Access Issue: Falcon Closures from February 1st until July 15th Details


One of Arizona's premiere trad climbing areas, Granite Mountain features beautiful white fine-grained granite and many wonderful routes in a high desert wilderness area. You're not likely to see too many other climbers here either, but you will see plenty of awesome cracks and beautiful natural lines.

Getting There

Granite Mountain resides just northwest of the city of Prescott. Head out of town on Iron Springs Road to the Granite Basin Rec. Area turnoff (right turn), follow this approx. four miles to either the Playa or Metate Day Use Area parking lots. This is PAVED all the way to the trailheads, so any vehicle is fine.

Approach Hike

Take Trail 261 (Granite Mountain Trail) up to a trail junction at a green metal gate (1.7 mi). Head right (stay on 261) and continue up the main trail through a few mellow switchbacks. As you get closer to the area below the Swamp Slabs, you will run into a couple of big switchbacks as the trail starts to climb more. The first usually has rocks stacked in front or near it (to keep people from going that way), but people keep moving those and heading off into oblivion (manzanita, boulders, cactus, no trail). After that first switchback, continue up to the next one and look for a big patch of prickly pear down and right of the turn in the trail (~2 mi). The climber's trail up to the wall heads off here. The trail weaves around a lot and sometimes goes up and over stacks of boulders, so keep your eyes open and you should see it. Things have been deteriorating over the last years as climbers simply bore new trails instead of working to spot the fairly established route.

Note: Take the distances above as rough estimates (reasonably accurate for the Playa TH). I know of at least three potential starts to the approach, depending on where you park (Playa or Metate TH) and which trails you take to get there.

There's a great map of this in Bill Cramer's 2000 one-sheet guide
 to Granite Mountain that would be a helluva lot easier to follow
 than any text description. Go buy one!

Descent Options

There are probably many ways to get back down from the top of the cliff, but the main options are as follows:

Swamp Slabs:
Scramble across the top of the cliff line, past the obvious large alligator juniper atop the Debut area, then continue along the top for a big until you see a large boulder perched on the slabs down and left. Downclimb and friction scramble down and across in front (below) this boulder and down to ground in the bushes below, then follow a fairly worn path that takes you through bushes, trees and boulders (some downclimbing) back down to Pine Tree Ledge.

The Bowl:
This is roughly the area between Magician to around Green Savior or so. See Swamp Slabs descent.

Middle Section:
From around Green Savior to the Flying Buttress. If you started from Pine Tree Ledge area for some reason, see Swamp Slabs descent. If your stuff is over on the Front Porch, scramble across the top of the cliffline over to where you can scramble down to the start of the Coke Bottle Rappel route (above the Flying Buttress). Watch the first rappel as it is longer than half of most 60m ropes (~108 feet or so).

I've been told you can rappel from the station below the Great Roof down Candyland with a single 60m rope. I have not verified that. There are also stations for the first two pitches of Coatimundi Whiteout that can be rappelled. Not sure about one rope or two on those and have not heard from anyone who's done it.

Flying Buttress:
If you top out via Beaver Cleaver or High Exposure Exit, do the Coke Bottle Rappels (see below). If you decide to call it a day from the top of the Flying Buttress, you can scramble around the right side via ledges for routes that end below (Nose, Cat's PJ's, Said and Done, etc.). For routes that you end somewhere on the top edge of the FB, you can scramble down to a hole over below the outside end, but it's a little dicey getting to the ledge below that leads to the second Coke Bottle Rappel. The last guy I saw do it placed a piece to help protect the last move down to the ledge.

Coke Bottle Rappel Route:
As mentioned, this rappel setup starts above High Exposure Exit and Beaver Cleaver from anchors on a "single" boulder overlooking the Flying Buttress. Watch the first rappel as it is longer than half of most 60m ropes (~108 feet or so). It is up to you to negotiate this possible shortage safely and is an exercise I leave to you to figure out for yourself.

Rap 1: Approximately 108 feet from the top of the cliff to a ledge down off the side of the top of the Flying Buttress.

