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Elevation: 6,900 ft 2,103 m
GPS: 38.6296, -105.223
Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 2,348,432 total · 8,241/month
Shared By: Kreighton Bieger on Dec 31, 2000 · Updates
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC

Description Suggest change

Shelf Road is home to many quality sport routes on quality, vertical limestone. The area has recently been improved with the addition of a few new crags. Rock & Ice #103 [October 2000] (the one with Josune Bereziartu on the cover) has a mini-guide to the new areas, which are not yet covered in any guidebook. The other good guides are Shelf Road Rock by Fred Knapp and Rock Climbing Shelf Road by Mark Van Horn.

Rick Thompson and Bob D'Antonio both recently published updated guidebooks (2018). 

Getting There Suggest change

To get to Shelf, travel to Canon City. From Boulder, it is fastest to go I-25 to Colorado Springs, then take the exit for Canon City (beware this is tough to spot - it is poorly marked, if you miss it, exit in the south part of town and travel west until you intersect CO Highway 115). Travel SW on CO 115 to US Hwy 50, then west about 10 miles to Canon City. In Canon City, take a right at the first light past the Wal-Mart (Dozier St), or take a right at the next light which is Reynolds. Travel north and the road will curve to the left and intersect Field (not Fields as Knapp says) Avenue.

Turn north on Field and travel on this weird two lane road for about five miles, when it joins up with Fremont County Road 9 via a 'Y' type intersection. From here, it is 9.4 miles to the entrance to Shelf Road, which is marked with a sign indicating as much.

There are two BLM-administered camping locations at Shelf Road. The lower area, Sand Gulch, has 29 individual campsites and 2 group camping sites. The upper area at The Bank has 33 individual campsites and 2 group camping sites.

*Individual campsites are $20/night and accommodate 8-10 people. The group campsites are $40/night and accommodate up to 20 people.

*All sites should be booked at Recreation.gov. Do not expect to find a site without a reservation.

NEW as of March 2021: there is new Recreation.gov information and Bank campground updates (Rec.gov was moved last March). We encourage all prospective Shelf campers to use Rec.gov to reserve their sites. We want to encourage everyone to not rely on expecting a site when they arrive and instead to plan accordingly and book a site! Our campgrounds have been at capacity nearly every nice weather weekend, and people shouldn't just expect to find an available site and instead should reserve one.

Thanks,
Sean Reynolds, Outdoor Recreation Planner, Royal Gorge Field Office, 719-269-8500.

Just before you arrive at Shelf Road, you'll pass Sand Gulch campground on your left, behind a red BLM gate. Close the gate as you pass through. This is quality, spacious camping and access to the Sand Gulch area, home to many moderates about a 15 minute walk from the campground. There is day use parking at the northwest end of the campground, and overflow parking at the north end, where the Freeform trail begins.

To access the Bank parking area and campground, continue down Shelf Road and it is on the left. The North End is reached by continuing straight down Shelf Road. Consult Knapp, Van Horn, and the R&I mini-guide for more details. We found some disagreement in route ratings, listings and general details between Knapp and Van Horn, but both books are well done and easy to follow.

Camping Restrictions

*Wood cutting is not permitted in this area. Please bring your own firewood.

Mountain Shops

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Per Chris Oshiro: Red Canyon Cycles on 420 Main Street has climbing gear and is a great one stop shop for beta, beer, or a coffee.

Per Evan C: The Bean Pedaler on Main also sells climbing gear as well as coffee / breakfast burritos. It's more of a bike shop, but they do have a small climbing section as well.

Per Sally Jane E: Cafe Belay has climbing gear at 1707 Fremont Drive, in the strip mall in front of City Market.

Per courtney.vogt Higher Limits at 224 Main St. Per saracasey casey it is no longer open.

Facilities

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Per Doug Lintz: Vault toilets at both campgrounds and another near the old parking lot for the Gem/Cactus Cliff area. In other words...convenient.

Marijuana

Suggest change
Though Colorado has passed Amendment 64 to legalize recreational marijuana use and limited quantity possession, the U.S. Justice Department issued a memo to federal prosecutors that the government would still "aggressively enforce" laws to prevent violations in eight areas of concern involving the drug including possession on federal property. To this point, Shelf Road has landowners that include the federal government. Be aware of where you are if you choose to use.

1,280 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Shelf Road

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 409
Ga-stoned Again
Sport
Gym
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
 467
jasonbecker.com
Sport
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 474
Suburbia
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 322
Enchanted Porkfist
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 430
Funkdemental
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 280
I Claudius
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 587
Muscle Beach
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 297
Regroovable
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 342
Lime Street
Sport
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
 319
The Raw and the Roasted
Sport
Gym
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 278
Back to the Future
Sport
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 262
Unusual Weather
Sport
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
 407
Lats Don't Have Feelings
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 244
Freeform
Sport
5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a
 222
Heavy Weather
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Ga-stoned Again Gym
 409
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
jasonbecker.com Bank > 01. Piggy Bank
 467
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b Sport
Suburbia Sand Gulch > Contest Wall
 474
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Enchanted Porkfist Dark Side
 322
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Funkdemental Cactus Cliff > E Cactus Cliff Far Ri…
 430
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
I Claudius Cactus Cliff > E Cactus Cliff Far Ri…
 280
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Muscle Beach Cactus Cliff > B. Cactus Cliff Left…
 587
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Regroovable Sand Gulch > Contest Wall
 297
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Lime Street Bank > 10. 2150 Wall
 342
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
The Raw and the Roasted Gym
 319
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Sport
Back to the Future Bank > 07. Back To The Future
 278
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Unusual Weather Bank > 06. Surreal Estate
 262
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Lats Don't Have Feelings Cactus Cliff > B. Cactus Cliff Left…
 407
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
Freeform Sand Gulch > Free Form Wall
 244
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Heavy Weather Bank > 06. Surreal Estate
 222
5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a Sport
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