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Areas in Bowman Valley

B - Word 0 / 13 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 13
Bowman Bouldering 0 / 0 / 0 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Boy Scout Wall 0 / 13 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 15
Candy Land 0 / 6 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6
Cove, The 0 / 15 / 5 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 19
Downstream Crag, The 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Fun House, The 1 / 11 / 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 13
Gas and Electric Crag 0 / 5 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6
Gum Drop, The 1 / 3 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
High Lands 0 / 3 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
Ireland 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
Island In The Sky (aka Bowman Lake Dome) 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Larry Land 0 / 21 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 21
North Highlands, The 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
Old Flume Face 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
Rediscovery Dome Left 3 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 8
Rediscovery Dome Right 0 / 7 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 7
Scottland 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Upper Cove 0 / 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4


Bowman Valley (sometimes called Bowman Lake) is a series of secluded crags beneath the Bowman Lake Dam where a number of easy to difficult sport climbs have been developed in recent years, with great deal of sport climbing development opportunity here. The rock is heavily textured granite, with excellent friction, and ranges from slab to overhanging roofs with permadraws.

Free camping can be had here, and the only traffic the road gets is National Forest staff, ATV enthusiasts, and climbers. There is excellent swimming in the lake by climbing above Larry Land onto the damn and crossing over the spillway.

Getting There

The approach varies depending upon the vehicle used to enter on the National Forest, but a rental car can usually make it within a few miles of the approach trailheads. A good SUV can take you all the way. Take Bowman Lake Road off of Highway 20, usually approached via Interstate 80. Once you turn off of Interstate 80 and head down highway 20 (toward Nevada city) you go 3.5 miles and you will turn right onto Bowman lake road. Continue on Bowman Lake road for 13 1/2 miles and you will come to a bridge below Bowman Lake dam. This bridge will be the landmark for the areas in Bowman Valley. The road starts out paved but the last 5 miles are gravel and a little rough in spots. See the GPS location for the precise location of the area to park in.

125 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Bowman Valley

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Circus Tricks
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Pulp Friction
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Candy Land
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Rock n Rolla
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Pork Chop
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Candy Man
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
Sugar Rush
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Long Shot
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Flying Snakes
5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a
"The" WARM-UP!
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Juno Your Case Worker
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
We've Come for your Daughter, CHUCK
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
Handbook of the Recently Deceased
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Circus Tricks Fun House
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Sport
Pulp Friction Cove
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Sport
Candy Land Candy Land
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Rock n Rolla Candy Land
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Pork Chop Boy Scout Wall
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Candy Man Candy Land
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Sugar Rush Candy Land
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b Sport
Bozo Fun House
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Shangri-La Rediscovery Dome Left
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Long Shot Cove
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Flying Snakes Cove
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
"The" WARM-UP! B - Word
5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a Sport
Juno Your Case Worker B - Word
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
We've Come for your Daughte… B - Word
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Handbook of the Recently De… B - Word
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Sport
More Classic Climbs in Bowman Valley »

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season


jesselyb Lee
Sioux Falls, SD
jesselyb Lee   Sioux Falls, SD
Anyone have specific route info? I hear there's supposed to be a guidebook coming out with Bowman in it, but anybody want to help a guy out in the mean time? Jan 13, 2012
J. Albers
J. Albers   Colorado
Kurt, the wall you called "Steve's Slab Crag" is actually called 'The Funhouse."

...and as far as more info, there will be a new guidebook in the near future. Jan 13, 2012
Kurt Swanson
Philadelphia, PA
Kurt Swanson   Philadelphia, PA
some info about routes at Larry Land can be gleaned here:…

Having been there myself, I have just two pieces of beta to offer: easy stuff, go to the funhouse, hard stuff go to Larry Land. Jan 14, 2012
Bowman Valley off I-80/Hwy 20 past the Emeralds (13 miles). Some of the best moderate sport cragging in the Tahoe area. So far about 70 routes - mostly 5.8 - 5.12. Free camping, excellent swimming. Larry Land lies below the cement dam/Bowman Lake, Candy Land and the Cove across the flume base of the descent road (Windy Point). Plus Scott Land, Ire Land, B-Word. All offer excellent climbing of all grades. Cheers. Feb 16, 2013
Los Alamos, NM
Aerili   Los Alamos, NM
Thanks for posting this area up! Feb 20, 2013
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Nukem   Fort Lauderdale, Florida
so many effing bugs here!! but the amazing climbing makes up for it, well worth the trip out!! Jul 4, 2013
Best time to climb here is spring and fall. Best places to camp are around the Cove/Candy Land and just past washout on left near B Word. Sep 1, 2014
Ari G  
Great climbing and some of the most consistent bolting I have seen in California.

