Elevation: 6,555 ft
GPS: 42.078, -113.724 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 993,103 total · 5,505/month
Shared By: grk10vq on Jul 25, 2004 with improvements by Josh M.
Admins: grk10vq, Mike Engle
Access Issue: Weather Wall and Yellow Wall and all the crags north of Twin Sisters are on private land and are CLOSED TO CLIMBING; please don't trespass while park officials and CRAG negotiate with the landowner for access privileges Details


City of Rocks is a mecca of climbing, just over the Utah/Idaho border in rural Idaho. Varnished and pocketed granite is the name of the game here. The granite ages with an iron based varnish on it and when the varnish wears through, it forms pockets that wear faster than the varnish. The result is pockets with edges or just edges. The majority of the routes have mixed protection, so caution or knowledge is required as the bolts may stop halfway up the route.

Camping is permitted in City of Rocks in developed sites. Reservations can be made up to 90 days in advance. The town of Almo has the nearest refreshments and food at the Almo Creek Outpost as well as Rock City.

NEW CAMPING INFO: Follow the link for info on both official campgrounds and 'free' camping in many nearby BLM and Forest Service open space. These images have a lot dense information and are best viewed 'full size'.

The history here is rich and deserves mentioning. The City of Rocks went by many names early on; Goblin City, Chapel Rocks, Pyramid Circle, and Ancient City were just a few of the monikers that were utilized by the early emigrants. They came through the area on their way to California for a better life, and the rock formations that take on many shapes and figures were a perfect landmark for them to use. As more and more of them came through they left their mark on some of the formations with axle grease.

The climbing history essentially began with the Steinfell Club in the early 1960's. As climbing grew in popularity so too did the impact of climbers. To preserve the nature and resources of the area, the NPS enacted strict rules on the bolting of new routes and also closed certain areas to climbing.

Getting There

From Boise (Seattle, Portland, etc): Heading east on I-84 from Boise, take exit 216 to Declo. Continue South on highway 77 through Declo and Albion. Once at the Conner Creek Junction, (a T intersection at a stop sign), turn right and go west, continuing through Elba and Almo. The road leading to City of Rocks is to the right just after passing the park’s visitor center in Almo.

From Pocatello (Jackson, Bozeman, etc): Heading west on I-86, take I-84 south for 4 miles and take Highway 81 to Malta. From Malta turn right and follow Highway 77 going West. Pass through Conner Creek Junction (continue straight), Elba and Almo. The road leading to City of Rocks is to the right just after passing the park’s visitor center in Almo.

From Salt Lake City: Head North on I-15 until Tremonton. Travel onto I-84 near Tremonton, and head northwest on I-84 towards Twin Falls/Boise. Seventy five miles after Tremonton, take exit 245 and turn left to follow Sublett road heading west into Malta. From Malta turn right and follow Highway 77 going West. Pass through Conner Creek Junction (continue straight), Elba and Almo. The road leading to City of Rocks is to the right just after passing the park’s visitor center in Almo.

521 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at City of Rocks

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R
Lost Arrow
Trad 2 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Wheat Thin
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Rye Crisp
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Bloody Fingers
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Thin Slice
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Tribal Boundaries
Sport, TR
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
The Drilling Fields
5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Terror of Tiny Town
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c PG13
Beware of Nesting Egos
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Crack of Doom
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
She's the Bosch
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Strategic Defense
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Lost Arrow Lost Arrow Spire
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R Trad 2 pitches
Wheat Thin Elephant Rock > Elephant Rock - East
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Skyline Morning Glory Spire
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Rye Crisp Elephant Rock > Elephant Rock - East
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Bloody Fingers Breadloaves > Super Hits - Bloody F…
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Thin Slice Parking Lot Rock > Parking Lot Rock - No…
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Tribal Boundaries Flaming Rock
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport, TR
Colossus Bath Rock > Bath Rock - West
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Redtail Rabbit Rock > Rabbit Rock - Southwest
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
The Drilling Fields Drilling Fields > Drilling Fields
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Terror of Tiny Town Buzzard Perch
5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Trad
Beware of Nesting Egos Elephant Rock > Elephant Rock - North
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c PG13 Trad
Crack of Doom Morning Glory Spire
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Trad
She's the Bosch Window Rock > Window Rock - West
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Strategic Defense Morning Glory Spire
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Trad
More Classic Climbs in City of Rocks »

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season


Bobby Hanson
Spokane, WA
Bobby Hanson   Spokane, WA
This is the best summer/fall weekend road trip from SLC.