Rap 2: Rappel approximately 85 feet down the Coke Bottle Route to another ledge off the side of the Little Brother Buttress. There is an anchor on rappeller's right behind a large pine tree.

Rap 3: Rappel approximately 95 feet to the bottom of the wall. You can also rappel about 65 feet down to a large ledge atop the first Coke Bottle Pitch and then rappel again from there to the ground (~30 feet) if you're worried that your rope is short. Either way, watch the ends of your rope.

Right Side:
This would be from roughly Falling Ross over to Easy Chair. For routes ending over to around the top of Granite Jungle, you can easily scramble over to the Coke Bottle rappels. There are also some new raps that have been set up with anchors atop The Face, according to Bill Cramer's excellent one-sheet guide. One allows rappelling with TWO ROPES down the Soft Walk/Thin Slice/Pete's Thanks area. The other starts atop Bleak Streak and you can do three single-line raps down to the base with a 60m rope. Portions of Granite Jungle are rappellable from various slings starting at the base of the last pitch.

If you climb Jump Back Jack or Easy Chair, or you'd rather not bother with rapping, just scramble down the right side, threading through boulders and bushes, make a small rightward curl to hit the top of a gully to the right of Easy Chair and descend from there to the base of the wall.


There's a campground (Yavapai CG) right there in Granite Basin approximately 2.1 miles from Iron Springs Road (left side on the way in). There are lots of nice sites there, running about $18/night for a regular site.

More info here: Yavapai Campground

102 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Granite Mountain

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Trad 2 pitches
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
High Exposure Exit
Trad, Sport
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Dislocation Direct
Trad 2 pitches
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
The Classic
Trad 3 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Chiêu Hôi
Trad 3 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Magnolia Thunderpussy
Trad 3 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Crack Lover's Variation
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Coatimundi / Candyland LInkup
Trad 4 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Said and Done
Trad 3 pitches
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Trad 4 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13
Trad 5 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
The Slammer Jam
Trad 5 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Trad 5 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
The Hotline (aka Hiccup Delux)
Trad 3 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Coatimundi Whiteout
Trad 5 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Debut Swamp Slabs
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Trad 2 pitches
High Exposure Exit Middle Section
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad, Sport
Dislocation Direct Swamp Slabs
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad 2 pitches
The Classic Middle Section
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 3 pitches
Chiêu Hôi Right Section
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 3 pitches
Magnolia Thunderpussy Middle Section
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 3 pitches
Crack Lover's Variation Middle Section
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 2 pitches
Coatimundi / Candyland LInkup Middle Section
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 4 pitches
Said and Done Middle Section
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad 3 pitches
Reunion Middle Section
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad 4 pitches
Kingpin Middle Section
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13 Trad 5 pitches
The Slammer Jam Middle Section
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad 5 pitches
Candyland Middle Section
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad 5 pitches
The Hotline (aka Hiccup Delux) Middle Section
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad 3 pitches
Coatimundi Whiteout Middle Section
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad 5 pitches
More Classic Climbs in Granite Mountain »

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season
if you climb 5.9 try a 5.7 at GM the lines are all well worth their grade Jan 2, 2007
Olaf Mitchell
Paia, Maui, Hi,
Olaf Mitchell   Paia, Maui, Hi,
There isn't much in the way of feed back for such a great area.
Years ago while on a desert climbing tour, I visited this area and camped on what was known to us as the "front porch"a large ledge that overlooked miles of desert. At the base of an overhanging cliff there was an obvious fire pit that had to have been used for centries.My question is has anyone else built a fire in this pit and what did you see illuminated on the face of that overhang! The image we saw was ere enough that we moved our camp that night! This image has haunted me for over 25 years!
The climbing was great and I have always thought that I should make a return visit.

Jun 14, 2007
Olaf - You have certainly made me very curious. What did you see illuminated in the overhang? Aug 20, 2007
C Miller   CA  
Bill Cramer has an excellent topo guide to Granite Mountain and the surrounding area; perhaps contact him to pick up copy.

