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Areas in Rocks State Park

Biceps Wall 3 / 0 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6
Breakaway Wall 9 / 0 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 9
King and Queen Seat 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
Pinnacle 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
Smoke 'n' Ash Boulder 4 / 0 / 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4

Description

Rocks State Park is about 40 minutes north of Baltimore, and has some of the best trad routes in Maryland. There are three main climbing areas. The main outcropping is called the King and Queen Seat, and hosts the majority of the routes. A small, 40ft pillar juts out from the end of the King and Queen Seat, to form the Strawberry Jam Pillar. Finally, off in the woods to the east is the Smoke and Ash Crag, hosting two short routes. Most of the worthwhile climbs are in the first two areas.

There are about 25 routes and a couple of variations. A couple of them are fairly high quality for the area, and two or three are exceptional by Maryland standards. The grades range from 5.4 to 5.12 and most of the routes can be toproped, either by slinging trees and blocks, or with a bit of gear.

The rock is fairly hard and eats up stopper placements. Cam placements can be a bit tricky due to the flaring rock. The main wall, with the highest concentration of high quality routes gets early sun.

There are few objective hazards in Rocks. There are copperhead snakes in the area, and occasionally popular climbs like Breakaway(5.9) and Vertical play host to wasp nests.

There is some old fixed gear, but all new fixed gear is banned, except by permission of the park ranger. The only access issue is that the park closes at sunset, and you will be fined if you are caught in the park after dark.

Getting There

Drive north on I-95 to Route 24. Take 24 north about 10 miles. The road will go from a major highway to a small two lane country road. 24 becomes Rocks Rd. About a mile after you pass Cherry Hill Rd. You'll see a couple of parking lots on your left. If you hit a fork in the road with a bridge on the right (St. Clair's Bridge Rd.) you've gone to far. Park a the second lot and hike up the trail until you see the crag.

24 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Rocks State Park

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a PG13
Beginner Flake
Trad, TR
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
The Crux
Trad, TR
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a PG13
Peanut Butter
Trad
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Vertical
Trad, TR
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b PG13
First Line
Trad
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Bone Jacker
Trad, TR
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13
Green Subtrafuge aka Centrifuge
Trad, TR
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Strawberry Jam
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Breakaway left
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Breakaway Right
Trad
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13
Strawberry Jam Direct
Trad
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Mike's Finger Buckets
Trad
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Piney
Trad, TR
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Smoke 'n' Ash
Trad, TR
Beginner Flake Biceps Wall 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a PG13 Trad, TR
The Crux Biceps Wall 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Trad, TR
Peanut Butter Pinnacle 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a PG13 Trad
Vertical Breakaway Wall 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad, TR
First Line Pinnacle 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b PG13 Trad
Bone Jacker Breakaway Wall 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, TR
Green Subtrafuge aka Centri… Breakaway Wall 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13 Trad, TR
Strawberry Jam Pinnacle 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Breakaway left Breakaway Wall 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Breakaway Right Breakaway Wall 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Strawberry Jam Direct Pinnacle 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13 Trad
Mike's Finger Buckets Breakaway Wall 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R Trad
Piney Breakaway Wall 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad, TR
Smoke 'n' Ash Smoke 'n' Ash Boulder 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad, TR
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Weather Averages

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@Agarciap Last time I was there in the fall I think the only thing that was bolted was the pinnacle. Everything else you need to set anchors with gear or long slings/static to sling boulders or trees. Jun 7, 2016
Are there anchors on anything but the Pinnacle? Apr 15, 2016
kenr  
I recorded some (approximate) locations with my GPS when I visited and climbed in May 2015:

parking lot low "rapids" -- (latitude longitude N39.6381 W76.4125)
. on the West side of route 24, just N of a maintenance building.
. about 1.15 mile north from the intersection with Cherry Hill Rd
. about 0.35 mile north from the intersection with Rocks Chrome Hill Rd
. about 0.25 mile south from the intersection with St Clair Bridge Rd

parking lot high "picnic" -- (N39.6351 W76.4158)
. reached by driving from St Clair Bridge Rd

Kings Queens Seat (N39.6354 W76.4129)
. West end of the cliff top ridge

Strawberry Jam Pinnacle (N39.6358 W76.4123)
. East end of the rocks

Ledge at bottom of Breakaway wall (N39.6355 W76.41235)

getting there
from Low "rapids" Parking to Kings Queens Seat
. uphill about 255 vertical feet (80 meters) over a distance of 0.2 mile (300 meters)
. typical hiking time 10-15 minutes.
. I followed the obvious well-maintained trail (with some wood steps) up South from the low Parking. Just after a radically-leaning stone pillar and a sign for a historical quarry, the main trail turned right (N39.6361 W76.4128). Here I turned Left off onto another unmarked trail and continued south up to the top of the rocks.

from High "picnic" Parking to Kings Queens Seat
. downhill about 100 vertical feet (30 meters) over a distance of 0.35 mile (600 meters)
. typical return time 5-7 minutes.
. I followed the marked wide trail at first SE then generally E.

Breakaway ledge:
In theory the wide ledge at the bottom of the Breakaway wall could be reached by scrambling up west from the route 24 road. But I found this was steep slabby dirty -- not something I'd ever do hauling gear or with ground even slightly wet. Also there's no legal parking along the road by there. Although that approach was mentioned in an old guidebook, it did not look like hardly anybody does that any more (now that there's a nice maintained trail on the N side of the rocks).

From the Kings Queens Seat, hiking down around the SW side of the rocks leads to a gully below the Breakaway ledge. Which then requires scrambling up a steep slabby dirty gully to actually reach the ledge -- not something I'd ever do hauling gear or with ground even slightly wet.

So I guess that's why most people get to the base of Breakaway by first going to Kings Queens seat, then scrambling E down the N side of the rocks, crossing the ridge a bit W of the Pinnacle and scrambling SE down the rather steep rocky gully (not something I'd try when wet). Or rappelling down in from the Epitaph Ledge. May 24, 2015

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