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Silverbell Boulders - Closed to all

Arizona > Southern Arizona > Tucson Area Bouldering
Warning Access Issue: This area is on private property and is closed to all climbing. DetailsDrop down


All of the climbing described on this page is on private property. Climbing in no longer allowed. Signs are posted in multiple locations. Please respect the land owner and do not trespass. Trespassers will incur a "Criminal Trespassing" charge.

A fun little desert bouldering area. Not too many problems, but more quality than Gate's Pass. This area does not see quite the climbing action it once saw, but is well worth the visit. The rock is very much like that of some of the famous eastern Sierra bouldering areas near Bishop (Happy Boulders).

I have read and been told that these boulders are located on private property. There is no sign posted, and I have never heard of any problems with bouldering here. Still best to practice "leave no trace", so climbers can continue to enjoy these boulders.

Getting There

There are many different options, but I will go with what I believe to be the easiest one. From Tucson, take I-10 towards Marana and exit at Cortaro Rd. Turn left (south) and drive until you intersect Silverbell. Take a right. Drive on Silverbell a good ways and almost completely through Marana until it forks. Go right. Follow Silverbell around until it goes up and over a small pass. You will see a large dirt pullout on the left. The boulders are on the right side of the road directly off the road after a few minutes walk.

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Welcome to Silverbell
[Hide Photo] Welcome to Silverbell

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] I haven't been out there in over a decade, but my recollection is that this property went from ownership by Diamond Partners to the county as part of some open space initiative--I think it, and the ridge line behind it, was intended to be part of an extension of the Tucson mountain park. Back in the day, there were access issues, but it was never clear that the people who objected had a right to object. Also, the parking area across the street, as far as I know, remains private. Dec 25, 2006
jbak x
tucson, az
[Hide Comment] that you ? Jan 3, 2007
[Hide Comment] it is-I'm pretty sure I know who you are(I don't know if you wish to control your anonymity)-I blame you for one of my knee injuries(torn meniscus) repeating a ground hugging traverse of yours out at silverbell

I once had the sobering and soul search inducing experience at silverbell of bouldering with a group, all of whom were born after I had first bouldered there-you must be getting up there, eh?

I still boulder pretty hard, but I have to pick my spots carefully, and I do take years off-my next big effort is to improve my soloing skills so I can increase my range of mountaineering choices (probably sierras, but maybe tetons-that's where murray will be this fall) Jan 19, 2007
Adam Block
Tucson, AZ
[Hide Comment] Seeing that there are so few options for climbing on this side of town I'm surprised more people aren't here. Does this area ever see any traffic? Also, I hiked up there the other day just seeing what was there, I'm guessing you're all talking about the one large boulder sitting at the top with the other face just off the back side of it? Seems like one of the few spots in the area with solid rock, I wonder why nothing is bolted a little higher up.... Aug 21, 2008
James DeRoussel
Tucson, AZ
[Hide Comment] The reason this area doesn't have more activity and bolting is because of a history of access issues.

Please avoid further development in this area, as it will likely lead to complete closure. We are lucky to have any access at all, so just enjoy what's there as it is. Aug 21, 2008
Chris Prewitt
Tucson, AZ
[Hide Comment] Has anyone explored other bouldering options in the larger area of the northern Tucson Mts? Seems like there should be more between Gates and Silverbell. Jul 30, 2009
jbak x
tucson, az
[Hide Comment] Chris, the short answer is "yes". Murray explored the Tucson mtns pretty much end-to-end. He documented some of them in "Bouldering beyond Campbell" but not all. I know where a lot of them are and so does George Smith. Aug 3, 2009
Joe Kreidel
San Antonio, TX
[Hide Comment] I can confirm that the boulders are now on public land, and bouldering is allowed. A couple months ago while bouldering at the upper boulders at night, three local Sheriff's deputies trudged up the hill to investigate calls about "weird lights radiating from the hillside". After making sure we weren't armed lunatics or escaped felons, they told us we were fine climbing there because it was indeed public land. Oct 9, 2009
Trey Lewis
Glendale, Az
[Hide Comment] Did you mean that they give fines for climbing there, or that you were allowed to climb there? I'm a little slow and easily confused. Oct 9, 2009
Joe Kreidel
San Antonio, TX
[Hide Comment] Trey -

Sorry if I was unclear. According to these officers, the land is public land and we are allowed to climb here. Oct 11, 2009
[Hide Comment] I went to Silverbell last night for some headlamp bouldering with my girlfriend. Didn't end up staying long, because we started hearing at least two animals that sounded pretty similar to an unhappy bobcat. Initially there was only one, across the road from the lower boulders. Shortly after that, another one started sounding off uphill, from the direction of the javelina cave/a-frame. Then the first one moved across the road and kept getting closer, so we decided that we'd had enough of creepy sounds sneaking up on us in the dark.