Bowman Lake Road is fine for all cars up through the developed climbing areas. But if you plan to continue farther along the road to camp by the lake, you will not make it in a 2WD sedan. We barely made it to Bowman Lake campground in a Subaru Forester this past weekend.

Beautiful weather and climbing, thanks to all who have been developing these routes. Jul 13, 2015
Kelley Gilleran
Sacramento, Ca
Kelley Gilleran   Sacramento, Ca…

Awsesome article about Bowman written by Mike Carville starts on page 56 of the 2015 summer edition of California Climber Magazine. Aug 14, 2015
As an Emeralds-lover I finally checked out Bowman yesterday - we had an amazing time and will certainly go back more regularly. To all the folks who developed this area and continue updating it, thank you. It's one of the few places in the states that reminds me of the thoughtfulness, consistency, safety and excellent/fun route quality that I experience every summer living in Switzerland.

On the drive back around 6pm an insane guy in a gigantic truck trailering a large boat nearly hit us and knock us off the ledge in the more dangerous unpaved section around a corner's blindspot. We had a bad near-miss for which he hardly slowed down but did a lot of swerving and skidding. If I hadn't been paying attention and move to the right shoulder he would have hit us, he was flying too fast to break. Luckily, I was already on guard because I could tell with the ATV trailers and shot gun shells this is popular non-climber territory. What's that road like over the weekend when those folks are in full throttle? It almost makes me not want to go out there at certain times (I'm sure other climbers would like less folks out there anyway, lol). But really - has anyone else had drama with people driving badly on that road? If this guy had done this to me closer to Bowman there wouldn't have been the minimal shoulder for me to drive on! Do rangers patrol the area at all? May 13, 2016…

Check out Josh Horniak's new website for his upcoming guide book to Tahoe north shore. Free topo for Larry Land, Bowman. May 29, 2016
Chasing Choss
Chasing Choss   California
PG&E had the cove lit up all night with lights as they were working on the flumes this weekend. anyone tried to go climb while they had the lights on? would be pretty awesome if they didn't mind!! Jun 20, 2016
Alex Saingchin
Oakland, CA
Alex Saingchin   Oakland, CA
Any beta on the road conditions to Bowman? May 19, 2017
no more snow, road is clear and open. May 28, 2017
Andrew Braunstein
San Francisco, CA
Andrew Braunstein   San Francisco, CA
I was up there this past weekend for some great climbing and camping.

The road is clear of snow so getting there isn't a problem. Unfortunately, the second bridge has collapsed, so if you want to get to Boy Scout Wall, B-Word, etc. you'll need to cross the broken bridge by foot which has lots of water running across it.

Also, multiple groups that we saw up there said that Larry Land is completely inaccessible due to the dam's spillway dumping massive amounts of water.

All but the two leftmost routes at Candyland were wet, but that may change in a week or so.

Even with all of this, there were tons of amazing routes to climb. May 30, 2017
Zachary W
San Francisco, California
Zachary W   San Francisco, California
The road to Bowman was in pretty good shape up to the bridge as of 5/28/17, however the bridge is out!

Videos of this crossing:…… Jun 1, 2017
Paul Ladev├Ęze
San Francisco, CA
Paul Ladev├Ęze   San Francisco, CA

Photos off the broken bridge here

About the road condition.
You can drive pretty far until the broken bridge, even with a 2WD. Or stop 400 meters before at the Cove/CandyLand parking.
Some gravels after may make the way back a bit hard though.

