Description

Coopers Rock State Forest is a hidden gem for climbers in the Mid-Atlantic region. It is known for its stiff grades and “gritstone” like rock. Conveniently located just off of I-68 in northern West Virginia, it hosts hundreds of established boulder problems, several top-rope climbs, and enough short trad leads for some to warrant bringing a rack. With its close proximity to Morgantown and the West Virginia University campus, it tends to stay fairly busy with climbers, hikers, mountain bikers, and your everyday tourists.

Guidebooks
There have been a number of climbing topos created for Coopers Rock, but there are two published guidebooks from Falcon Guides that are the most up to date and helpful. “Coopers Rock Bouldering Guide” is the most current guide for bouldering and “Rock Climbing in VA, WV, and MD” is the most current rope climbing guide. Both of these books can be purchased at Pathfinder in Morgantown.

Geology
The “gritstone” featured at Coopers Rock is known as the Upper Connoquenessing Sandstone of the Pottsville Formation. This resistant quartz rich layer of Pennsylvanian age sandstone is roughly 300 million years old. This rock unit outcrops throughout the Cheat Canyon and in many other places in the state including Blackwater Falls, Dolly Sods, and Spruce Knob. For climbers, this rock is characterized by an abundance of slopers, rounded jugs, sloping pockets, and the occasional edge. Many routes here have very shallow features that can only be used effectively due to the very coarse texture of this rock.

Winter Gate Closure 
Climbing here in the winter tends to be inconvenient due to the forest’s front gate being closed from around December 1st - March 31, weather dependent. The only way to access the majority of the climbing when the gate is closed is to hike the nearly three miles out the road.

Rainy Days
The rock at Coopers tends to take a long time to dry. After a hard rain, plan on giving the area a whole day to dry out. Generally, if the road is dry when you get into the forest, the rock will be dry as well. The first area to dry is usually the Tilted Tree area. Roadside and Upper Rock City take a bit longer. A few bouldering routes that tend to stay dry in the rain are Always Dry Roof and most of the routes on the Mad Butcher Block . If you do get totally rained out, Coopers has a good network of trails for hiking and mountain biking. Also, you can visit the climbing wall at the WVU Student Rec Center for $10 per day.

Climbing Rules
There are a few important rules here pertaining to climbing, please follow them in order to keep climbing access secure and help us climbers maintain a positive relationship with the park rangers.
1. The forest closes at dark. If your car is still in the parking lot after dark, a ranger will find it and you may be ticketed.
2. Placing bolts is not allowed in Coopers Rock State Forest. If you are caught placing bolts by a ranger, you will likely be prosecuted. While climbing here, you will most likely come across a few bolts. Use them if you will, but just know that these were not placed in accordance with the forest rules.
3. Please adhere to the no climbing zones, this is crucial. These zones include the main overlook and the area surrounding it indicated by “no climbing” signs. They also include the Haystack Block below the main overlook.

Local Gear Shop and Restaurants
The local gear shop in Morgantown is Pathfinder, it is located on High Street. They have a large selection of outdoor gear in stock and should have just about any climbing gear you might need. You will also find many good restaurants in this area, most notably Black Bear. This fantastic burrito restaurant has a great variety of food and craft beers and is a favorite among the local outdoor community.

Camping
Camping can be had within Coopers Rock State Forest at the McCollum Campground or just outside of the forest and across the interstate at the Chestnut Ridge Campground. Both places have camping for tents, hookups for campers, and shower houses.

Hunting
Hunting is quite popular at Coopers Rock. Although much of the climbing is within the no hunting “safe zones”, some is not. If you are outside of these zones during any hunting season, consider wearing bright orange and be respectful of hunters, they have just as much of a right to be there as you do. That being said, if you are within the normal climbing areas listed in the guidebooks and don’t venture too far off of the trails, you should be fine.

Getting There

Located in West Virginia, just off of Exit 15 on I-68. 20 minutes East of Morgantown. 1.5 hours South of Pittsburgh. 3 hours West of DC.

155 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

Location: Coopers Rock State Forest Change
Type:  to 
Quality:
Pitches:
Sort by:   then:
 

Classic Climbing Routes at Coopers Rock State Forest

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
V2 5+
 11
Always Dry Roof
Boulder
V3- 6A
 20
Tomb Raider
Boulder
V3 6A
 14
Moby's Dick
Boulder
V3 6A
 6
The Cave Route
Boulder
V4- 6B PG13
 11
Electric Avenue
Boulder
V4 6B
 3
Tombstone Arete
Boulder
V4 6B
 17
Anti-Elvis
Boulder
V5 6C
 12
George Washington's Nose
Boulder
V5 6C
 19
Helicopter
Boulder
V5 6C
 4
Green Block Test Piece
Boulder
V5 6C
 8
Mountaineer's Route (Direct)
Boulder
V5 6C
 13
Twist Dah Hick
Boulder
V5 6C
 12
Roundhouse
Boulder
V5 6C
 7
Ship's Prow
Boulder
V6 7A
 3
Pocket Problem
Boulder
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Always Dry Roof Tilted Tree > Tilted Tree Corridor
 11
V2 5+ Boulder
Tomb Raider Upper Rock City > Tomb Raider Area
 20
V3- 6A Boulder
Moby's Dick Tilted Tree > Moby's Dick Area
 14
V3 6A Boulder
The Cave Route Rdside > Tendon Repair Kit
 6
V3 6A Boulder
Electric Avenue Tilted Tree > Electric Avenue Boulder
 11
V4- 6B PG13 Boulder
Tombstone Arete Tilted Tree > Fiddle Area
 3
V4 6B Boulder
Anti-Elvis Tilted Tree > Anti-Elvis Area
 17
V4 6B Boulder
George Washington's Nose Upper Rock City > Tomb Raider Area
 12
V5 6C Boulder
Helicopter Rdside > Warm-Up Boulders
 19
V5 6C Boulder
Green Block Test Piece Rdside > Green Block
 4
V5 6C Boulder
Mountaineer's Route (Direct) Rdside > Tendon Repair Kit
 8
V5 6C Boulder
Twist Dah Hick Tilted Tree > Tilted Tree Corridor
 13
V5 6C Boulder
Roundhouse Upper Rock City > Roundhouse Boulder
 12
V5 6C Boulder
Ship's Prow Upper Rock City > Tomb Raider Area
 7
V5 6C Boulder
Pocket Problem Tilted Tree > Tilted Tree Corridor
 3
V6 7A Boulder
More Classic Climbs in Coopers Rock State Forest »

Weather Averages

High
 
Low
 
Precip
 
Days w Precip
 
Prime Climbing Season
J F M A M J J A S O N D
J F M A M J J A S O N D

Photos

Is it safe to climb at Cooper's this weekend? In terms of the deer hunting season in WV? 3 days ago · Temporary Report
Foster Tucker
Morgantown, West Virginia
Foster Tucker   Morgantown, West Virginia  
Yeah, it should be fine. There are no hunting zones in parts of the forest around some of the bouldering areas like Upper Rock City. As long as you are in the normal climbing areas and don't venture too far off of the trails you will be fine. Also, the front gate may or may not be closed for the season since we have had some snow recently, so there is a chance you might have to walk in from there. 3 days ago · Temporary Report