That's my story. Jan 8, 2010
[Hide Comment] Jesse-

That was probably EFR. The guy's an animal! Jan 8, 2010
So San Francisco
[Hide Comment] Cilmbed at this spot yesterday. No-one around for miles and some fun lines. Worth the trip out. Don't miss the other high balls just past the fork on the right. Mar 28, 2010
Adam Block
Tucson, AZ
[Hide Comment] I've seen EFR marking his turf, he doesn't make any nose. The last run in I had with that guy he was on the other side of the canyon and just pissed in my direction as a display of his dominance. May 7, 2010
Trey Lewis
Glendale, Az
[Hide Comment] So...I left my book at the lower boulders yesterday. If the person who found it happens to want to give it back, that would kick ass! Please message me. Thanks Jun 21, 2012
Littleton, CO
[Hide Comment] A good description of these boulders along with pretty much all local bouldering can found at Old Pueblo Bouldering…. Nov 2, 2015
Henry Manegold
[Hide Comment] Area as of 07/10/2017 is roped off with no trespassing signs on both sides of the road. Jul 10, 2017
Tucson, AZ
[Hide Comment] Went there on 7/15/2017 and 'no trespassing' signs and barriers were everywhere but there is still a shoulder to park on. The Pima County MapGuide website shows the property line between private land (south) and public land (north) cutting right through both the main 'Lower Boulder' and 'Javelina Cave and the A Frame' boulder. Don't know how accurate the GIS mapping data and orthophoto imagery overlay is. It could be that there are some established problems on public land, but half or more or the problems (southern half) appear to be on private land. Jul 18, 2017
[Hide Comment] This entire mountain (all 17 acres) is private property and there is no trespassing as posted. Jan 28, 2018
[Hide Comment] The entire mountain is private property, as others have mentioned there are plenty of no trespassing signs posted. I have met with and spoken to the owner and he has released his contact information for anyone that may have further questions. However, he has made it very clear that he will not permit climbing in this area due to the amount of broken glass, litter, and vandalism to the rock. He will call the police if he sees people on the property and he does live nearby so don't think sneaking on is an option. Similar to people that use the private property as access to the public land, this is not permitted. Additionally, he has posted tow notices and will call a tow company if he sees cars parked on either side of the road. Please let me know if anyone has questions. I had a very thorough conversation with him. Jan 29, 2018
Tucson, AZ
[Hide Comment] I don't think the entire mountain is private property, but the southernmost 17 acres are private property (which contain almost all the established routes). Things would need to change for there to be a reason to visit this area.

County data shows that Bethanie Lee recently purchased the 17 acres that comprises the southernmost part of the mountain, which lies south of the Marana Town Limit and which encompasses all the routes described here with a very few exceptions. It's understandable to deny access if the area was being trashed. I wish it hadn't been closed since my son and I really enjoyed bouldering 10 minutes from home. I didn't witnessed much litter or vandalism myself...but show some respect, people!

Pima County owns the 40 acres immediately to the north of Bethanie Lee's property which is partially marked by a short stretch of fence along North Silverbell Rd and north of the Marana Town Limit. I think hopping the fence would provide legal access to the public land, a designated part of the Los Morteros Conservation Area, but this would be less than convenient. Route development on the public portion of the mountain would need to occur and the parking situation would need to change before this would be a reasonable destination.

The established routes that appear to be on public land are the following:

Lower Boulders ('The Guy' boulder named on the Old Pueblo Bouldering site)
  • Arete Traverse Extension
  • Unknown Arete
  • Unknown Arete Direct Start
Javelina Cave and the A frame bouldering (approach from public land side)
  • Pocket Stuffer
  • Lip Traverse East (starts on public land but may cross into private land)
Jul 5, 2018