Description

Lake Mineral Wells State Park is one of the closest climbing areas to the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. The climbing area is a small maze of sandstone conglomerate bluffs named Penitentiary Hollow.

Due to the rock quality, most of the area is top-roping and rappelling only, but more recently a few sport bolted sports routes have been established. The area is closed when wet. The walls range from 20 to 40 feet and are mostly face climbs with a few tough classics and plenty of easy to moderate routes. Most routes are in the 5.6 - 5.9 range but there are plenty of 10s and 11s too.

Almost all climbs have solid bolt anchors at the top, but bring plenty of long slings because many are 8 to 10 feet or further from the edge. The tops of all climbs can be reached directly off the path from the parking lot or by an easy scramble.

The best time to go is late fall through spring. Texas summers will leave you stewing in your own sweat before you can even set an anchor. Picnickers and spectators usually outnumber climbers 3 to 1, but plenty of large groups come here on the weekends. I've found that most groups show up early and clear out by 3 or 4, so sleep in late.

Currently you need to pay $7 per person to enter the park (free if you have a Texas State Park pass) and $3 per climber (even if you have a Texas State Park pass). Also, every climber has to sign a waiver in the front office each visit, but the office doesn't open until 8AM even though the park gate is opened at 6AM.

Getting There

Lake Mineral Wells State Park and Trailway is located 4 miles east of Mineral Wells on US Highway 180 or 14 miles west of Weatherford on US Highway 180

100 Park Road 71
Mineral Wells TX 76067
940/328-1171

Detailed directions and a map can be found at:

tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/fin…

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Classic Climbing Routes at Mineral Wells State Park

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
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Wes B.  
Not a bad place to climb when near the Metroplex. Call the rangers before you head out otherwise you may make the drive for nothing. 10ft - 20ft slings are a good idea for most routes. Sep 15, 2009
Tyler Garrett
Dallas, TX
Tyler Garrett   Dallas, TX
If you're looking for good sport climbing, you went to the wrong place... The amount of time to setup a top rope on these routes... most decent climbers could have lead and set 2-3 routes. It would be nice if they ever decided to bolt and chain these routes... maybe be able to make a hard line out of something. If you're able to climb 5.11+ you're going to be very bored. Last two trips I took here I ended up free soloing the entire time... at least then you can link some cool bouldering starts but there really isn't anything that didn't seem less than a high ball. Mar 27, 2014
Fenicks  
Ummm... were the people placing the bolts drunk?

Didn't really have a problem with the toprope in and of itself - you can top out on most routes, then move the slings and rappel back down. You can also usually climb two different routes from one set of anchors.

However, the anchor bolts are so far away from the ledges, and seem to be placed completely at random sometimes. For example, we found a set of bolts at the BOTTOM of the stairs past the overlook. Anyone know why we would need bolts on the floor?

Most routes were pretty easy, just for fun climbs. If you're looking for a challenge, there are very few here. Or, like Tyler mentions, there are plenty of cool places not anchored that can be soloed, especially the bigger boulders further down the trail. Aug 19, 2014
The bolts were set so far back due to the easily breakable rock. It's not the strongest rock, especially when wet.

It makes it a challenge to set up a nice TR anchor, but it's better than the miles of webbing that had to be ran before they put the bolts in. Jul 29, 2015
Rob H
Wichita Falls, TX
Rob H   Wichita Falls, TX
3/12/18 - Someone left some gear behind I'm guessing from 3/11/18. PM me and I'll try to get it back to you. Nothing too significant but its all expensive.

Also to the woman who fell from the top of Scenic Overlook and landed on a rock with her back today at this park; that was terrifying. If you lived and can type I would love to hear you are okay! Mar 13, 2018