> Southeastern Lowlands
Ralph Stover (aka High Rocks) State Park is located in a gorge along Tohickon Creek near New Hope, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The rock consists of the red argillite of the Lockatong Formation and dark, friable shales of the Brunswick Formation. The Lockatong is a thick bedded, consolidate argillite with slippery texture. The Brunswick Formation is a very thinly bedded, poorly consolidated shale that crumbles easily when touched. Those unaccustomed to climbing here will find the lack of friction on the argillite a bit unnerving at first. It definitely takes getting accustomed to.
There have been several guidebooks to High Rocks over the decades. Only Paul Nick's 2011 edition is currently in print.
Many folks will warn you against trad leading at Stover, but experienced climbers will have little problem with the sometimes poor gear and slight runouts, especially on the easier climbs. Even if you do not wish to trad lead here, many climbs are easily top roped, there are some bolted routes, and there is plenty of bouldering.
The cliff faces south and because it is in a gorge, it is often sheltered from the wind; therefore, High Rocks is a fine winter destination on a sunny day when the wind is not running parallel to the gorge. Poison ivy, ubiquitous at the main cliff, makes climbing in the summer a bit problematic.
Grades vary from low fifth class to 5.12 and there are several fun climbs in the 5.3 to 5.8 range. Trad must do's include Airy Route (5.3 PG/R), Ivy Leaf (5.4 PG), Dead Tree (5.5 G), Hawk's Nest (5.6 PG), Tango (5.8 PG), Neanderthal (5.8+ PG), and Obnoxious Partner (5.8+ G). Good sport climbs include Dean's List (5.9 or 5.11a), Tales from the Crypt (5.10a), Nameless Arete (5.10c), New Testament (5.11a), The Problem (5.12a), and Man of Science (5.12 c/d). Popular top rope routes include all climbs on the Practice Face, Orvie (5.8+), Phone Booth (5.10a), Stopper Ceiling (5.10d), and Called on Account of Pain (5.11d). Popular boulder problems include Falling (V0+), Up (V1), Ripper Traverse (V2+), The Low Traverse (V5), and Marty Broke It (V7).
The cliff is commonly divided into several different areas. They are, from west to east:
The Descent Trail Area, The Practice Face, Neolithic Wall, Tango Wall, Picnic Rock, Weeping Wall, Cramped Face, The Great Buttress, Open Face, Orangutan Buttress, Hawk's Nest Area, Noncensus Area, Joshua Wall, Chain ReactionButtress, Obnoxious Partner Area, Phone Booth Area, the Far Face, Grey Rocks, and Red Rocks Remote.
For current information online, see the Ralph Stover State Park website
, and the High Rocks Climbers Coalition Facebook group
The park is just north of Point Pleasant, PA and about 9 m miles from New Hope.
From the north: Take Route 611S to Route 413S (left). Continue approx 0.25 miles to Pipersville, then turn left onto Dark Hollow Road. Follow Dark Hollow Road over Tohickon Creek, then follow it for another mile and turn right onto State Park Road. Follow State Park Road for approx. 0.5 mile and turn left onto Tory Road. Turn into the parking lot a few hundred feet down Tory Road.
From the East: Take Route 202 W across the Delaware River(toll), then make immediate right turn, then a left turn onto Route 32 North (River Road). Follow directions below.
From the South: Follow River Road (Route 32) north to Point Pleasant. Follow River Road sharply right over a stone bridge, ignoring the sign for Ralph Stover State Park. Make a left onto Cafferty Road and continue for 1,8 miles, passing Tohickon Valley PArk and Deerwood Campground on the left. Make the next left after Deerwood CG onto Tory Road. Follow Tory Road for 1 mile, then veer right onto gravel section warning, this may get paved by the time you try these directions) to the parking area on the right.
From the West: Take Route 611 north approx 3 miles north of Doylestown and turn right onto Silo Hill Road (south), which ends shortly at Point Pleasant Pike. Turn left and follow Point Pleasant Pike into the town of Point Pleasant. Turn left over the stone bridge onto River Road (Route 32) north, then follow the direction for "South" above.
Please park only where designated or risk a ticket.
To access the cliffs, enter the woods across the gravel road from the parking lot gate and use the established descent trails. There are 2 descent trails, one located at the western end of the cliff and one located at the eastern end of the cliff, connected by parallel trails at the top and bottom of the cliff face. Please stay on established trails to prevent erosion. Do not descend the gully off trail.