Beware, however, that there are many selfish inconsiderate people climbing in the City. See for example the toproping story on Wheat Thin. Another example: I waited around to climb Intruding Dike (a great 5.7**) while another party was on it. There was a second party on the route to the right. When the group on ID finished, I went to get on it. The guy leading the route to the right yelled down at me ``Hey, I'm next on that route!'' Apparantly he is under the impression that you can reserve routes while climbing others. Nevermind the fact that I waited around at the bottom for the climb to free up, while he decided to go climb something else (``I only got on this one because I didn't want to wait around at the bottom,'' he said). It turns out that the guy I was waiting on was this other guy's friend. He says, ``Yup, he was next on this one.'' I shook my head and told him that my rope is there, stacked, my gear is racked, and I'm ready to go; and he could get on it after me, that is if nobody got in line before he got down. Climbing Ethics used to be simple neighborly courtesy. Something has seriously changed.

I've seen such selfishness elsewhere, but it seems I always see it in the City. Jun 23, 2005
John J. Glime
Salt Lake City, UT
John J. Glime   Salt Lake City, UT
For what it is worth, those of you that may be making your first visit to the City, you will be happy to know (maybe) that the grades, in my opinion, are either right on or a little soft. I have yet to come to a route that was sandbagged. They either are the grade or easier. I am reminded of this every time I am there. It's semi-comforting to know that you aren't going to climb and get in over your head. Sep 14, 2005
Josh Janes    
More beta:

The directions listed here (and in the Bingham guidebook) take you over a lot of dirt roads. Alternate, perhaps faster, directions from the South/East (Utah, Colorado, etc): Take I-84 west all the way to exit 245 (Sublett Road). This will take you through Malta and then on to Almo. The roads are ID-81 to ID-77 to the Elba-Almo Highway. This route adds a small amount of mileage, but the roads are entirely paved and you can travel much faster.

Gas can sometimes be had at Tracy's general store in Almo. There is also a good gas station in the town of Malta that takes credit cards at the pump.

Water is available at a tap at the information pullout across from Bath Rock or at the pump by the Breadloaves.

If you make reservations, you have to make them at least two days in advance. Every campsite was booked for Fourth of July weekend this year ('06), and I hear this is common. Reservations can easily be made online, but there's a $6 fee to do so. Jul 5, 2006
I was there over the fourth and it was awesome. All of June and so far in July it has been raining right around 4 pm so make sure you aren't stuck up on a multi-pitch. Jul 6, 2006
James Schroeder
Fort Collins, CO
James Schroeder   Fort Collins, CO  
I did some climbing @ Site 18 on a trip in July, I was wondering if a local could post the beta for that area... I remember a couple of 5.7's in the middle of the wall, a 5.8 on the left(super fun), and a 5.9 on the right(also super fun)... Can't remeber the names though. I thought site 18 was a great morning get away. Wasn't crowded, but shady for most of the morning. It would be a great addition to MP...

Thanks Tod... Sep 6, 2006
If you ever see some old codgers driving around in beat up trucks, be sure to talk to them. One guy we talked to had a veritable museum in his rig including an old trapper rifle (Winchester??) from way out back somewhere in the City.

