Elevation: 6,000 ft
GPS: 36.6, -105.692 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 11,401 total · 89/month
Shared By: Jay Foley on Oct 4, 2008
Admins: Mike Howard, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski


Secluded Sport and Trad crack climbing on the West Side of the Rio Grande Gorge North of John Dunn Bridge. This is a "funky" area, some people have raved about the climbing here, while others have walked away without climbing. The cliff although very solid is scary looking with many fractures and sits above a rough dusty base.The climbing is well featured with lots of flat edges,crimps and cracks on mostly vertical to slightly overhanging basalt. The routes tend to be close together and short. Although a few sport routes are now 30 meters. The sport routes are well equipped and climb steep faces and aretes on solid rock. The trad routes follow cracks in faces and corners. Although there is typically ample pro the cracks can be jagged and be hollow or have some small loose rocks in the cracks. Expect tricky gear placements!

Getting There

From the John Dunn Bridge Area described in the guide book Taos Rock or The Arroyo Hondo/Seco area follow road past John's wall up switch backs to the west rim above John Dunn Bridge. Turn right (North) on well maintained Montoso road (towards houses). Continue on this road for 1.6 miles. stay right at fork past last house onto two track (high clearance/4WD if wet). Continue 2.5 miles stay on main track then right at fork and park at Miner's trail head. Note: Don't get caught in a rainstorm here. If you do it may be wise to wait until road dries before trying to drive out. Check out ariel view above for Google maps.

From Town of Taos or locations such as Tres Piedras it may be better to approach this crag from NM highway 64 west of the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, a bit further but faster driving: Turn North at mile marker 236 onto Montoso rd (dirt toward Chiflo Mountain (currently signed only on the East side). Pass over cattle guard and continue on this road for 3.7 miles. Now turn left (North) and follow directions above from Montoso Rd.

From parking: Do not go down the main trail head, sometimes signed, Miner's Trail.
Walk back Southeast on two track road (closed to vehicles?). Look for faint cairned climber's trail on your left when "road" goes down small hill at first rock outcrops (about 1/4 mile).

Then follow cairns down steep trail into Rio Grande Gorge (about 10 minutes) and eventually traverse right through loose "shale trail" at base of cliff for about 5 more minutes. Beware this trail has a few loose exposed sections. The cliff sits about midway between the rim and the river. About 20 minutes from car park.

Click on "Aerial photo/map" link above for approximate locale.

Great Camping, Mountain Biking, Hiking abound. The Class II whitewater run from Miner's trail to John Dunn Bridge (Middle Box) is a nice casual paddle with one real rapid at "Horsethief Shorty".

Guide Service - Mountain Skills climbingschoolusa.com/index…

42 Total Climbs

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Prime Climbing Season
Jason Halladay
Los Alamos, NM
Jason Halladay   Los Alamos, NM  
Awesome, Jay, thanks for doing that! Sure makes it easier for those of us heading there for the first time to more easily identify what's what. Mar 18, 2009
Sweet Jay. 40+ routes. whoed ah thunk.. Nice job everyone. I think this place is fun. Mar 19, 2009
This crag is seldom visited and the trail has become a bit obscure but the routes have cleaned up well and despite the initial appearance some of the rock is quite solid hard basalt,(bring extra bits if equipping). Kevin & I climbed Tim's new 30 meter route Mother Lode,and (despite a bit of loose rock in the easy middle section)loved it! I think if someone was willing to put in the work there could be some killer hard routes through some of the upper tiers. Jan 14, 2010
Aaron Miller
Santa Fe, NM
Aaron Miller   Santa Fe, NM
This is an interesting crag, lots of cool and varied routes. The rock is flaky in spots but generally good. Would clean up well with more traffic, but dont expect that any time soon.

Just so everyone knows, 2015 has been a fairly wet year with some big rain events. We climbed about 5 routes here in October and they were all covered in a fine silt from probably a big pour-over or two. We had to brush holds as we climbed as they were slick as snot. Once brushed and blown free of dust, they were as good as new. Dont know how long this will last. Seems like its been a while since the last visitation here, the trail was overgrown with grasses and fourwing saltbush, I would bring clippers the next time I go so you can see the trail. Perhaps Winter brings the local crowds? Oct 26, 2015