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Areas in Canon City

Phantom Canyon 0 / 36 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 36
Shelf Road 44 / 964 / 7 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1001
Table Mountain South 0 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
Elevation: 5,323 ft
GPS: 38.447, -105.216 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 605,178 total · 4,149/month
Shared By: John McNamee on Feb 26, 2006
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac


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.


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

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.)

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.


You can try NOAA for info.

1,042 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
Enchanted Porkfist
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Lime Street
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Illegal Smile
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
The Raw and the Roasted
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
No Passion for Fashion
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Back To The Future
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Unusual Weather
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Lats Don't Have Feelings
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
The Gym Arete
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a
Heavy Weather
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
Tits Up
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
The Hurricane
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Enchanted Porkfist Shelf Rd > Dark Side
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Lime Street Shelf Rd > Bank
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Silverado Shelf Rd > Sand Gulch > Contest Wall
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Illegal Smile Shelf Rd > Cactus Cliff
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
The Raw and the Roasted Shelf Rd > Gym
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Sport
No Passion for Fashion Shelf Rd > Gallery > Menses Prow
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Back To The Future Shelf Rd > Bank
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Unusual Weather Shelf Rd > Bank
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Lats Don't Have Feelings Shelf Rd > Cactus Cliff
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
Gravitations Shelf Rd > Cactus Cliff
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
The Gym Arete Shelf Rd > Gym
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Freeform Shelf Rd > Sand Gulch > Free Form Wall
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Heavy Weather Shelf Rd > Bank
5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a Sport
Tits Up Shelf Rd > Cactus Cliff
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
The Hurricane Shelf Rd > Spiney Ridge
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
More Classic Climbs in Canon City »

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Derek Young
Denver, CO
Derek Young   Denver, CO
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
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
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
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
beth bennett
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

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
Shelf Road Rock: A Complete Climbing Reference is now available as a high-res printable eBook for only $12.95.… Jan 6, 2011
Adam Caimi
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
Adam Caimi
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
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
Does anyone know of any bouldering spots near Canon City? Apr 12, 2007
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

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