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Routes in The Canal Zone

Aretnophobia S 5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Batso Canal S 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Bear's Choice S 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Bear's Choice Easy Variation S 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Beasto S 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Berga S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Box of Rain S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Buckets of Rain S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Cut Loose S 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Dirt Trek T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Gondolier Arete S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Holiday Road S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Ivy League S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Lambada S 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
Lame Line T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Levada S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Made In The Shade S 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
Panama Red S 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Ridin' the Moon Buggy T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
Ripple S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Route Canal T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Snake Eyes S 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Turkey Jerky S 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Venice Beach S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Walking With A Ghost S 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Whopper, The S 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
Elevation: 5,835 ft
GPS: 39.75, -105.248 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 137,913 total · 1,182/month
Shared By: Kirk Miller on Jul 21, 2008
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac


The first crag on the left heading up Clear Creek always caught the eye but was a pain to access. This all changed when JCOS put in a new foot bridge. With surprisingly excellent CCC rock, the crag holds the shade through the mornings until around 2:00 in the summer and stays shady all day in the fall.

For steeper, more challenging routes check out The Twilight Zone, just past The Canal Zone perched on the hillside above.
Seasonal Raptor Closures Details
Temporary Closures starting July 25 Details

Getting There

Park in the first pullout on the left, right after you enter the canyon. Walk East on the dirt road that leaves the East end of the lot past the gate, down to the canal road. Head back West on the canal road to the bridge.

For a more direct approach, pick one of the erosional, steep, loose, grotty, gullies beyond the parking lot and descend directly to the foot bridge.

A bit longer but more enjoyable approach to the bridge can be had by parking near the Golden Recreation Center at the West end of 10th Street and walking the river path West, under the highway, up river to the foot bridge.

Cross the bridge and take a left on the Canal Zone / Twilight Zone Climbing Access Trail. When the trail levels out at the canal, turn right and walk about 1/4 mile to the crag.


A1. Cut Loose, 11-, 1p, 75', bolts.
A2. Bear's Choice, 10, 1p, 75', bolts.
A2B. Bear's Choice Easy Variation, 8+, 1p, 75', bolts.
B. Box of Rain, 8, 1p, 75', bolts.
C. Ripple, 8, 1p, 75', bolts.
D. Venice Beach, 8, 1p, 75', bolts.
E. Holiday Road, 8, 1p, 70', bolts.
F. Dirt Trek, 9, 1p, 100', bolts & gear.
G. Ridin' the Moon Buggy , 9 R, 1p, 70', gear.
H. Berga, 9, 1p, 80', bolts.
I. Beasto, 10, 1p, 70', bolts.
J. Ridin' the Moon Buggy , 9 R, 1p, 70', gear.
K. Turkey Jerky, 10, 1p, 80', bolts.
LM. Snake Eyes, 11, var, bolts.
M. Walking With A Ghost, 11, 1p, 55', bolts. 2 starts.
N. Ivy League, 10-, 1p, 50', bolts.
O. Panama Red, 10-, 1p, 50', bolts.
P. Route Canal, 9, 1p, 50', gear & bolt.
Q. Gondolier Arete, 10-, 1p, 55', bolts.
R. Made In The Shade, 9-, 1p, 125', bolts.
S. Aretnophobia, 11, 1p, 70', bolts.
T. Batso Canal, 10, 1p, 55', bolts.
U. Lambada, 10, 1p, 60', bolts.
V. Levada, 8+, 1p, 80', bolts.
W. The Whopper, 9-, 1p, bolts.
X. Buckets of Rain, 8 or 10-, 1p, 45', bolts.
Y. Lame Line, 8, 1p, 60', gear.


Beware of rattlesnakes along the approach.

26 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at The Canal Zone

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Holiday Road
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Venice Beach
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Route Canal
5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
Made In The Shade
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Ivy League
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Gondolier Arete
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Panama Red
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Bear's Choice
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Turkey Jerky
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Batso Canal
5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Walking With A Ghost
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Holiday Road
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Venice Beach
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Route Canal
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Made In The Shade
5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c Sport
Ivy League
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Gondolier Arete
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Panama Red
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b Sport
Bear's Choice
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Turkey Jerky
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Batso Canal
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Walking With A Ghost
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
More Classic Climbs in The Canal Zone »

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season
Matthew, good question. I've researched this, and I don't have an answer. I've followed that canal from where it's diverted from Clear Creek a few hundred yards upstream of the climbing zone all the way as it curves around the cliffside and eventually peters out near a residential area.

My best guess is that it's somehow related to Coors or some other brewery/distillery that once existed at the mouth of the canyon.