See the books section in the upper left corner of the Granite Mountain page (this page actually). Aug 22, 2007
max gibbons
max gibbons   AZ y TO
If you climb 5.9 but can't climb 5.9 at GM then you probably don't climb 5.9. Apr 20, 2009
Nate Young
Nate Young   Phoenix
GRANITE MOUNTAIN IS CLOSED UNTIL JULY 15th! If you're planning a trip out here be sure you do not plan on going until next fall when it's not ridiculously hot. Peregrine falcon nesting and whatnot :( Feb 12, 2012
A "Left Section" could be added here to separate routes like Mongolia Thunder Pussy and Green Savior as the aren't really approached from the middle. Getting to these routes was probably easiest by going to the swamp slabs and then traversing on the pine tree ledge. Oct 25, 2012
Austin Sobotka
Tucson, AZ
Austin Sobotka   Tucson, AZ
some more detailed info on the approach/raps would be awesome. there doesnt seem to actually be any trail until you're about halfway to the wall from 261. we topped out in the dark and could absolutely not find any raps (i checked every spot that i could get to and back up safely un-roped). ended up walking off which took four hours (once again if there is an actual trail info would be appreciated) we ran into two cairns which were seemingly random as they didnt point towards any clear path at all. Nov 26, 2012
Brian Prince
morro bay, ca
Brian Prince   morro bay, ca
The one time I've been here and topped out (on candyland), I couldn't find the coke bottle raps either. Just kept walking climbers right and found a gully/the side of the cliff that appeared to have a trail going down it. Eventually lost that.. It didn't take that long to get back to the base (no longer than 45 minutes) but there was a lot of sharp plants to walk through. Feb 8, 2013
Coke raps are at the end of "Classic" on a large dinner table size boulder. Easy to find if you look for the prominent "flying buttress" in the center of the crag. Feb 9, 2013
The Classic route ends atop the Flying Buttress. You can scramble/downclimb from the top down to a ledge below the south side to link up with the Coke Bottle rappel route (this is tricky - be careful). The first rappel anchor is found on a large boulder above the Flying Buttress on top of the wall where Beaver Cleaver and High Exposure Exit top out. That first rappel is a long one (longer than most 60m ropes) so plan carefully.

Falcon bans are currently in place until approx. July 15th, 2013. Feb 11, 2013
Kevin Kent
Flagstaff, AZ
Kevin Kent   Flagstaff, AZ
Went here for the first time this weekend and it was awesome. A little beta on the parking/gates locking though.

The sign at the trailhead says the gates lock at 5pm (which had been changed to 7pm when we got back!). Not knowing if our car would be locked in overnight we asked a local who was about to go on a hike who said they were strict about locking the gate and that we should be out by 5.
So our day was a little shorter that originally planned, but as we were driving out around 4, we saw the campground hosts who said they only lock the entry gate!

So I guess the point is don't trust the locals and don't worry about your car getting locked in when the gate "closes." Jan 26, 2014
manuel rangel
manuel rangel   Arizona
Has anyone seen information on Peregrine falcons at Granite Mountain and Thumb Butte? I have asked the Community Trust Fund and Prescott National Forest for information concerning the data collected over the past seven years as noted in the PNF site.

I am all for sensible study and application of regulations based on the data found. I climb near birds and stay away when appropriate. Many other climbing areas institute a rational policy.

Hopefully this is a good step forward. May 27, 2014
Prescott, AZ
ZachDKing   Prescott, AZ
Does anyone know what will end up happening this coming season now that Peregrines are off the endangered species list?? Jul 4, 2015
Peregrine Omelettes! Finally! Jul 10, 2015
Phoenix & Prescott, AZ
arjunmh   Phoenix & Prescott, AZ
Birds are in good shape and happy to see climbers back on the wall. Trail and vegetation are not, however. The rains have not served the trail well and the veg is out of control. Post-fire underbrush that makes is hard to get anywhere around the base of the cliff. Unfortunate as the rock has survived another closure and is as stellar as ever! Bring your clippers, try to stay on the "established" trail and hopefully it'll all be navigable soon. Ideas for how to make the trail worthy of the climbing area that it leads to? i.e. world class. Access Fund? Directed volunteer effort (count me in)? Diplomatic lobbying with the USFS (please don't respond sarcastically, I retain hope)? Jul 24, 2015
Greg Opland    
The trail over to the Front Porch should be okay as always. Gets a little grassy, but the season should knock that back down just fine. At least that's my experience from the last couple years. The fire didn't really do much damage to the trail over there.

