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Areas in Canon City

Phantom Canyon 0 / 37 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 37
Shelf Road 44 / 972 / 7 / 16 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1020
Table Mountain South 0 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5

Introduction

Cañon City, is located at the mouth of the Royal Gorge in the foothills of the Rockies, 100 miles from Denver, 45 miles southwest of Colorado Springs, and 35 miles west of Pueblo. The Arkansas River extends the entire 60-mile length of Fremont County and flows through the City of Canon City. The Canon City metropolitan area has a total population in excess of 30,000.

Sheltered in a beautiful valley, Cañon City, elev. 5,343 feet, features a mild and hospitable climate year round. Canon City is said to be in the banana belt of Colorado, seeing very few days of extreme weather each year. The warm days are cooled by temperate evenings. Snowfall is usually light and quickly melts under the warm Colorado sunshine that prevails over 325 days a year. Humidity remains comfortably low throughout the year. "Indian Summer" reaches long into the fall, with warm, sunny days and cool, pleasant nighttime temperatures.

With all this going for it, you can understand why Shelf Road is one of the most popular Winter, Fall and Spring sport climbing destinations not only in Colorado but the country.

Also, one of the main sources of economy for the town is the penitentiary systems here. Beware of picking up hitchhikers!

The Royal Gorge has interesting potential (unclear access issues) with rock walls to 1000 feet and ice drips that drop to the river. At one point, there was a 1000 foot bolted 5.10 created for a specific competition.

Getting There

Cañon City is located on US 50 west of Pueblo, Colorado, approximately 50 miles from Pueblo, 45 miles from Colorado Springs (1h) and 115 miles from Denver (2h).

Map of Cañon City.

Resources

If you are climbing at Shelf Road, there is plenty of camping available. However it can get pretty cold during the winter. If you want a real bed to sleep in check out these options:

Budget Host Royal Gorge Inn
217 N. Raynolds Ave.
Cañon City, CO 81212
719-269-1100

Located on Rt. 50 by Burger King, right at the turnoff to Shelf Road. It's a nice, clean motel, with refrigerators in the rooms, HBO on TV, and an indoor pool, hot tub, and sauna. In March, rates were $65/night for a room with 2 queen beds ($60 for AAA members).

There are lots of other motels in town (Super 8, Best Western, etc.)

Beer:
You can buy beer and wine at Gateway Liquors located at, 3055 E US Highway 50 #A. They are situated across from Wal-Mart, about 2 blocks from the Budget Host Motel.

Breakfast places:
Try the Waffle Wagon, a local place that's only open for breakfast and lunch. They are at 1310 Royal Gorge Blvd (US 50). Also the Bufmack Cafe, at 325 Main Street. Both places are decent, local breakfast places with good prices for egg, pancake, and waffle breakfasts. Just the sort of thing to stock up on before heading to Shelf Road and a day of pulling pockets!

Dinner places:

Try the Wild West Steak House, at 3245 E US 50. They have good beer on tap, and free salted peanuts in the shell in a metal bucket; you throw the shells on the floor. Good for steak, prime rib, ribs, shrimp dishes. Has a salad bar.

Pizza Madness has good pizza, but it is limited for beer. Domino's Pizza is always an option as well.

There are good Mexican (El Caporal) and Italian (Merlino's Belvedere) restaurants in town. See the new Shelf Road guidebook for info.

Ice Cream:

There is still a Baskin Robbins on US 50.

Weather

You can try NOAA for info.

1,062 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Canon City

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 187
Enchanted Porkfist
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 139
Lime Street
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 110
Silverado
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 141
Illegal Smile
Sport
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
 164
The Raw and the Roasted
Sport
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 125
No Passion for Fashion
Sport
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 164
Back To The Future
Sport
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 147
Unusual Weather
Sport
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
 257
Lats Don't Have Feelings
Sport
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
 123
Gravitations
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 94
The Gym Arete
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 134
Freeform
Sport
5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a
 126
Heavy Weather
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 84
Tits Up
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 85
The Hurricane
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Enchanted Porkfist Shelf Rd > Dark Side
 187
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Lime Street Shelf Rd > Bank
 139
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Silverado Shelf Rd > Sand Gulch > Contest Wall
 110
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Illegal Smile Shelf Rd > Cactus Cliff
 141
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
The Raw and the Roasted Shelf Rd > Gym
 164
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Sport
No Passion for Fashion Shelf Rd > Gallery > Menses Prow
 125
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Back To The Future Shelf Rd > Bank
 164
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Unusual Weather Shelf Rd > Bank
 147
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Lats Don't Have Feelings Shelf Rd > Cactus Cliff
 257
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
Gravitations Shelf Rd > Cactus Cliff
 123
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
The Gym Arete Shelf Rd > Gym
 94
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Freeform Shelf Rd > Sand Gulch > Free Form Wall
 134
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Heavy Weather Shelf Rd > Bank
 126
5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a Sport
Tits Up Shelf Rd > Cactus Cliff
 84
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
The Hurricane Shelf Rd > Spiney Ridge
 85
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
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Photos

