Estes Park Valley has a good variety of granitic, gneiss, and schist crags scattered along the hillsides and in the forests surrounding this small town of approximately 7,500 people located at 7,550 feet above sea level. The crags in this area lies primarily in the 7,000-11,000 foot altitudes. While much of the climbing here is done during the warmer months, it is possible to climb year round with good weather and warm clothing.

Rock climbing here includes boulder problems in the forest, scattered sport climbs to 14a, traditional lines up to 900 feet long, and the occasional aid route. In general, traditional climbing has predominated in this area; however, more recently, some areas like the Monastery with principally bolted lines have been developed. Plenty of history in climbing has taken place in the area, so check before drilling. Of course, chipping is never tolerated. The greatest wealth of climbing here lies in the moderate-range, traditional lines of Lumpy Ridge. While competition for parking is frequent on weekends (we'll see if it changes with the new parking lot) at Lumpy, there are plenty of crags for solitude like The Crags on Twin Sisters. Access to some rock formations is unavailable at this time, so, if you are exploring, check first.

Note, this is Colorado's number two destination (3 million visitors a year) for tourism, and much of that is concentrated during the Memorial Day to Labor Day period. So, if you visit then, expect to share.

Getting There

Estes Park is the gateway community to the eastern side of Rocky Mountain National Park. This small town can be reached from Denver via US 36 through Boulder & Lyons with an hour plus drive. You can access it from further N of Denver (like Ft. Collins) via US 34. You can access it from the S via the winding CO 7 (Peak to Peak Hwy) from communities like Nederland & Allenspark. Finally, you can access it from the W on US 34 (aka Trail Ridge Rd) during summer months. Once in town, the hillside N of town is the classic Lumpy Ridge. Other various crags can be accessed via smaller roads described in the specific areas.

Map of Estes Park


Eating options are quite varied in this popular town. Summer months may make it challenging to eat expediently. New as of late 2009, Tulum's at the corner of US 36 & 34 may present the best option for inexpensive, satisfying, expedient, $5.75 burritos or fish tacos. Probably at the top of the list is, on the main drag (Elkhorn aka US 36), Ed's Cantina (climber-owned), decorated with climbing photos, serving Tex-Mex food, burgers, and good margaritas. For great pizza, consider House Special or Pesto (?take out) at Sweet Basilico's now near the big slide (it moved). For the economically-minded, consider Safeway's deli or the Mountaineer's (540 S Hwy 7) or The Wapiti Bar & Grill (for smaller appetites). Nepal's Cafe (near the Subway on the River Walk off Elkhorn) is great especially if they have the buffet for the Subcontinent palate. Notchtop (in the Safeway shopping center 457 E Wonderview) has good sandwiches & bakery goods with wireless access for the breakfast & lunch. Smoking Dave's BBQ and Taphouse has tasty BBQ sandwiches & even tasty Kona Pipeline Porter. Estes Park Brewery (off US 36 W of town) has big, cheap burritos M-F for lunch (try to get some salsa). The Bald Pate Inn provides an English style meal along CO Hwy 7 near Lily Lake during summer months. Chicago's Best offers sandwiches, calzones, and pizza. Dunraven's (original on Spur 66 or downtown on Elkhorn) has classic Italian. Mary's Lake Lodge & the Stanley Hotel may appeal to the well-financed palate.

For drinks, Ed's Cantina for margaritas on the rocks.... Estes Park Brewery has free samples of beer. There is wine tasting (small fee) of Colorado vineyards at the Snowy Peaks Winery 970.586.2099 on US 36 across from the Colorado Mountain School for apres climbing or early rainouts.

Sleeping accomodations are varied in this area. In the heavily visited summer months, options can be tight, so plan ahead. For the campers, there are campgrounds such as the KOA (E of town, near Lake Estes) on US 34; a crowded campground along US 36 (W of town, just E of the Beaver Meadows entrance into RMNP); popular camgrounds in RMNP like Aspen Glen (30+ sites, Fall River Rd entrance), Moraine Park (largest with 250+ sites), Glacier Gorge (110+ sites, summer only), Long's Area (tents only) off Hwy 7 S of town; campgrounds in the National Forests to the E & S of town; Mary's Lake Campground (SW of town on Mary's Lake Rd). Other commercial campgrounds include Yogi Bear's Jellystone (E on US 36), Manor RV Park (815 Riverside Dr), National Park Resort (3501 Fall River Rd, Paradise RV & Travel Park (1836 Hwy 66), Elk Meadow Lodge & RV (1665 Hwy 66), Discovery Lodge ( Free camping is challenging to find and not recommended. Colorado Mountain School on US 36 W of town can provide economical accomodations of the hostel-like variety. Many motels, hotels, and cabins lie scattered in town, but prices are generally more than you might expect. The Stanley Hotel can provide historically-rich lodging for the well-heeled.