I'm not a climber, but I came across this page doing research on that canal. If anyone has some better information, please contact me, Jan 26, 2018
Does anyone know why there is a canal so high up on the hillside? It took a lot of concrete in difficult terrain, so I am sure it was for a good reason. If anyone can point me to a history of this, I would appreciate it. Sep 10, 2017
SeanC Cahill
Boulder, CO
SeanC Cahill   Boulder, CO
Thanks to whoever added/replaced a bunch of anchors with the mussy hooks there! Noticed A LOT of new hardware today. Sep 6, 2017
Kirk Miller
Golden, CO
Kirk Miller   Golden, CO
Thank you and huge props to Front Range Climbing Stewards, BCC, and all the volunteers involved for their work harvesting and quarrying rock from all around the area, transporting it to the base, and building retaining structures and belay platforms on the left side of the crag. Thanks to the Access Fund for their support to make this happen as well. Amazing, what an improvement! Aug 14, 2017
To the young man who fell today:

I saw you fall from the top and my husband called 911 and got them to you. Words cannot express my anguish at the fall. I called the police and hospital to check on you. My husband and I climb in that canyon often and I have never seen anything like that fall. I have been so upset today. I hope there is someone out there that can let me know if he is ok and what happened.
Thanks Nov 11, 2016
FOUND: left-'Evolv' climbing shoe on Mon. Oct. 3rd @ dark-thirty in front-bottom of Venice Beach (1st section of climbs at Canal Zone (near Tunnel 1 in Clear Creek Canyon). Contact me at 817-271-4808.... TEXT first (even though you can leave a voicemail, I don't get them!)! Oct 5, 2016
Rattlesnake on the approach trail today by the first switchback. Be on the lookout! Aug 14, 2016
L Kap
Boulder, CO
L Kap   Boulder, CO
June 2016 - still a busy crag. Still seeing rattlesnakes on the trail that don't bother to rattle at you. I didn't see any poison ivy at the base of the climbs, although there are some look-alike plants (berry plants with fuzzy stems at the base of the rightmost climbs and a bush/tree all over the place with light green leaves and red stems that I think is box elder). Plenty of poison ivy on the approach trail including a couple of spots where it is encroaching on the trail from both edges at the same time. Please be careful bringing dogs on this trail, especially because of the snakes but also because of the poison ivy. Dogs don't have a reaction to poison ivy, but they can get the oil on their fur and then transfer it to you, your car seats, other climbers, kids, ropes, etc. Jul 13, 2016
Went climbing this weekend at Made in the Shade. Parked at the dirt lot outside the climbing area, and our car was broken into. The thieves broke 2 of the car windows and stole personal items from the car. Be very careful if you park here. Jun 14, 2016
Chris JD
Golden, Co
Chris JD   Golden, Co
All, I recently climbed a route that is between Holiday Road and Beasto. It had 70m marked in chalk at the base, and it was necessary. It was a little grungy at the bottom but overall a pretty fun route. I didn't notice any loose blocks as Jeremy C pointed out in a previous post. I'm curious of the name and who put it up. It felt to be in the 8/9 range. May 31, 2016
Howdy all! I was at the Canal Zone today and I found a really nice, lightweight, waterproof jacket somewhere between Made in the Shade and the 10a arete to the left of it. The brand is Paradox. My number is 5124968079, and I would love to give it back to you! Apr 23, 2016
Jeremy C
Golden, CO
Jeremy C   Golden, CO
Someone bolted a route recently in between Holiday Road and Beasto. It's pretty filthy still and has at least 3 big loose blocks on it. Take EXTREME caution if you choose to climb this route. Oct 18, 2015
A group of 15 high school aged students and 5 staff will be at Canal zone 10am-1:30pm on Thursday August 20.

