags here may range from micro routes to perhaps 1000 feet.

Some of these crags include the River Wall (once called the best crag in Colorado) at Button Rock Reservoir, other scattered crags near Button Rock, boulders at Big Elk Meadows (east of Estes Park along FR 118). There are some scattered crags in the area of Pinewood Springs which have had less-heralded ascents.

North St. Vrain

Lyons Area
Longmont Reservoir Area (aka Buttonrock)
Coulson Gulch - 2.9 mile hike from Johnny Park off CO 66

Further up US 36
Split Rocks
Animal Magnetism

Little Thompson drainage approach via US 36
Big Elk Meadows
The Palace
Raven's Roost
Kenny Mountain
Tomato Rock

Pinewood Area - between Little Thompson and North Fork of the St. Vrain
Button Rock
Button Slab
Pinewood Boulders

Off CO 7, via rough roads or Off US 36 through Johnny Park
Pierson Park
Pierson Point

Getting There 

Some of this can be accessed from CR 41 off of US 36 between Lyons and Estes Park. Some of this can be accessed from Johnny Park off of the Little Valley Rd. from Fish Creek Rd. going south from Estes Park.

To get there from the west, you can go east from Estes Park along US 36. To access this area from Denver, head north on I-25, go NW on US 36 through Boulder to Lyons. No access this from the NE, you can go west on US 66 into Lyons, and then go west on US 36.

Other Activities 

There is a Ciatano Winery located along the St. Vrain River at the Rock'n River just outside of Lyons with wine tasting from grapes grown from the Western Slope. Nice Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, and Viogner. $3 for 5 tasting. They have a picnic area with large trout in their pond. 11-5 F-M in Winter & 10-6 daily in Summer. 303.823.5011. Nice for apres climbing or early rainout days.

Climbing Season



Weather station 10.0 miles from here

83 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',10],['3 Stars',24],['2 Stars',29],['1 Star',19],['Bomb',1]
['<=5.6',4],['5.7',6],['5.8',4],['5.9',8],['5.10',14],['5.11',8],['5.12',8],['5.13',5],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',4],['V2-3',11],['V4-5',8],['V6-7',2],['V8-9',1],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',3],['>=V14',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in North Fork of the St. Vrain River

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for North Fork of the St. Vrain River:
Sinister Minister   V3 6A     Boulder, 16'   Big Elk Meadows - Boulders : The Sanctuary
The Arete   V3 6A     Boulder, 15'   Big Elk Meadows - Boulders : The Sanctuary
Devil's Face   V5 6C     Boulder, 15'   Big Elk Meadows - Boulders : The Sanctuary
Double Trouble   V6 7A     Boulder   Big Elk Meadows - Boulders : The Double Trouble Boulder
Get Over It   V10 7C+     Boulder   Big Elk Meadows - Boulders : The Double Trouble Boulder
Initial Route   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad   Longmont Reservoir Area (ak... : Buick Rocks and Hitler's Se...
Tigers in Lipstick   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 35'   Longmont Reservoir Area (ak... : Tigers in Lipstick
Green Slab   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport   Longmont Reservoir Area (ak... : Buick Rocks and Hitler's Se...
Livewire   5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Longmont Reservoir Area (ak... : River Wall II
Introducing Meteor Dad   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Longmont Reservoir Area (ak... : River Wall II
Escape from Alcatraz   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 80'   Longmont Reservoir Area (ak... : River Wall II
Pocket Hercules   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Longmont Reservoir Area (ak... : River Wall II
Redneck Hero   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Longmont Reservoir Area (ak... : River Wall II
Neurosurgeon   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a R     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Longmont Reservoir Area (ak... : River Wall II
Big, Big, Monkey Man   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Trad, 1 pitch   Longmont Reservoir Area (ak... : River Wall II
New Horizon   5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Longmont Reservoir Area (ak... : River Wall II
Old Yellar   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Longmont Reservoir Area (ak... : Old Yellar Dome
Brother From Another Planet   5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c     Sport, 1 pitch   Longmont Reservoir Area (ak... : River Wall II
Le Diamant E'ternal   5.13b/c 8a+ 29 X- 30 E7 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   Longmont Reservoir Area (ak... : River Wall II
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in North Fork of the St. Vrain River

Featured Route For North Fork of the St. Vrain River
Rock Climbing Photo: Jeff sending

Old Yellar 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c  CO : Lyons : ... : Old Yellar Dome
Long, technical, steep, pumpy -- what more could you ask for? Old Yellar is a great granite route that's technical down low. Then, midway up, you enter a vicious undercling to enter the steep second half with a heartbreak crux at the end. It's well worth the short hike to get up there. ...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Photos of North Fork of the St. Vrain River Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Mike F. at Pierson.
Mike F. at Pierson.
Rock Climbing Photo: BH on south overhang of the House Block, Allen's P...
BH on south overhang of the House Block, Allen's P...
Rock Climbing Photo: Bobby B. at Pierson Park.
Bobby B. at Pierson Park.
Rock Climbing Photo: BH on the classic hand-crack, Conquer Crack, House...
BH on the classic hand-crack, Conquer Crack, House...
Rock Climbing Photo: Ryan F. at Pierson.
Ryan F. at Pierson.

Comments on North Fork of the St. Vrain River Add Comment
Show which comments
By George Bracksieck
Aug 16, 2016
FWIW of all the areas listed on this North St. Vrain page, only the Longmont Res. area and Coulson Gulch are actually in the North St. Vrain watershed. Split Rocks and Animal Magnetism (of which there is one posted pic) are also and are found farther up US 36.

Big Elk Meadows, the Palace, Raven's Roost, Kenny Mtn., and Tomato Rock lie within the Little Thompson drainage and are approached from US 36, northwest of Pinewood Spgs. Access to Coulson Gulch BTW is easiest from the Johnny Park Road, which is accessed from the Big Elk Meadows Road. Gillett included most of these areas in his St. Vrain Canyons guidebook, because those are in the vicinity of the North St Vrain.

Button Rock and Button Slab lie high above Pinewood Spgs, to the west, on the divide between each watershed. These are also in Gillett's St Vrain guidebook.

Pierson Park and Pierson Point are most easily accessed from Estes Park, although you can get there via long rough roads from CO Hwy 7, through Meeker Park, or US Hwy 36, through Johnny Park.

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