Estes Park Mountain Shop (US 34 near the dam on Lake Estes) has discount prices and decent selection and a small, indoor gym. Trail Ridge Outfitter's is another climbing shop located downtown on Elkhorn near Ed's Cantina with a small gym as well.

Also, a bit further away:

Bent Gate Mountaineering on Washington St. carries rock, bouldering, ice, and snow gear and is the closest gear shop in Golden.

Neptune Mountaineering (Table Mesa Shopping Center). It is the oldest climbing shop in Boulder and has a great selection of gear and a knowledgeable staff. Thursday night slide shows are often with world-famous climbers. Check out their climbing museum: photos and climbing memorabilia from all over the world, including Edmund Hillary's boots, and a photo of Gaston Rebuffat running it out with just a hemp rope tied around his waist!

Rock and Resole was originally primarily a rock and ice boot resoler. As of 2017, they have become an "outfitter" carrying shoes, tools, aid gear, bouldering gear, cams, and ropes.

REI, a long time outdoor co-op, located in various locations including Denver, Boulder, and Westminster, carries rock, snow, and ice gear.


You can try checking NOAA.

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Classic Climbing Routes at Estes Park Valley

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Kor's Flake
Trad 6 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Pear Buttress
Trad 5 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Loose Ends
Trad 5 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Trad 5 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Edge of Time
Sport, TR
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Conan's Gonads (Conad's)
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Trad 4 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Climb of the Ancient Mariner
Trad, Sport 3 pitches
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Cheap Date
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Trad 7 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Fat City Crack
Trad 3 pitches
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Tabula Rasa
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
The Brown Palace
Sport 6 pitches
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Kor's Flake Lumpy Ridge > Sundance Buttress
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 6 pitches
Pear Buttress Lumpy Ridge > Book > J-Crack Slab Area
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 5 pitches
Loose Ends Lumpy Ridge > Book > J-Crack Slab Area
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 5 pitches
Mainliner Lumpy Ridge > Sundance Buttress
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 5 pitches
Edge of Time CO Hwy 7 & Trib… > Jurassic Park -… > Fin
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport, TR
Conan's Gonads (Conad's) Lumpy Ridge > Twin Owls
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
J-Crack Lumpy Ridge > Book > J-Crack Slab Area
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad 4 pitches
Climb of the Ancient Mariner Lumpy Ridge > Bookend
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad, Sport 3 pitches
Cheap Date Lumpy Ridge > Book > Pages Wall Area
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Turnkorner Lumpy Ridge > Sundance Buttress
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad 7 pitches
Fat City Crack Lumpy Ridge > Book > Pages Wall Area
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad 3 pitches
Tabula Rasa Big Thompson Ca… > Monastery > Vestibule
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
The Brown Palace Big Thompson Ca… > Mary's Bust Area > Mary's Bust - main bu…
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport 6 pitches
Andrology CO Hwy 7 & Trib… > Jurassic Park -… > Fin
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Psychatomic Big Thompson Ca… > Monastery > Vestibule
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b Sport
More Classic Climbs in Estes Park Valley »

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season
Leo Paik
Westminster, Colorado
Leo Paik   Westminster, Colorado  
Amazingly, it was 62F on Sunday! Melted away desires to whack ice. Mar 8, 2010
Reece Henson
Knoxville, TN
Reece Henson   Knoxville, TN
Does anyone know of a good place to camp around the area that's either free or cheap? Jun 6, 2010
Idaho Springs
MountainManny   Idaho Springs
Box Prairie, Dragon Scales, and White Pines West....
ALL closed to public access, including all climbing routes.
Call 970-295-6700 for more info on this crag and other local areas impacted. Sep 9, 2012
I saw this video of a boulder problem called Gold Diggaz AKA The Crack, it was a V10. They said it was in Estes Park, but I could not find the problem on Mountainproject or anywhere else? Anyone know where I could find this problem? It looks amazing. Jun 6, 2013
Will be in Loveland in July visiting family. Looking for a solid place to take family climbing for a few hours. Ideally 5.6-5.10 range, one pitch, and within 30 minutes of Loveland or so. Any suggestions are appreciated. Jun 1, 2016