Cave Valley (aka Auburn Quarry)
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The State Rec Area closes at dusk - most parking areas are self-paid
Most of Auburn SRA is open from 7 am to sunset. Leave early enough to be off the trails before dusk. Most parking requires self registration fees in cash envelopes (or annual state park passes), and is enthusiastically enforced. Check the Auburn State Recreation Area website at parks.ca.gov/?page_id=502
for current information. Note that the park's policy is that technical roped climbing is only permitted in the Cave Valley/Quarry area - outside the fenced private quarry at the back. Unroped climbing - aka bouldering or DWS - is allowed everywhere with a safe landing.
Raptors have left the quarry, all normal walls are open
Raptors sometimes nest at the quarry.The 2018 falcon family left their nest in the Twin Towers area in early July, leaving it open for humans to play on again.
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Within the boundaries of the Auburn State Recreation Area (ASRA) is the remains of an old limestone quarry, formerly the Spreckels quarry. The quarry was bequeathed to the Bureau of Reclamation after the Teichert Inc. had determined that the lower quarry had yielded as much material as was financially feasible. The new land was then included in the State Recreation Area for management by the SRA for the Bureau of Reclamation. The SRA allows recreational usages include hiking, swimming, boating, fishing, camping, mountain biking, gold panning, equestrian/horseback riding trails, off-highway motorcycle riding, and whitewater, with Class II, III and IV runs. Ironically enough, climbing was not addressed in the recreational usage plan despite the quarries large rock cliffs being ideally suited for technical rock climbing.
Auburn Quarry Raptor Nesting Closures forum
Technical rock climbing has been practiced in the Old Limestone Quarry located in the ASRA since the late 1980s. The original climbers established approximately seven rock climbing routes, which required some amount of fixed protection; pitons and protection bolts. From all accounts, early climbers were not discouraged or refused recreational opportunities at this time. Early climbers included Dale Christenson, Eric Kohl, Kirk Arens, and the Hatchett Brothers. On November 18th, 1998, Kirk and friends were practicing rope jumping on an elaborate rigging system. Kirk misjudged the length of his rope jump and was killed in the resultant impact. From this point forward 'til 2003, climbers were discouraged from using the Auburn SRA for technical rock climbing, but it was not technically illegal to climb there. In 2004, the ASRA created a memorandum banning technical climbing which was in effect until October 2012, where through the hard work of CRAGS
(Climbing Resource Advocates for Greater Sacramento), the Access Fund, and local climbers the ban was lifted and climbing could legally resume in the Quarry. Climbers in the early 2000s started re-exploring the area for rock climbing routes and currently there are almost fifty established routes within the Auburn State Recreation Area. These routes cater to climbers of all levels from easy, moderate, and hard levels of climbing.
The remaining rock cliffs left after the conclusion of active quarrying present a perfect opportunity for performance of technical rock climbing. The rock is highly featured limestone along with other sedimentary rock mixed in. The actual quarrying process itself has created large features, which are ideally suited to climbing.
It is not uncommon to see the Placer County Sheriff use the Old Quarry as a practice grounds for their Search and Rescue Team. So don't be surprised if on occasion you see a large group of folks rappel and jugging the Scale Wall. Please respect their right to use the area for this purpose and find a different wall to climb on until they are done!
- Highway 80 to Auburn.
- Exit Elm Ave (exit 119c), and stay left at the fork.
- Turn left on Elm.
- .2 miles later, left on El Dorado St (also Hwy 49).
- Turn right to stay on highway 49, head down the hill and cross the bridge towards Cool (there's a sign.)
- About a 1/4 mile later, park in the street or in the paid lot on the left (it's hard to see, but it's a VERY wide pull in)
From the parking lot (I advise bringing a bike!!!): Follow the signs for "Cave Valley Climbing Area." Walk about 1 1/2 miles down the main trail (which heads more or less East out of the lot) way above the creek. You'll come to a large fort-like structure with a very wide trail heading straight up a steepish hill right of the main trail, which ends up taking you to the right of the fort. Walk another 150 yards to the FIRST fork, and go right. Follow this still wide (though often quite leaf-covered) trail trough another bend to the left, and you'll pop out at the entrance to the climbing area, with Scale Wall
right in front of you.
Approach to close walls : 30 minutes (8 minutes by bike)
Approach to furthest bolted walls: 45 minutes
Bear visited us on June 10, 2017. About 2 dozen people watched in in shock or complete indifference as they took pictures and videos from their phone.
overlook at the cliffs on a beautiful spring evening, first bit of th Wreckage wall can be seen on the right of the frame.
Great local crag for Sac locals. Lets keep it clean and ethical!
Great local crag for Sac locals.
From the ledge overlooking the Wreckage Wall and down and left you can see the Scale Wall.
Please don't sack line at the Quarry. This activity could result in the area being shut down. Thx.
The Pillar. Notice the two plastic holds attached to the overhang. Looks really sick! [But also confirmed forbidden by the park archaeologist. - ed.]
Bill Price working his project
The two towers. There is a rope on the right tower and two bolted routes? on the left tower.