Happy to accommodate and move around to work with others. Aug 17, 2015
I left some green La Sportiva Tarantulace shoes... 8 or 9 size? The Canal Zone on 22JUN2015. Email me if you see them! jcordera07@gmail… Jun 23, 2015
Golden, CO
samwagner   Golden, CO
I found a fairly new looking pair of shoes beneath Buckets of Rain at the crag yesterday, 1/29/15. Write me describing them if they are yours, so I can get 'em back to ya. Jan 29, 2015
Be careful. Saw rattlesnake on trail up to Canal Zone this AM. Aug 8, 2014
Kirk Miller
Golden, CO
Kirk Miller   Golden, CO
Thanks to Mike Morin, a host of volunteers, and JCOS for the most excellent new trail into the Canal Zone! Great work, many thanks.
Cheers Sep 23, 2013
Kevin Capps
Golden, CO
Kevin Capps   Golden, CO
That's awesome, Mike! I'm sure I speak for a lot of people when I say, I look forward to it. Sep 5, 2013
Climbing shoes found, give me the details and you get them. Aug 18, 2013
Matthew Jeffers
Arvada, CO
Matthew Jeffers   Arvada, CO
I believe I left three draws (green, BD) near Made in the Shade when I was packing up in the dark the other night (7/10/13). I would greatly appreciate them back if they have been found; Thanks! Jul 13, 2013
Found: belay device with biner at Canal Zone on Saturday, June 22, 2013. Reply to this, describe it, and we'll figure a way to get it back to you.
BJ Jun 23, 2013
Eric Risi
Houston, TX
Eric Risi   Houston, TX
Did anyone find a pair of climbing shoes / chalk bag left behind at or around the approach to The Canal Zone? We left at dark last Thursday, and I'm pretty sure these items got lost in that process. Jun 18, 2013
Tucson, Arizona
NickMartel   Tucson, Arizona
Belay device found Easter Sunday, 2013. Describe the device, biner, markings, etc. and it's yours.... I just moved here from Tucson, AZ, did the 1st Flatiron Saturday, found a cam, and then found this belay device Sunday... So far I am 2 for 2 in terms of finding booty every time I go climbing here in CO.... Hopefully it continues!!!

Also what is the name (if it has a name) of the big bloc down in the canyon directly below this wall? Thx. Apr 1, 2013
Dwight Jugornot
Arvada, Co.
Dwight Jugornot   Arvada, Co.
9-29-12 found a belay device today.
Describe it and it's yours.
Dwight Sep 29, 2012
Found carabiner last week. Let me know if this is yours. Jul 28, 2012
Los Angeles, CA   Los Angeles, CA
LOST: 7/25 black iPhone and black wallet. Please message me here or email REWARD. Thanks. Jul 25, 2012
Kevin Gillest
Arvada, CO
Kevin Gillest   Arvada, CO
Shoes found at the Canal Zone Tuesday June 26th, describe make, model and size, they're yours! Jun 29, 2012
Parker Wrozek
Denver, CO
Parker Wrozek   Denver, CO
This has been a real fun place to climb for my wife and I. Every time we go there are a lot of people (I would estimate 30+ today). So you may want to try somewhere else if you want to be alone or go mid week.

Also I saw multiple groups TR through the chains today. There is really nothing that can be done about it besides educate people but it was a sad thing to see. Mar 30, 2012
There is a new route on the arete just left of Batso as of 5/29/11. Aretnophobia. These are not the anchors that needstolearn is asking about. May 31, 2011
I was climbing up here on Made in the Shade, I noticed two bolts here, and do know why they are there no rap rings or chains just two bolts?

Apr 17, 2011
Keith H. North
Englewood, CO
Keith H. North   Englewood, CO
Mike, I had no intention of doing anything without talking you and having you run the event. I have done some work for Mike in Eldo and the people in RMNP. All I would be offering is to find you free slave labor.


Mike Morin
North Conway, NH
Mike Morin   North Conway, NH
Keith, Open Space is working on it. Please don't make any improvements, doing so is actually a violation of Open Space Rules & Regulations. We are planning on bringing people up the old road grade that can be accessed by turning left after crossing the bridge. This is taking some time because the ditch is actually still owned by the ditch company. Before we can make any improvements or do anything to officially direct people up to the ditch, we have to go through the proper legal channels.


Mike Morin
Park Ranger
Jefferson County Open Space Apr 6, 2011
Keith H. North
Englewood, CO
Keith H. North   Englewood, CO

Would people be interested in doing a little work on the trail to the crag? Personally I think it would be nice if an established trail was created that way the approach, both the portion straight down from the parking lot and the portion that goes up the other side of the river are pretty steep and they are seeing very heavy erosion.

If we (climbers) could put in some timber or something to ease out this approach, it would be really nice, especially in such a beginner friendly area.

So interest: Yay or Nay? Apr 6, 2011
Just wondering if any one has found a pair of red and white Scarpa shoes at the Canal Zone. Let me know if you have seen them. Thanks,
Kirk. Sep 6, 2010
Robbie Flick
Denver, CO
Robbie Flick   Denver, CO
As everyone else as said, a big thank you to those who put up these routes, it's great to have a crag with so many nice moderates right around the corner!

I'm new to climbing in this area (East Coast transplant), and I came here for the first time last week. I noticed that all the climbing parties there were lowering directly through the bolts. Where I learned to climb, this is a serious abuse of the crag as it wears the bolts down. Is this considered kosher in this area? Sep 5, 2010
Leo Paik
Westminster, Colorado
Leo Paik   Westminster, Colorado  
Another couple friends reported a rattler on the horizontal part of the approach this summer in prior to the above noted snake. One nearly stepped on or next to it. Beware! Jul 27, 2010
RE: Rattlesnakes Fri 7/23 4:15pm Encountered one - approx 36" x 1 1/4" rattler partially on the trail about 100ft East of the actual cliff. Suspect was completely silent until we rolled rocks it's way, activating its warning system. Lots of poison ivy along the trail, too.