On the other hand, the fire pretty much wiped out the trail up to the Swamp Slabs, and the time since has done nothing to help that out (lots of braided crap). An effort should be made to mark out an approach trail for that side, and try to keep people on it so it can be followed and become established. Just my $0.02. I'd be willing to help with such an effort. Jul 24, 2015
Marcy -
Tempe/Tuscon, AZ
Marcy -   Tempe/Tuscon, AZ
I'd love to help out as well. Maybe the PCC has already been thinking about this? Sign me up. Jul 24, 2015
Cave Creek/Preskitt, AZ
MacM   Cave Creek/Preskitt, AZ
In an effort to try to keep individuals from getting lost and/or making "new" trails on the mountain's approach, please find a link to a .gpx file that can be put into any device to help you out.

GM Approach to Front Porch

In response to Marcy's comment, the PCC would very much like to help out the GM area as much as possible. It is definitely in our minds and everyone will sure know about any opportunity to volunteer as soon as it's available!

Mac Aug 31, 2015
Greg Opland    
I didn't have any issues following the regular climber's trail over to the Front Porch. It didn't seem to have that much damage to it most of the way, but the Swamp Slabs trail is a complete mess last time I saw it.

I've heard the Forest Service is sort of against the idea of cairning or marking a path to establish a trail, but if that doesn't happen, then all the braided damage from the main climber's trail over to the Swamp Slabs is just going to get worse. I would think a lightly marked trail would steer everyone to the same path and once a trail is established, the markers could be removed and the flora could go back without getting stomped on.

The entire area has had enough of a pounding by the fire and will never recover in our lifetimes (and maybe never ever with climate change). Would sure be nice to see a little care go into making some attempt to re-establishing a single path to the Swamp Slabs so the rest of that area can start healing. Sep 1, 2015
great video Rusty....may the mountain remain a sacred venue to all those who choose to make the pilgrimage! Dec 15, 2015
Phoenix & Prescott, AZ
arjunmh   Phoenix & Prescott, AZ
As the mountain opens up again to climbing, I have a request for help in gathering data. I've had a productive meeting with the USFS and am encouraged about working with them. If you can send me by personal email (, or obviously clicking on my MP name) your observations on Peregrine presence and behavior, I can help the USFS compile and collect some very important data on how they're doing. Specifically, date and time and location of where you see Peregrines, as well as how many, and what sort of behavior their displaying (annoyed, curious, indifferent). Flying or sitting? Nest siting? Prey remains? Egg shells? Whitewash (poop streaks)? I'll be putting together a map of these kinds of specific observations as well as a time line of when they were made over the coming months and we'll be working on getting a better and more quantitative sense of how these birds are doing. The hope is to work on a partial or an adaptive closure strategy for Granite Mountain, but this has to be data driven and we can all help to collect that data. Thank you! Jul 20, 2016
Phoenix & Prescott, AZ
arjunmh   Phoenix & Prescott, AZ
Climbing Alternatives for Granite Mountain During Closure (Feb. 1st to July 15th)
While there are few comparable multi-pitch, old-school, traditionally protected granite climbing areas nearby, there are numerous other excellent climbing alternatives to explore during the falcon closure. A selection is noted below:

First, there are other granite crags near the main cliff have good climbing:
a) Lizard Head: Rough, weathered granite, but a cool outing and many more routes than those listed on Mountain Project:…
b) Waves of Rock: Clean granite, easy climbing, great location, easy trail in:…
c) Portal Pass: Also nice rock, easy trail, but routes not posted yet. Look at the Cramer foldout guide for some and keep looking at this MP site:…
d) Continuing up the trail to the Granite Mtn. summit there are numerous other climbing areas that are not affected by the closure, but route information is harder to come by.