The local gas station is(was) closed on Sunday. Plan accordingly... Mar 21, 2007
Guy H.
Fort Collins CO
Guy H.   Fort Collins CO
Josh, you are correct. There are a few issues with the description of one side of Bath Rock in the new guidebook. May 23, 2007
all true about the grades i felt as well when i used to climb there, that they are felt to me to be right on or alittle soft. the exception to this is double cracks 5.10a on king on the throne. try it and see what you think, especially onsite. Jul 24, 2008
Laramie, WY
Lyndsy   Laramie, WY
I am curious what the weather is like in mid-March at the city?? Jan 25, 2009
John Ross
Wasatch Front, UT
John Ross   Wasatch Front, UT
Here is some info about the climate in Oakley which is close by. Average high temp in March is 50.8 degrees F, average low temp is 27.7. Find a sunny wall in the afternoon and it just might work. This site will give you weather history. Jan 26, 2009
Brian in SLC
Sandy, Utah
Brian in SLC   Sandy, Utah
I, uhh, climbed back on 18 January on the back side of Bath Rock. No wind, perfect temps, t-shirt for me, my partner climbed shirtless. So, if its sunny and no wind, can be just fine most any time in the winter. Note: road only passible to Bath Rock (snowpacked past that, but, plowed to the big parking lot/info kiosk in front of Bath Rock as of 18 January). Cheers. Jan 30, 2009
Scott Bennett
Scott Bennett   Michigan
I have never been there, but I'm thinking of stopping there on an extended roadtrip, possible sometime in August. Would it be too hot then? How long could I reasonable plan to stay? Is there enough climbing to entertain me for a few weeks (looking at mostly 5.11-5.12, preferably trad, but whatever).
Anyways, thanks in advance for all the great beta!
-Scott Apr 26, 2009
John Calder
Spokane, WA
John Calder   Spokane, WA
Price.. met you this weekend at the Crack of doom. There's a picof your buddy above and a few on the COD page. Send me an adress and I'll mail you a disk. May 18, 2009
Salt Lake City, UT
triznuty   Salt Lake City, UT
Does anybody got some good beta for the route South Shoulder, that's on the South Sister? It would be greatly appreciated. Jun 24, 2009
santa clara, utah
jeffozozo   santa clara, utah
Here's some beta for camping at the city:

1. most of the time you don't NEED a reservation, but it helps. It is easy to do and you can do it completely on line.

Here's the link to the reservation web-site. Choose city of rocks, 'overnight stays' and pick your spot. You can pay on line as well.


2. All of the camp sites are cool, but there are wide differences between them. Some are right next to climbing areas, some are a little further. Some are close to the bathrooms, some you need to DRIVE to get to the bathrooms. Here's the best map I have found:


3. There is a little store/cafe called "rock city" that is about a quarter of a mile north of the turn off to city of rocks. They have pizza and sandwiches, all hand made to your order, while you watch and the food is wonderful. Sep 7, 2010
stredna   PA
whats up with non-standardized anchors at the City?! had a real experienced friend dropped as the rope ran through his balayers hands! guess you need a 70m rope to get off some climbs?! there was no note on anchor or clue to this anomaly anywhere! He is still recovering. Feb 2, 2011
Seriously? "Standardized anchors"? Sorry for your friends injury, but really?

I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you're screwing around. In which case, bravo. Feb 3, 2011
stredna- whats up with non-standardized anchors at the City?! had a real experienced friend dropped as the rope ran through his balayers hands! guess you need a 70m rope to get off some climbs?! there was no note on anchor or clue to this anomaly anywhere! He is still recovering.

standardized anchors?

"i'd love to finish this route up that beautiful patina face, however it exceeds a 60 meter rope length?"

i'm sorry to hear about your friend as well, but there are only two people to blame here.

as far as your clue goes, check the opening paragraphs of just about all city of rock guides, somewhere you will find something to the effect of: making a mistake when climbing can kill you. in recent years the most common mistake is lowering off fixed anchors. when in doubt tie into the end of the rope or tie a knot at the end. i think the Bingham guide even lists the most common routes to look out for?

you want another one? Mystery Bolter or Strategic Defense or Redtail or Just Say No
just read the descriptions.

as far as getting a clue goes? it doesn't take much to look at a route and say "wow, that looks really long" or "i can count at least 14 bolts, wonder if we have enough rope?"

best wishes for a full and fast recovery; its going to take twice as long for someone so experienced to heal from such a novice mistake. Feb 22, 2011
Dallas, TX
kovacs69   Dallas, TX
This will just get worse as ropes get smaller in diameter and longer in length. Years ago the 50 meter rope was standard now I see companies selling up to 100 meter ropes. When I go in June I am taking two 70 meter ropes knowing that one rope will be enough on much of what I am planning to climb but will be more than enough for those extra long rappels.

Also, mark the 1/2 way point on your ropes so your partner can tell when you are in too deep for just 1 rope.