Be alert as these snakes are apparently not required to warn of their presence. Jul 24, 2010
Have there been many snakes sighted here this summer? I hate snakes.... Jul 24, 2010
Golden, CO
Mary303   Golden, CO
We went up here for the first time yesterday and found that if you cut left right after the foot bridge, there is a very well established trail that leads to the area. Not steep and no erosion.

Thanks, Kirk! It's great to have a crag so close to home for a quick session. Sep 17, 2009
Mike Morin
North Conway, NH
Mike Morin   North Conway, NH
The trail and crag are on Jefferson County Open Space land, specifically Clear Creek Canyon Park. The Trails Department is aware of the issue. I'm hopeful that we'll see a better access become available soon. Aug 17, 2009
jon dickey
Half Moon Bay CA
jon dickey   Half Moon Bay CA
Anyone know what the deal is with the trail. It is becoming horribly eroded. Is the trail on private property or can we build a real trail there? Any info would be good. Thanks. Aug 17, 2009
Dan G0D5H411
Colorado Springs, CO
Dan G0D5H411   Colorado Springs, CO
Great new crag. Perfect to start with before heading to the Twilight Zone. Definitely beware of rattlers. We saw two today (one right at the crag and one in the bush on the trail leading in.) Neither warned us it was in the area. I am more cautious of the snake that snaps at you without warning than the snake that tells you to "get the heck out of here". Jul 18, 2009
Lauren D. Hollingsworth
Colorado Springs, CO
Lauren D. Hollingsworth   Colorado Springs, CO
Thanks to Kirk Miller for this great addition to CCC. I really enjoyed all the routes I was able to get on today. All are well-bolted with good anchor positions and the movement is fantastic! Thanks for the investment. Jun 27, 2009
Armin Colorado
Boulder, CO
Armin Colorado   Boulder, CO
Kirk (and others) thanks for all of your hard work and $$ investment, well worth it! It was nice meeting you this evening. Jun 4, 2009
Jeff Welch
Denver, CO
Jeff Welch   Denver, CO
^^^That's 'cause Kirk didn't establish the 5.8! Apr 28, 2009
Kirk- thanks so much for the nice routes, although you forgot to place few bolts on the 5.8! (see runout).
Made in the Shade (5.9) is great stuff.
Keep up the good work. Jan 23, 2009
Wherever we park!
AOSR   Wherever we park!
Every one of these routes has something to offer in the way of fun climbing. Well-protected crux moves make it a good place to push one's level on lead. I think it will be interesting to see what the consensus for route grades become after they clean up a bit more with increased traffic. All-in-all, another great addition to CCC. Sep 17, 2008
Jeff Welch
Denver, CO
Jeff Welch   Denver, CO
I've done every established route here now but the hardest line. Consistently high quality routes, and unique rock. Thanks Kirk. Sep 10, 2008
Ben Helgeson
Ben Helgeson   Denver
Fun climbing and close to home. Thanks to all who put their time, effort, and money into developing the area. Sep 7, 2008
Tim Kline
Littleton, co
Tim Kline   Littleton, co
Great area, loved the 3 routes I did, can't wait to get back to do some more!! Watch out for rattlesnakes, they don't seem to be too afraid of us up there, but don't take your chance. I had one slither by us less than 3 feet away from me and some other climbers. He just went into a corner and watched us, not rattling or anything, but still I would be very watchful of these dangerous guys!! Aug 9, 2008
Jake Wyatt
Longmont, CO
Jake Wyatt   Longmont, CO
Thanks for the new routes, Kirk. This is a great addition to CCC.

The area is already quite popular; at one point this morning there were 17 people, 1 rat, and 1 rattlesnake at the base! Aug 9, 2008
Thanks for the work Kirk; Tracy and I got on one route yesterday before being rained off but had a great time.

Watch out for rattlesnakes in the canal. We had an up close encounter with one on the walk out. Aug 7, 2008
aldoe   littleton
Thanks Kirk, I hope everyone can enjoy this niche crag like we have for weeks. Jul 31, 2008
Gold Plated Rocket Pony   Boulder, CO
Kirk, nice work. Had a great day climbing all the routes today. Jul 26, 2008
Richard M. Wright
Lakewood, CO
Richard M. Wright   Lakewood, CO
Nice job, Kirk!!! I too had been looking at this crag for well over 20 years and just never had the time to check it out. Glad you got it done. Jul 22, 2008

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