With a honda Element or a subaru with good clearance it will be easy but to cross the broken bridge seem to require a more serious 4WD. Jul 17, 2017
Isaac Snow
San Francisco, CA
Isaac Snow   San Francisco, CA
Does the bridge being out affect the directions to get there at all? The coords point directly to what I assume is the bridge that is out. Is everything accessible from that point?

I drive an Outback, so based on other comments it sounds like I can get to that point but not cross the bridge. Oct 2, 2017
Kelley Gilleran
Sacramento, Ca
Kelley Gilleran   Sacramento, Ca
You can walk across the bridge. No worries. Oct 3, 2017
Eric L
Roseville, CA
Eric L   Roseville, CA

Bridge is not passable, but you can drive around to the left with a high clearance 4x4. Not for the casual off-roader, though. Oct 23, 2017
I read on the Forest service website that Bowman Lake road is closed January 1-March 31 (…). If this is true, then that's a bummer because its been so warm and dry this winter! Feb 10, 2018
Kyle Bishop
Nevada City, CA
Kyle Bishop   Nevada City, CA  
@kim It's open. Some friends just went out there today. It's a little sketch with a 2-wheel because of the snow, but I bet it will be totally dry in one or two more weeks.

March 27, 2018 EDIT: It has snowed a shitload since I initially posted this. Bowman probably won't be passable for a LONG time. Feb 10, 2018
Isaac Snow
San Francisco, CA
Isaac Snow   San Francisco, CA
Anyone know what the road is like? I know it snowed a lot in March but its been fairly warm/dry since then as far as I know. Apr 27, 2018
Kelley Gilleran
Sacramento, Ca
Kelley Gilleran   Sacramento, Ca
Still has snow on the road from Grouse Ridge downhill as of last Tuesday. Its storming up there this weekend. Apr 27, 2018
Has anyone been up here recently and can give an update on the conditions? Also, is it possible to access all the climbing and camping with the bridge being out? May 20, 2018
Truckee, California
Jskierpx   Truckee, California
As of 5/24/2018 the road in is clear all the way to the bridge, which is still washed out. The alternative route around the bridge is definitely for a high clearance 4wd vehicle. With that being said, the entire way in from Bowman Lake Road is in great shape for a low clearance 2wd vehicle, and you can park/camp at lots of spots prior to the bridge. The hike up to the crags beyond the bridge washout are only 10-20 minutes so no big deal. It was my first time out here and definitely a rad spot. We were the only ones out there. May 24, 2018
Eric Schnepel
Eric Schnepel   Portland
Hi All!

I recently had a full set of draws taken off of "Bio-Exorcist" at the B-word Wall. I had left some project draws on the route a couple weeks back as many of the clips are difficult and cleaning the route is something of a pain. Sometime in the last week or so, someone stripped all except for three draws off of the route. There was one long draw that I had fixed with a quicklink in the middle of the route to assist with cleaning the steepest section and make the most difficult clip a little more reasonable for shorter folks. Whomever removed the rest of my draws was unable to remove the dogbone due to the quicklink, but they did steal the carabiner off the end of the draw. Because the route is somewhat steeper after this section, they were unable to reach the 3 draws below, so these were left in place. Accordingly, I would assume that the draw liberator walked to the top of the cliff and rapped in from above. Thus, they were not able to swing in and reach the draws under the roof. Funny enough, they even took the hardware from the anchors leaving only rap hangers. They were nothing if not thorough!

Anyhow, just wanted to post to see if anyone had seen anything while climbing. My draws are Black Diamond Livewires from a few years back with a black 'biner on top and green on the bottom. They have the sponsor logo on the dogbone, so they are not necessarily a common setup. If anyone has seen anything let me know! Hoping it was just a misguided newbie who thought they found an entire pitch of leaver-biners, but I'm guessing this isn't the case.

I'll head out next weekend and replace the anchor hardware with steel chain / biners as a replacement for the somewhat manky setup that was stolen. Additionally, I'll put a long permadraw on the most difficult clip to allow non-giants to reach from the proper stance and assist in making cleaning of the lower section reasonable.

Hoping this doesn't devolve into a discussion over the ethics of leaving draws on a project route at a sport crag... Aug 13, 2018

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