JB Apr 1, 2011
Reading, VT
JeanGClimbs   Reading, VT
Looking for a level site to park VW pop-up camper van. Would like to be in the middle area near Bath Rock/Windows Arch, in the 30s or 40s. Anyone have beta about sites in a that are definitely NOT level or are likely good and level? Apr 13, 2011
Matt Brodhead
Logan, UT
Matt Brodhead   Logan, UT
Most of the sites are fine. I see campers all the time and everyone seems happy. Apr 17, 2011
randy baum
Minneapolis, MN
randy baum   Minneapolis, MN
is june a good time to visit? Jun 8, 2011
Bruce C. Anderson   Kuna, Id
June is a great time to come to the City of Rocks, not too hot in the day time, but a little chill at night, Great for a good nights sleep, with fantastic climbing the next day! Jun 10, 2011
Ryan Ray
Weatherford, TX
Ryan Ray   Weatherford, TX
what is the best most current guidebook to the city of rocks? I may be making a road trip to climb there at the end of june and would like to purchase the books in advance. Thanks. Jun 11, 2011
chongo pantz
park city, ut
chongo pantz   park city, ut
Dave Bingham's book is the one you want. The other "author" used it to write his version. Jul 19, 2011
Almost 50% of the bolts we clipped had loose hangers. Also on very new and modern routes? A wrench might be recommended standard equipment? At both Castle Rock and the City? Sep 2, 2011
Salt Lake City, Utah
Jamotron   Salt Lake City, Utah
at bumblie wall left a pair of white 5.10 ladies shoes with velcro straps and purple flower on the toe size 6.5-7 anybody seeen em? Sep 10, 2011
Can anyone confirm if Dave Bingham's current guide is Edition 7. The reason I ask is Amazon states it as being published in 2004 but I have read comments that the 2006 edition has better pictures and topo's for finding routes. I am wondering if they are the same edition. Is there any word of an updated edition coming out or any new guides of the area?

Total aside but is there any good places to swim in the area? Lakes, Rivers etc. Feb 8, 2012
chalk jockey
twin falls
chalk jockey   twin falls
Durfees hot springs. super nice. north end of almo. you can usually get in on the weekend nights, but open hours change seasonally so better call ahead 208-824-5701 or 208-824-5543. Apr 10, 2012
Jason Shumaker
Salt Lake City, Utah
Jason Shumaker   Salt Lake City, Utah
site 59 and 60 are labeled as 'walk in' they should change that to hike in. they are about a 1/4 mile from the parking area and vehicles are not allowed at the site. great spots for being secluded. May 21, 2012
How far is it to a grocery store & beer? We are camping for a week. Anything else we should know? It's next week - June 18. Can't wait! Jun 12, 2012
Doug Lintz
Kearney, NE
Doug Lintz   Kearney, NE
Less than 10 minutes if you're camping for free on the BLM land south of town. It's maybe 15 to 20 minutes depending on your campsite in the Reserve.

Rock City is a nice little store at the south end of town where you turn to drive up into CoR. They have plenty of beer and make pizza and sandwiches too. It's a nice place to hang out after a day of climbing. You can also access the wifi from the BLM office nearby. You'll need to register for it and they'll give you 30 minutes a day for free. Ask the people in the store for more details.

Enjoy. City of Rocks is sweet! Jun 14, 2012
W Viner  
Are there any access problems at City of Rocks due to the government shutdown? It looks as if some of the campsites are closed, are there any other restrictions? Oct 7, 2013
Bruce C. Anderson   Kuna, Id
Just called them and they said that only campsites 5-51 are open, and they have reduced the area that is open to the old state park boundries. There will be maps showing where you can go at the visitor's center Oct 7, 2013
Lucas Kramer 1
Duluth, MN
Lucas Kramer 1   Duluth, MN
I am thinking of trying to convince some friends to head to City mid March. Good idea? The post above says average daily temps of 50. "Feels-like" true? Gov't site says pleasant April through w/e.

