Woodfords Canyon offers year-round climbing. The south-facing side of Highway 88 allows comfortable climbing conditions during the winter months. When the mercury climbs into the 40's in Reno, the temperatures at Woodford's can allow for surprisingly comfortable climbing, assuming there are clear skies and light winds. In summer, the shady walls lying on the south side create perfect conditions during the hotter summer months.
The area is relatively unknown, usually only receiving the attention of a few parties on weekends. The climbing is generally traditional and although there are routes up to four pitches in length, the majority of the climbs are a half rope long, with a 70m rope being extremely useful. The granite on the winter side is generally excellent with some areas of coarse rock. The summer areas have finer grained granite and less coarse rock but more dirt and munge; these climbs required extensive cleaning on their first ascents.
These climbs offer some of the purist crack climbing in the Tahoe area and is a great training area for Yosemite and the High Sierra.
Woodford's Canyon is located in Alpine Co., Ca. along Highway 88, 20 minutes from South Lake Tahoe. There are quite a few different parking areas and trail heads. Take Highway 50 west from South Lake Tahoe. Drive through the town of Meyers, go left on Highway 89 (south), drive several miles to the junction of Highways 88 and 89. Turn left onto Highway 88 (east), drive down the valley which follows the steep East Fork of the Carson River. Towards the bottom of the canyon the road becomes less steep and to the left is an obvious south facing treeless mountain side. The golden rock formations above the bushy slope is known as The Fortress. Park on the north-side of the road next to rotating road condition sign, where a small stream runs along the shoulder of the road. This parking area is on the left after passing Crystal Springs Campground. Pull a u-turn after passing over the bridge and park in front of the aforementioned road sign. Follow the well beaten trail that goes upstream (west) towards a tree covered rocky ridge. From the ridge follow a decent climber's trail that is marked by cairns through a line of trees that lead to the base or The Fortress. The wall lying directly above the approach trail is known as the Donnie G and can be identified by a prominent "stalactite". Allow 30-45 minutes for the approach.
88 Total Routes
['4 Stars',11],['3 Stars',45],['2 Stars',17],['1 Star',9],['Bomb',0]
Browse More Classics in Woodfords Canyon
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Woodfords Canyon:
Featured Route For Woodfords Canyon
Regular Route 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a
: Tahoe Vicinity
: ... : The Steeple
This classic route follows the most prominent corner system on the west side of The Steeple. The first pitch although less than memorable, redeems itself before the anchor below the fantastic second pitch. Savor the incredible second pitch's thin hand jams The final squeeze chimney pitch deposits one on an exposed summit stand on top and bust the "Christ Redeemer Move"...[more] Browse More Classics in CA
News and Events For Woodfords Canyon
Latest Regional Forum Messages
|Comments on Woodfords Canyon
|By Rick D|
From: Reno, NV
Mar 13, 2009
This is awesome. Been waiting for someone to add this page. Been meaning to get down there for a while.
|By Ron Anderson|
Mar 21, 2009
Woodsford is an awsome canyon,,,It prolly has about twelve thousand quality routes still waiting.... Over the years there has been many passers through like Harding, Robbins Tm and Tommy Herbert there...Quite alot of history and eing so close, is one of the most over looked areas there is.. Thank god for steep approaches!!LOL....
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Apr 10, 2009
I think some of the route organization here for this area is already confusing and not in the right grouping.
According to my topo, The Fortress should be listed as an area, and within that area should be the 2nd Alcove (and its routes therein). The Perfect Lieback should also be a route listed within a sub-area of The Fortress, aka The Liebacks Area.
Can we re-organize in this way? Also, is it possible to actually make such "sub-crag" area divisions within an area on mtnprjct? (It doesn't necessarily look like it.)
|By Blue Eisele|
Apr 28, 2009
People don't climb at Woodsfords much so do the area a favor and bring a wire brush with you. When you are done leading do a TR lap with your brush and on the way down clean all the lichen off the routes. Also thank Ryan and Dan for all their hard work putting up new routes and anchors!!
|By Milton Mugambe|
May 29, 2009
It's sad that woodfords is all alone. The best climbing is going on right now. It's been high and dry in the canyon while the popular areas are soaked. Try something new and be adventurous.
|By Sasha Cohen|
From: South Lake Tahoe CA
Jun 15, 2009
I heard you're putting together a climbing guide for Woodford's Canyon it's about time that a current one is done by someone who really knows the area!! I also heard you need a publisher. I will let you know if i find one.
Keep up the good work!
|By Ron Anderson|
Aug 3, 2009
iF You have any questions regaring the old guide let me know... Ron
|By Milton Mugambe|
Aug 16, 2009
The areas that have been posted all lie on the north-side of the road.. the were submitted during the winter months... so the summer stuff hasn't been included. I'm considering posting some more information on the south-side of the road, but I've been working on a complete guide for both sides of the road, and haven't had time to add anymore info. Milt M.
|By Ryan Curry|
Apr 2, 2011
The winter side is in prime condition as of 4/1/11 (no foolin'). Perfect climbing in both sun and shade. See you up there!
|By Tyson W.|
From: South Lake Tahoe, CA
Jan 21, 2014
I love this damn place. Tahoe obscurity at its absolute finest.