After living here five years, finally got to go climbing on the Contest Wall. Thank you Mike and Noah for letting a 48 year old grandma see she still has rock in her blood. Try Big Daddys on 50 for breakfast and Good Thyme Cafe on main and 5th, for great vegan. Visit me at Celtic Chrysalis (5th and Macon) if you're around. I gotta go out there again soon. That last climb I whiffed on is haunting me. lol Aug 21, 2006
Does anyone know of any bouldering spots near Canon City? Apr 12, 2007
Randy Carmichael
Boulder, CO
Randy Carmichael   Boulder, CO
Does anyone know the name of the small crag along the Arkansas River 2.5 miles West of Cotopaxi? There are several bolted climbs on the crag. Nov 21, 2007
Adam Caimi
CANON CITY, CO
Adam Caimi   CANON CITY, CO
I don't know if that place west of Cotopaxi has a name. We always call it "the place near Cotopaxi". I believe these routes were put up by the rafting outfitter nearby called Rock and Row. They offer climbing/rafting trips and this little area is their climbing place.
I believe there are 4-5 routes from the 5.9 to 5.10+ range. Literally right off US Hwy 50, this is a convenient place to do some quick climbs. Oct 23, 2008
Adam Caimi
CANON CITY, CO
Adam Caimi   CANON CITY, CO
Bouldering near Canon...There are the boulders at Bootlegger, west up US Hwy 50. They are listed here under "Arkansas River Boulders".
Also, heading out to Shelf, before the road crosses 4-Mile Creek, you'll see a little turn out on the left. Park here and walk across the road and up a little hill, there is a nice sized boulder near the top with a few good problems on it. Oct 23, 2008
Shelf Road Rock: A Complete Climbing Reference is now available as a high-res printable eBook for only $12.95. sharpendbooks.com/prod.php?… Jan 6, 2011


LOST DOG. Please help me find Maddox. He was last seen with a red and blue sweater on in the Bank campsites. Please, if you have any information, call either Taryn 478-501-7044 or Ryan 720-287-9626. Sep 20, 2011
beth bennett
boulder
beth bennett   boulder
The campgrounds are "officially" closed though not locked; there were quite a few campers there yesterday and full access to the cliffs. Oct 4, 2013
Jason Parks
Colorado Springs, CO
Jason Parks   Colorado Springs, CO
28 Sept 2013: May have dropped my wedding ring (white gold with 5 sapphires) and another ring (titanium with silver inlay) out the Trail to Menses Prow. Any booty finders, please contact me so I can get out of the doghouse. Oct 4, 2013
KLS
KLS  
FOUND: beautiful pitbull pup, just north of the Bank Campground. Pls call to identify / if you have any information. 917.312.4342.
Oct 5, 2013
Hello, I am very new to rock climbing and am trying to find some good beginner bouldering areas around Canon City/Florence/Penrose area. If anyone could give me some info on this I would really appreciate it! Thanks for your time. Dec 21, 2015
Derek Young
Denver, CO
Derek Young   Denver, CO
  • CLIMBERS BEWARE - MY DRAWS WERE STOLEN OFF GLUE SLIPPAGE
I left my draws up on this route starting with bolt 4 to begin the crux and through to the top. That's 8 draws. I hung them for project burns and for others to have fun. This was mid-Oct. Went back this past weekend Dec 1st and they were taken. I guess poaching draws still happens at Shelf. Watch out everyone! This route is 12b so all fingers point to someone who climbs the grade - or takes the time to steal by aiding a route. If anybody sees them, they are 7 BD Posiwire with replaced vari-width dogbones, and 1 draw with two red carabiners tan colored, thin dogbone. All bolt sides had green tape marking them as mine. It'd be really swell if the person gave them back. Bad form!

Needless to say, I won't be leaving gear on routes anymore and wish the best to those that still have gear up on Deeper Shade, The Example, etc. What's next, the perma-draws off Headcheese?! Dec 3, 2017

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