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Routes in Dolores Canyon

A Walking Enigma T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Adventure with Puck T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Air Time S 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c
Arm and Hammer S 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Bat Master S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Bearded Lunch Lady T 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
Caroline's Crack T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Caroline's OW T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Cinco de Mayo en Domingo T 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Crescent Crack T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Dazed and Confused T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Deliverance T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Duncan's Delight T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Ear, The T 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
Easy-Wider T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Groove Tube, The T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
High Time T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Jive Turkey T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Joint Effort T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Lunch Box Special T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Make John Do It T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
McComb Crack T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Menstruation Station T 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
Pump House Crack 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c C1-
Pump House Direct T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Rattlesnake Crack T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c A1+
Redemption Arete T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Rizla's Crack T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b A0
Rope Master's Crack T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Seemter, The T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Spooky Tooth T 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Sunday Stroll T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Superette T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Swim Simulator T 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
Texas Corner T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Unknown T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Unknown Crack aka People are Watching T 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Whiskey River T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Wind Tower, The T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Unsorted Routes:
Elevation: 6,115 ft
GPS: 37.841, -108.807 Google Map · Climbing Map
Page Views: 23,365 total, 175/month
Shared By: Bill Duncan on Dec 12, 2006
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac
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Description

Dolores Canyon is a very nice, accessible canyon on BLM land that has camping, a river (sometimes), and quality Wingate sandstone rock. The climbs are 1-2 pitches in length, and the approaches are mostly short. The climbs face east or northeast, so this can be a bit chilly in the winter. This area offers seclusion in a wilderness setting.

Getting There

Just south of Dove Creek on US Highway 666, there is a turn by the airport. There is a BLM sign that says "Dolores Canyon overlook." Turn down this road and take your first left by the airport, do not go to the overlook (unless you want to see the view). There may be signs to Mountain Sheep Point or the pumping station. Follow this road down into Big Canyon and the boat ramp at the pumphouse. Continue past the boat ramp to where the cliffs come closer to the road and the rock quality improves dramatically. There are several obvious buttresses, and some of them have routes on them. There are still opportunities for FAs here, too. The local ethic here is traditional (ground up). There is one particularly good buttress, just to the right of a drainage system, called Beehive Buttress.

Per Ian Altman: just as you enter the township of Dove Creek on US Highway 491, look for a large brown BLM sign stating “Dolores River Canyon Access”. The sign is on the south side of the highway, and the road you want is directly across the highway from it on the north side of the highway. After turning onto this road, follow it for a series of marked turns that state: “Dolores River Access” until you drop into the main canyon.

The series of turns after you leave the highway are: 1. left, 2. right. 3.left and 4. left. After taking the last left turn, the road begins to descend towards the Dolores River by descending a side canyon called “Secret Canyon”. Once you reach the bottom of this descent and you first see the river, take a left and follow this road for another mile before you reach the first chunk of climbs. There is a well maintained campground about 5 miles from HWY 491 known as the “Box Elder” campground. There are some shorter climbs near this campground, but the bulk of the climbs are a mile or so farther in an area known as “The Pump House”. The Pump House access trail is marked by a cairn and is located at the far end of the buttress. This access trail will put you right at the base of the Retro Groove Wall. There are a multitude of other crags along this road, and looking for anchors is your best way to find them.

39 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Dolores Canyon

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
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For the "Description" section, the contributor mentions turns beginning "just as you enter Dove Creek on Highway 491", but he does not say from which direction one is entering Dove Creek! = One can enter Dove Creek on Highway 491 either from the East or the West, and obviously it makes a big difference in terms of the directions. Jul 11, 2016
Climbed here in the spring of 2016, and it seems there are a bunch more routes done now than reported? It also seems like some closely spaced rap bolting might be going on? I read about the traditional ground up ethic and kicked things down a few grades. I'm glad I did, there was comfortable excitement on the face routes! Dolores reminds me of Buckhorn Wash in The Swell, lower concentration of splitters but no people. The green faces remind me of Zion face climbing. Jul 10, 2016
Ian Altman   CO
This one is well worth the river crossing and the steep/loose approach. A real gem with one of the better Wingate finger cracks in the canyon! A unique stem box (protected by 4" Rawls :) to a dead vertical, splitter and locker finger crack surrounded by foot holds.
Feb 28, 2014
Ian Altman   CO
Dolores River Canyon - "Ten Mile Crag" just 10 miles from Dove Creek, CO. We first climbed here in 1995 through the late '90s and did a few more in early '00s.

Feb 28, 2014
Ian Altman   CO
Ian Altman   CO
Dolores River Canyon Topos- "Pump House Crag" 4.3 miles from Dove Creek, CO.

Feb 28, 2014
Ian Altman   CO
Dolores River Canyon topos - "Pump House Crag" 4.3 miles from Dove Creek, CO. Our crew began climbing the obvious crack lines here in 1995 and quickly ventured onto the faces ground-up style throughout the early ots.

Feb 28, 2014
kyle a.  
Good climbing, cracks and faces. The routes can be hard to find, Ian Altman in Durango has the topo and crag locator. Thanks, Kyle Mar 26, 2012
The photo in the center, traverse in from the left to the finger crack, is Sunday Strole. Ian Altman did the FA with someone, sorry it's been a while and I can't remember. Jan 31, 2012
Are people still climbing here? We put up several lines in this area in the late '90s/ early 2000s. The "unknown" photo of the 5.7/8 is the Red Rocks Simulator. Don't remember the name of the one called 5.10b in the photo, but Crystal Davis and I did the FA. I remember that we called the thin crack/seam that it shares an anchor with The Seamster. Jan 31, 2012

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