Second, the Granite Dells offer endless climbs with a guidebook reputed to be coming out soon that will detail about 1000 climbs on the various granite formation. Ratings range from easy to very hard and the rock quality varies similarly. Until the new guide comes out, check the Falcon Guide by Stewart Green, “Rock Climbing Arizona” for some routes. And, MP:…

Next, good trad climbing (single pitch) that will help keep you in shape for the next season.
a) Sullivan’s Canyon: a wide variety of single pitch routes in weathered basalt relatively close by. Easy to challenging climbing and quite varied rock quality. Route finding helped by the sketch map on MP:…
b) Farther afield, but still an easy day trip from Prescott, there’s the popular basalt canyon, Paradise Forks, with many single pitch routes ranging from moderate to extremely challenging. Access is easy and routes are reasonable to locate with a little scouting and a bit of time on MP:…
c) Only 15 minutes further from Prescott on only slightly more difficult dirt roads is the much more impressive and less frequented area of Volunteer Canyon. It too is a “rap in – climb out” setting, but the routes are significantly less frequented and are the area sees much less traffic. All this makes it a great alternative for Granite Mountain. Better yet, it’s climbable all summer!…

Lastly, but back closer to Prescott, is the extremely fun, mostly sport climbing area of The Promised Land. It’s mainly bolted quartzite – the same rock that Isolation Canyon is made of – and offers extremely fun climbing at a wide range of grades. Relatively easy access, though a high clearance vehicle is definitely needed, and a gorgeous setting makes this a great summer area.…

Of course, there’s Sedona, but that’s another story and you likely know it already. Mar 11, 2017
Phoenix & Prescott, AZ
arjunmh   Phoenix & Prescott, AZ
I guess I haven't been on MP much lately and forgot to post an update on this past Spring's falcon monitoring on Granite Mtn. I and a couple of Prescott College students who were doing independent studies with me spent quite a lot of time observing the falcons here and on Thumb Butte. Both students wrote up their reports and presented them to Noel Fletcher and wildlife biologist colleague at USFS. Both reports were extremely valuable in noting clearly where the birds are nesting and what their behavior is like during the mating and nesting season. The students also incorporated a couple decades worth of data collected by Steve Munsell and he was invaluable in sharing his insights and observations on the mountain as well. We also had many informal observers share their input during this process.

The upshot is that I was able to report that two young peregrines successfully fledged on Granite Mountain this past season, which is just fantastic! I haven't seen all of them all together over the past few weeks of climbing up there since the mountain opened for climbing, but prior to that I had a great set of observations of the young and parent(s) on and around the mountain. The students had finished their semester by then and moved on to other adventures for the summer. Many thanks to them for their studies and hopefully they or others will be able to continue such independent studies with me next year. In the meantime, I'll be meeting further with Noel and planning how best to incorporate such data into the USFS management plan. Aug 12, 2017
Stashed some cams near the front porch New Years weekend. My buddy and I felt sick the next day and couldn't return till the day after and they were gone. I guess I should've hid them better. If someone has them let me know Jan 4, 2018
The Falcon Closure is Feb1st - July 15th....Not sure how to update this on MP but I had to learn the hard way by the ranger even after contacting their office and being told it was indeed Feb, 2nd. Them falcons better breed :) Feb 1, 2018
Greg Opland    
I'm not sure how the citation above said Feb 2nd, but I would never have put that in there.
It's always been Feb 1st to July 15th. Feb 1, 2018
GabrielKoybz   Brooklyn
Good to know.… Feb 15, 2018
Phoenix & Prescott, AZ
arjunmh   Phoenix & Prescott, AZ
Glad to report that two young falcons are gracing the cliffs, having successfully fledged a couple weeks ago. They are full on into their aerial acrobatics now and in great health. This is the second successful season in a row of two new falcons being born and taught to fly on the mountain. Good news indeed! This year the nest is on the 2nd pitch of CW Hicks, just above the off-width roof, so once the mountain is open be especially cautious if climbing Magnolia, Hassayampa or any of the climbs in "The Bowl". Jul 8, 2018