Google Map · Climbing Area Map
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This climbing area is shared with raptors that nest on the cliffs. Help us maintain access and please avoid climbing near active nests/ledges that raptors are using. If a raptor is disturbed during nesting season it may exhibit aggressive defensive behaviors like vocalizing or dive-bombing. If you witness this behavior, retreat from your climb immediately and find a location on a different formation or a different part of the wall far enough away from the raptors that they are no longer noticeably agitated. If they remain agitated, then please leave the area immediately.
Raptor awareness is especially important during nesting season from mid-February to late May but needs to be considered through the end of August. Please report disturbed and/or nesting raptors to the Carson National Forest the appropriate district office (see below) and share relevant information here on MP. Human-raptor encounters can have negative impacts for the birds and climbers in the area. The Cason NF wants to maintain climbing access while protecting raptor reproduction and relies on climbers to recreate responsibly and share information in order to avoid the need for formal raptor closures.
Questa Ranger District
Camino Real (Comales Canyon) Ranger District
Tres Piedras Ranger District
El Rito Ranger District
Chock full of conglomerate fun, there are three primary climbing sections around the town of El Rito, NM. The El Rito Sport Area, the El Rito Traditional Area and Little River Wall a bit west of the town of El Rito. The climbing at all the areas is really fun with lots of great pockets and cobbles to pull on.
The sport area contains well protected, cobblestone sport climbing with routes up to 5.13. If you have ever been to Maple Canyon in Utah, this place is very similar, but not quite as steep, and the area is not nearly as large.
The "trad" area has less steep, moderate, two-pitch routes up to 200' tall and is a great area for the beginning traditional climber to learn his or her skills.
The Little River Wall offers mostly moderate routes up to 90' tall on a large fin of rock in a wonderful setting right next to the El Rito (a small river.)
The Drunk Wall is a seldom visited, small shady conglomerate area with only four routes. There is a little bit of potential for more rotues for the adventurous.
An extensive online guidebook is also available for this for the sport and trad areas.
- Online guide: El Rito Sport Climbing PDF - Updated November 2014
- "Taos Rock Climbs & Boulders of Northern New Mexico" by Jay Foley, Sharp End Books, 2005.
- "Rock Climbing: New Mexico" by Dennis Jackson, Falcon.
To get to the El Rito sport and trad climbing areas travel north on FR 44 from El Rito. At the intersection for road 248 stay to the right (the sign for 248 was in the middle of the fork and unclear which road was 248 and which was FR 44). Continue on FR44, you will pass spur road 44A on the left. Park here for the sport area.
To reach the trad area, go about .6 miles further on FR44 and you will come to an unmarked road on the left. This is the road to the trad area. Take this left and drive about a mile until you get to the gate mentioned in the guide book and park on the right (obvious parking area). High clearance is necessary, or walk the road where it starts to get bad (it will take less than 30 minutes). A cairned trail leads east toward the trad cliff.
For directions to the Little River Wall, see the main Little River Wall area page.
Pack Out Your Used Toilet Paper (Leave No Trace ethics)
No toilet paper fairy
Classic Climbing Routes at El Rito
Days w Precip