Elevation: 7,134 ft
GPS: 40.007, -105.406 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 133,403 total · 839/month
Shared By: Ron Olsen on Mar 29, 2006
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac
Access Issue: Seasonal Closure / Update Details
Access Issue: Access now open Details


North Boulder Creek flows down through Dream Canyon to Boulder Falls, where it merges with Boulder Creek.

The crags in Dream Canyon are split into two parts: Upper Dream Canyon and Lower Dream Canyon. The crags in Upper Dream Canyon are generally accessed from a parking area above the canyon, off of Sugarloaf Road.

The crags in Lower Dream Canyon are usually accessed from the Boulder Falls parking area. These crags can be accessed from the Upper Dream Canyon parking area, but this is not commonly done.

Probably, the most popular crag in Lower Dream Canyon is Plotinus Wall. It has a few old routes put up by Jim Erickson and others in the 1970s and 1980s, but it didn't gain prominence until the past few years, after Bob D'Antonio and Vaino Kodas established many great sport routes there. Today, it is popular for climbers seeking 5.10 to 5.12 sport routes in a great setting.

Another popular crag in Lower Dream Canyon is the Wall of Winter Warmth It has some old trad routes from the 1970s, and some newer harder sport routes put up by D'Antonio and Kodas.

The Berlin Wall has some very difficult sport routes, and some older trad routes that are challenging and runout.

Most of the other crags in Lower Dream Canyon (Pin Dome, Nickel Dome, Krishna Spire, and Serenity Spire) have a few high-quality sport routes that are worth seeking out.

Chrome Dome, just upstream from Boulder Falls, was developed during the 1980s, before the advent of sport climbing. Most of the routes are runout and serious, and this rock sees little attention from modern climbers.

Getting There

From Boulder Canyon

From the intersection of Broadway and Colorado 119 in Boulder, follow Colorado 119 west towards the town of Nederland. About eight miles up the Canyon turn left into a large parking area for Boulder Falls.

From the Boulder Falls "trail" walk in on the 'tourist path' until you nearly come to a park bench. Switchback to the left between some caged rocks and a tree. Switchback again to the right on top of the rocks. Above you is a second set of caged rocks - pass these on the left (south) end, or climb over. From here, angle up and right on a faint path. There were some small cairns leading the way on 7/12/03. You are aiming for a small 'tunnel' near a dead tree that is, again, up and right from the caged rocks. Note, this access used to be frowned upon by non-climbing land managers.

Eds. during the months when Boulder Falls is CLOSED (Nov. 1 - May 1), some folks access skirting the right edge of Boulder Slips. It is not clear as to if this access is affected by the Boulder Falls closure.

Pass through the tunnel and hike steeply down the other side, heading to the water's edge, and follow a path upstream to a boulder jumble. The Plotinus Wall should be clearly visible uphill at 11:00, and the Wall of Winter Warmth at about 1:00, across the creek.

To get to Plotinus Wall, head up through the boulders to the bottom of the wall, just below the bolted slab, "The Scientist".

Universal Crusher is a small crag left of Plotinus and a short distance above the creek.

Chrome Dome, Nickel Dome, Pin Dome, Wall of Winter Warmth, Berlin Wall, Krishna, and Serenity Spire lie on the other side of the creek. Pick a good spot to wade across, and head up to the rock of your choice. The crossing may be difficult at times of high water (spring and early summer).

Per Katherine Kelly: the Boulder Climbing Community, working alongside OSMP, Boulder County and Forest Service has secured access to the Plotinus area.

Just before you arrive at Boulder Falls, the climber’s trail splits left through some talus and climbs uphill above the falls. You will notice a very small climber's access tag bolted to a rock. You will go up this way and then through the keyhole and down to access climbing. Access to Plotinus is provisionally granted for climbing access. It is still closed to the population at large.

From Upper Dream Canyon

Lower Dream Canyon crags can also be accessed from the Upper Dream Canyon parking area: Go left and down away from Upper Dream Canyon following the rock cairns heading in southerly direction. See the beta photo for trail choices to the different crags.

To get to Plotinus Wall: cross a small stream, and follow the cairns towards the Wall of Winter Warmth. Skirt the top of the wall, and drop down a gully towards the creek. Reach the creek, cross it, and go up the talus to Plotinus Wall. This is maybe 15 minutes of hiking.

113 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Lower Dream Canyon

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Mr. Sandman
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Left Side
Trad 4 pitches
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Snooze Button
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Wake Up Call
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Smell the Coffee
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Chore Boy
Trad, Sport
5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
The Daily Grind
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Golden Slumber
Trad, Sport
5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
The Scientist
Trad, Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Sleepless in Boulder
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
The Bobsled
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Boulder Quartz System
5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a
Lucky Strikes
5.12c/d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
Lucid Dreaming
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Mr. Sandman Plotinus Wall > Left Side
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Left Side Wall of Winter Warmth
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad 4 pitches
Snooze Button Plotinus Wall > Left Side
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Wake Up Call Plotinus Wall > Left Side
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Smell the Coffee Plotinus Wall > Left Side
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Napster Plotinus Wall > Left Side
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Chore Boy Plotinus Wall > Left Side
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad, Sport
The Daily Grind Plotinus Wall > Left Side
5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
Golden Slumber Plotinus Wall > Left Side
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad, Sport
The Scientist Plotinus Wall > Middle
5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Trad, Sport
Sleepless in Boulder Plotinus Wall > Left Side
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
The Bobsled Plotinus Wall > Left Side
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
Boulder Quartz System Plotinus Wall > Right Side
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Lucky Strikes Plotinus Wall > Left Side
5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a Sport
Lucid Dreaming Plotinus Wall > Middle
5.12c/d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b Sport
More Classic Climbs in Lower Dream Canyon »

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Those of us who climb in Dream Canyon are acutely aware of the signs "discouraging" people from hiking up that loose gully to gain access to the area above the falls. I read one post about a ranger giving someone a ticket for this offense.

