|GPS:||39.935, -76.385 Google Map · Climbing Area Map|
|Page Views:||476,519 total · 4,392/month|
|Shared By:||Justin Johnsen on Nov 17, 2011 · Updates|
|Admins:||Justin Johnsen, William Sonoma, SCPC|
Safe Harbor, named after a small village near the cliffs, is a collection of crags spanning a 6.5 mile stretch of the Enola Low Grade Rail Trail in Pennsylvania's historic Lancaster County. Though originally established as a runout (R and X) trad crag and then bogged down with access issues for years after its discovery, it is now one of Pennsylvania's best sport climbing destinations. Most of the rock here is less than vertical with a few steeper lines mixed in, like the classic steep arete Wonderama (5.12a) at Safe Harbor South. The walls of Safe Harbor mostly face west-southwest, giving it plenty of daylight and making it very inviting in cool weather.
Ownership of the land that Safe Harbor is on is split between two neighboring townships. The crags north of the dam are owned by Manor Township, while Safe Harbor South is owned by Conestoga Township, and access to both is free and open as of November 2011. Driving out of the crag on a Saturday evening, the Conestoga Wagon Restaurant looked pretty hopping, but as a "family" restaurant I don't think they serve "adult" beverages. Making the ten minute drive to Lancaster or Columbia will open up plenty of options.
There is no camping allowed at the crag. The nearest campground is Pequea Creek right down the road. Unfortunately, they are currently only open from April to October. Tucquan Park a few miles to the south might be open in the cool season.
The Safe Harbor Climbing Facebook group is the best place to network with other SH climbers.
Driving from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, take New Danville Pike south to Conestoga (5 miles from Central Park, Lancaster). Turn right on Main Street (3 1/2 miles). Main Street ends in a T-intersection with River Road.
You'll turn left on River Road to climb the south, or right to climb the north.
Please reach out to SCPC in regards to the relationship between climbers and Manor/Conestoga townships. SCPC has worked hard to keep a positive relationship with them and knows about the most current access/crag conditions. Thank you!
The local climbing organization is South Central Pennsylvania Climbers.
The first, biggest, and most important thing right now is that we don’t walk past the Stop Signs that specifically say NO ROCK CLIMBING DURING CONSTRUCTION. These signs are located at the parking lot at 0.0 miles in Manor Township (typically used as the bicycle access point to North) and at the goat path next to the bridge at Safe Harbor Park in Conestoga Township. The signs are there because a construction company is fixing the bridge that joins North and South. This project is a huge benefit to rock climbers, as the completion of the bridge will make the climbing at both sides of Safe Harbor more accessible than it’s ever been. The project has begun and is contractually obligated to finish by November 2021, but both the township and the builders believe it will be finished by October at the latest, if not as early as August. It really just depends on the severity of the winter and how fast they can get it done.
These Stop signs do present a temporary headache for people wishing to climb at Safe Harbor, but there are other places where you can park and access the trail. The best option for climbing at South is to park in Shenk’s Ferry Nature Preserve on Green Hill Road. The dirt road is currently in great shape and can easily and safely be negotiated by any car of any kind. There is parking available there for so, so many vehicles, but as always please be polite and low impact, as we do share the area with other user groups. There is a well-marked trail from the parking to the railroad bed, and from there it is less than a one-mile hike to the main wall at South. If for some reason that area is full, there is additional parking available further down the railroad bed on Colemanville Church Road, which is a spur road off of River Road. The paved lot located at the termination of Colemanville Church Rd can accommodate a bunch of additional vehicles, and although the hike from this lot is a bit long (2.8 miles I think), it can easily be mitigated with a bicycle.
As far as North is concerned, I cannot stress enough the importance of not blatantly walking past the Stop signs and climbing. We have a great relationship with Manor Township, and it would be so unfortunate if something were to happen to jeopardize that. The path is closed so that the company fixing the bridge can move their construction vehicles in and out as needed. This company has outlined in the contract that they will be working Monday through Friday only. With this in mind, it is Manor Township’s official unofficial position that we are okay to climb at North on Saturday and Sunday, as long as no construction equipment is present, and we don’t walk past the Stop signs. I was hesitant to even post this because I can see it going awry very quickly, but as of right now, as long as we use common sense and common decency and maintain a very low profile, we are allowed to climb at North on Saturday and Sunday, IF AND ONLY IF we only enter from Chestnut Grove or the Cemetery Wall parking lots. No bikes, no main parking lot under the windmills, NO WEEKDAYS. God help, me please don’t screw this up. It is possible that later, if the project falls behind there could be weekend work and if that happens, we will need to stay away while they do their thing.
Classic Climbing Routes at Safe Harbor
Days w Precip