Truckee River Canyon Rock Climbing
Big Chief is in a beautiful location!
Containing many basalt formations holding many fine routes in the Tahoe area, in this region, located above highway 89, you will find an excellent view of the large ski areas on the eastern rocks of the canyon.
You will find a diverse range of climbing here, including some of the best sport climbing around. There are also a fairly large selection of traditional routes as well.
Being high up in the Sierra, this area will only be climbable when the snow resides on the approach in the spring, usually in April or May, and continuing through late December, depending on the year. On a dry year, you might find this area climbable year-round.
Many guide books cover the lower parts of the Truckee River Canyon in their Reno area chapters. But since Mountain Project is organized by states, all California crags from the outlet of Lake Tahoe to the California border are in the TRC area now.
See individual crag pages for specific directions.
Developed areas here include the Amphitheater, Bear Cave Cliff, Big Chief, the Columns, Deep Creek Crag, Light Deprivation Buttress, Little Chief, Sawtooth Ridge, Shirley Canyon Cliffs, the Truckee River Basalt Area, and Twin Crags.
Climbs around here are accessed either from highway 89 between Tahoe City and Truckee, or from interstate 80 near Truckee.
See the Big Chief
page for driving directions from Truckee to the Big Chief parking area, and other nearby crags along forest road 6. These are closed seasonally.
Other Truckee River Canyon crags are reached using highway 89, as are the forest road 6 crags during winter and other snowy months, when the gate stays locked.
For the Truckee River Basalt Area: Head South down Highway 89 out of Truckee towards Lake Tahoe and Tahoe City. You will see the Basalt cliffs of the Truckee River Basalt Area on the left, and you can park in the campgrounds in front of the rocks, yet still on the west side of the Truckee river.
For The Ampitheater:Head South down highway 89 out of Truckee towards Lake Tahoe and Tahoe City. Park just before the turnoff to Alpine Meadows. You will be able to see the Ampitheater just before the bridge heading over The Truckee River.
Weather station 1.2 miles from here
121 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',6],['3 Stars',51],['2 Stars',49],['1 Star',12],['Bomb',3]
Classic Climbing Routes in Truckee River Canyon
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Truckee River Canyon
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Truckee River Canyon:
Featured Route For Truckee River Canyon
Flying High Again 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c CA
: Tahoe Vicinity
: ... : South Cave
The rightmost route in the cave, Flying High Again follows a juggy crack system on very overhung traversy terrain for the first 4 bolts. Moving to the second bolt can be akward, but hands improve from then on. The crux is after the fourth bolt as the climb begins to move more vertically up to the final ledge. Make sure you've got someone to follow you, since cleaning this overhung traverse would be a pain on rappell....[more] Browse More Classics in CA
By Bill Grasse
From: Carbondale, CO.
Jul 17, 2007
Does anybody know if there is good free camping somewhere near this area? I'm headed this way to work/climb for a couple of months and I'd like to just camp to save money.
By Justin Johnsen
Jun 14, 2014
I've expanded this page a bit since Aron first wrote it, combining areas in this chapter of John Jackson's North Tahoe guide.