Does anyone know anything definitive about this? May 12, 2007
Phil Lauffen
Innsbruck, AT
Phil Lauffen   Innsbruck, AT  
What's with the signs saying the falls are closed? Does anyone know how long they will be closed for? Do most people just ignore these signs...? Or enter from Upper Dream Canyon? Apr 12, 2009
Ron Olsen
Boulder, CO
Ron Olsen   Boulder, CO
Phil, Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) closed the Boulder Falls area on March 30 "until further notice due to potentially unsafe conditions in the cliffs above the falls." No date was set for reopening the area.

I heard a tourist had been injured by a falling rock.

See Daily Camera article and the OSMP website.

Currently, the only legal access to Lower Dream Canyon and Plotinus Wall is via Upper Dream Canyon. Personally, I would not ignore the closure -- you would be subject to a ticket and fine, and possibly damage relations between climbers and OSMP. Apr 12, 2009
DB Cee
Chattanooga, TN
DB Cee   Chattanooga, TN
So, if I've read this correctly...it's about a 15 min hike from the Upper Dream Canyon parking to get to Lower Dream? Jan 29, 2010
Julius Beres
Boulder, CO
Julius Beres   Boulder, CO
15 minute hike?? Either I am making the trail much harder or you guys are hiking studs... I would say more like 30 to 45 minutes (depending if there is snow on the ground). The "right" way to go isn't obvious, so if it is your first time there, expect it to take longer.

It was a 10-15 minute hike in from Boulder Falls before that way was closed. Mar 29, 2010
Boulder, CO
JeffMoore24   Boulder, CO
Any opinions on best/safest approach to Plotinus Wall (from Upper DC)? Stay high around Wall of Winter Warmth or cut around the back skirting Classic Cliff near the creek...? Oct 3, 2010
Eric Carlos
Eric Carlos   depends
Can you access from Boulder Falls. We hiked down from the upper lot, and pretty much bushwhacked the whole way, skirting "no trespassing" signs. Really was a pain in the ass. May 15, 2012
Hello all!!

I was climbing at Upper Dream Canyon on Sunday May 26th and I left my camera at the rocks somewhere. It is an Olympus Tough Tg-1 with silver and black body and has a red wrist strap on it. This camera has been around the world with me and is very special to me. If anyone has located it or has any information, I WILL GIVE A REWARD. PLEASE!!

Anyone with any information, please contact me!! williamcmitchell3@gmail.com.

Thank you, good people!!!
Jun 4, 2013
We recently accessed Lower Dream Canyon through the gully on the right side of the Boulder Slips crag. After the gully, stay left and head up towards the ridge. You will encounter a faint trail that traverses the slope and leads to a little tunnel in a rock. Passing through that, you can go down to the river and end up right above the waterfall.
You do not need to climb over the fence into the closed Boulder Fall trail using this approach. You still might drop rocks onto the Boulder Falls trail, though. Oct 20, 2013
Does anyone know the grade of the highball arete (facing the creek) on the Freedom Boulder? There is mention of a V7 arete in the new Colorado Bouldering compilation (on the northwest arete), but that doesn't make sense. Thanks. Jan 27, 2014
I've been climbing and adventuring in Dream Canyon for almost a year now, and for the first time ever, I got a ticket for using the Boulder Falls approach. I guess that the city owns the actual Boulder Falls and the area surrounding it, because the area is closed. It's trespassing. I don't know how often they patrol the area, but it's a $250 ticket if you catch them on a bad day. I had always heard it was fine if you're respectfu, but that's not the case. Sep 18, 2016
As of February 2018 per OSMP Dream Canyon - Boulder Falls is closed to the climbing community. More specifically, contractors will begin mobilizing equipment into Boulder Falls next week (February 12, 2018). They plan to chopper everything in from Sugarloaf Dr. No parking will be available at the Boulder Falls pullout for the duration for the project, as it will be the staging area for equipment and materials. Boulder Falls will be closed 7 days a week until construction is complete (estimated date is June), and that Dream Canyon and nearby crags by way of Boulder Falls will not be accessible to the public. Feb 9, 2018
As of June 8, 2018. Boulder Falls trail is now open again after a 5 year closure following 2013 floods. Signs remain along the tourist trail that the area above the trail is closed. So, whether the path leading up from behind the rock wall cages to the keyhole entrance to Lower Dream Canyon is ticketable remains to be defined. The trail is in OK condition but has some exposure making it questionable for kids. We climbed Plotinus Wall June 9 via this access, carrying a tick a short while before noticing it. Jun 10, 2018
Wow, they got that fixed really fast. Jun 10, 2018
Dan Gozdz
Louisville, CO
Dan Gozdz   Louisville, CO
Due to Paul's comment, I reached out to OSMP and received the following reply about access: yes, there is now a designated climbing access trail through Boulder Falls that follows the old footpath through the Keyhole. Enjoy! Aug 26, 2018
Jon Oulton
Boulder, CO
Jon Oulton   Boulder, CO
Found a nice piece of gear on 4/9/19. I believe it belonged to a boulderer. Let me know where/what it was, and I'll get it back to you! Apr 9, 2019 · Lost & Found