Elevation: 7,187 ft
GPS: 35.51, -105.838 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 13,512 total · 193/month
Shared By: Rich Strang on Mar 4, 2013
Admins: Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski
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A high concentration of sandstone boulders very close to Santa Fe. The area is about 5 miles north of Eldorado and in the Eldorado Community Open Space. As yet pretty much unexplored and un-tapped, I've seen descriptions of this area as a mini Joe's Valley but I wouldn't say that untill its fully explored. In winter when in the sun it can be 30 degrees and you can climb in a T-shirt. Climb the same problems in summer in the afternoon shade and it still isn't too hot. A great place to have some fun year round without spending too much time driving or walking.

Getting There

From the Eldorado exit (exit 290 on I-25) take the frontage road (Old Las Vegas Hwy) north for a couple miles. Go right on to Ojo de la Vaca, that road goes under I-25 at the bottom of the hill. Follw this several miles and cross over the RR tracks. Go about 1 mile past the tracks, uphill to a dirt parking area on the right. The parking is just after the road turns to dirt.

Area Approaches

Approach 1 (to easy warm-ups)
From the gate at the parking head south a couple hundred feet to the 401 trail junction on the right. Continue another 100 feet south from here and turn right into the woods at a small carin. follow the faint carined trail southwest and up the hill towrds rocks and cliffs. Reach the Double 45s after about 1/4 mile. From the Double 45s follw carins west uphill and south towards the main cliff band and reach The Solarium after about another 1/4 mile.
Approach 2 (original approach to The Playground)
Turn right (west) onto trail 401 several 100 feet from the parking. Follow this trail up the switchbacks and take the left branch heading south. After about 1/4 mile look for small carins making the hard to see trail on the left. Follow the carins which are more like "tombstone" markers to the cliff edge. Scramble down the cliff band via some 3rd class. The Playground area is here, head left (north) several hundred feet to get to The Solarium warmups

Access & Use

Technicaly to use this area you are suppose to be with an Eldorado resident. However, residents have told me that the community really doesn't care if other people use the open space as long as they are respectful, not dumping trash and liter, shooting firearms,etc. Also there are some petroglyphs at the very southern end of the main cliff band. Probably best not to climb anywhere near that area. In the past there was someone who was bouldering right on top of these petroglyphs (STUPID!) and that started getting some people up in arms. Let's respect the area and hopefully it won't get shut down. It's quite nice to have some enjoyable problems close to Santa Fe and the place is awesome in the middle of winter.

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Very nice guide and photos to Cactus Haven, Kudos to RStrang & Co. Good to have some strong boulders put up the descriptions. Mixed feelings on seeing the guide on MP but that is just human nature (e.g. no longer somewhat obscure). Couple things to add... Is it possible to post up a brief on access concerns and history? I was introduced to Cactus Haven in 2004 and i think there was some posts back on rockclimbing.com but wondered when this place was first bouldered... Could have been a while ago. Also, I was told that access was restricted to eldorado residents and their guests. I am not a resident but, always had the address of my eldorado buddy memorized in case I was asked. You know just as a backup, for what it was worth!
Mar 29, 2013
Just to share some info for folks who consider checking this spot out : There are No Trespassing signs all around the area, most importantly, right in front of the gate going in. We didn't end up climbing as we didn't want to tread in their space. Would have been nice knowing this prior to the trip, as all I read here was that locals didn't really care... I don't know if the signs are new, but they seem worth mentioning. Apr 29, 2014
Owen S.
Los Alamos
Owen S.   Los Alamos
vimeo.com/113358099 Dec 2, 2014
Northern NM
Souljah   Northern NM
We began climbin' & bouldering this area before it had a name (back in 2000). Here's my son on an un-named 40 ft. top rope problem, one of several.

Dec 27, 2016
Erin Coughlin
Denver, CO
Erin Coughlin   Denver, CO
Just a heads up - looks like every cairn has been washed away by recent rain, making the routes near impossible to find. We ended up turning back after about an hour of looking. Nov 2, 2018