Should I continue with my plan or choose somewhere else? Folks who have been there in March, thoughts? Seems like some climb year round, just want to get a better feel. Feb 5, 2014
Lucas I just spent tue-thur there (25th-27th). Tue was amazing weather, then a storm blew in and it was scattered snow for wed and thur. Bottom line this time of year is probably fine if the weather report for the area doesn't indicate a storm coming in. Mar 28, 2014
can anyone recommend campsites that are close to the majority of climbs? We have a pop-up camper and prefer not to break down camp every day and drive to climbs? Would a bike be a good idea to get to climbs?

thx. Apr 8, 2014
bheller   SL UT
With the exception of the Twin Sisters area and the upper elevation campsites (can't remember their names but they are the northern most sites) all major climbing areas are walkable from most any campsite- 40 minutes is probably the longest walk to get to an area you would come up against, and it would be a great walk. No bikes needed- the trails aren't overly bike friendly anyways. Apr 9, 2014
Seth Hogan
Frisco, Co
Seth Hogan   Frisco, Co
Is free car camping a viable option around City of Rocks? I live in my van and can't seem to find anything online about bear, or any wildlife, break-ins in the area. It just seems like there would be, especially if housing food etc... May 28, 2015
Matt Schroer
Logan, Utah
Matt Schroer   Logan, Utah
I lived in my car for ~4 months there back in '13. You should be totally fine, but take the normal precautions with food/wildlife. Jun 26, 2015
user id
user id   SMOGden, UT
Grounds for Coffee in Ogden.
Its just rIght around the corner. Apr 13, 2016
Kevin Heckeler
Las Vegas, NV
Kevin Heckeler   Las Vegas, NV
Impressions from an experienced mediocre East [wet] coast climber...

The moderates are [often very] soft. More often than not we would finish a climb and ask where the 5.7 or 5.8 move was. Nearly every climb felt a grade or even two easier.

The pizza at Rock City is decent. The homemade cookies at the store with gas were awesome. Prices were reasonable on goods despite being pretty far off the beaten path.

Camping was hit/miss depending on the number of rowdy/inconsiderate dipshits were nearby (or camped next to a rock feature that amplified their post-quiet hours nonsense).

Firewood from the place with the sign about .5 miles up the dirt road was top quality. $5 /bundle. Their dogs will come out for a belly rub. Rubs are free [we missed our dog].

Despite the afternoon showers and storms every day we still managed a lot of climbing. Get up early, stay on East coast time, and beat everyone to the crag.

I've visited many places now out West and this ranks as one of my favorite easy access climbing areas. Aug 11, 2017
Any updates on the closure is it "everything" north of twin sisters? What about elephant rock? Jun 26, 2018
Mike Engle
Pocatello, Idaho
Mike Engle   Pocatello, Idaho  
The Access Alert is accurate and current. CRAG is working to restore access to the crags north of Twin Sisters but nothing to report yet. Most of City of Rocks remains open with no known access issues or threats including Elephant Rock. Jun 26, 2018
Boissal .
Small Lake, UT
Boissal .   Small Lake, UT
North of the Twin Sisters when only looking at the cluster of crags which are more or less connected with the sisters and are accessed via the Twin Sisters road: White Lightning, Skinner Roof, Weather Wall, Yellow Wall, Larry's Annihilation, Needle Rock, Mississippi Fred's, and Secret Tom's.
Most crags which are north of the Sisters but are accessed via the main COR roads aren't subject to closures. Aug 14, 2018
Rachel Harman
Santa Cruz, CA
Rachel Harman   Santa Cruz, CA
Thinking about heading there mid October...is it too cold by then? Aug 20, 2018
Im thinking of heading up there in October. Anyone know what the conditions are like? Aug 25, 2018
Hey folks: considering a trip during early August. Will it be too hot to climb? Or can we find morning shade before things heat up? (Never been there before...) Thanks! Apr 30, 2019 · Temporary Report
maggie-girl Wenski
Mammoth Lakes, CA
maggie-girl Wenski   Mammoth Lakes, CA
Are dogs allowed at City of Rocks?? In the climbing areas? 4 days ago
Greg Gavin
Greg Gavin   SLC, UT
Yes dogs are allowed everywhere in the City, but need to be on leash at all times. 3 days ago
Any beta on having one car over the campground site limit of 2? I know there's enough space at our site, and should be plenty at the main parking areas, but I'd like to avoid a ticket. I left a message with the park but haven't heard back. Thanks! 3 days ago
Richard Dingman
Montague, MA
Richard Dingman   Montague, MA
New to the area, what last-minute primitive self-contained camping possibilities are there in next 2 weeks? Have car so don't need to camp too close to climbs. Thanks much!! Richard 2 days ago · Temporary Report