Elevation: 530 ft
GPS: 37.618, -89.415 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 170,460 total · 2,409/month
Shared By: Joe Sambataro on Apr 29, 2013
Admins: Dave Hug

Description

THE BOULDERS: The Holy Boulders is the largest concentration of boulders in Southern Illinois. There are over 200 developed boulder problems from V0 to V13 and has the potential for hundreds more. The sandstone boulders and cliff line are known for their Fontainebleau-like perfect friction and aesthetic lines.

THE SEASON: Its highly recommended to visit the Holy Boulders October to early April and avoid a trip May through September when the humidity is high and the poison ivy, ticks, and chiggers are out. A good network of trails have been improved since 2012, helping navigate the different zones.

THE RULES: Please remember to practice leave no trace ethics, pack it in-pack it out, and stay on existing trails where possible. Respect adjacent private property to the south and do not drive up or approach from Tripp's Lane. Overnight use, ORV/vehicular access, and hunting are not permitted on the property. Please contact ICA or Access Fund immediately if there are any concerns.

Stay tuned for updates and users are welcome to add boulders and boulder problems to this database. ICA still needs your support to raise the remaining acquisition costs: donate today at www.ilclimbers.org

Resources

[[Illinois Climbers Association]]ilclimbers.org
Founded in 2002. The Illinois Climbers Association is a charitable organization representing the climbers of Illinois. We are dedicated to preserving climbing and bouldering access in Illinois through education, conservation, and cooperation.

Mission

The Illinois Climbers Association is a 501(c)3 charitable organization created to:

  1. Promote and support conservation and preservation of both rock climbing and bouldering areas, and their respective natural resources in Illinois
  2. Encourage optimal recreational use of Illinois outdoor climbing resources through land stewardship education and by facilitating cooperation between climbers, private land owners, and public land managers
  3. Encourage and promote the development of policies and practices that will preserve climbing and bouldering areas in Illinois

Getting There

The Holy Boulders are in Jackson County, Southern Illinois. It is 30 minutes southwest of Carbondale; 2.5 from St. Louis; 2.5 from Evansville; 3.5 from Nashville; and 5.5 hours from Chicago. It is nestled on the western slopes of Shawnee National Forest on both public and private land.

There are two parking areas off Macedonia Road to the west of the property. From the northern end directly across from FS Road 2078, spot a hiking trail just before a road cut to the powerline easement. Follow this path in the trees along a small stream before crossing the powerline cut. After 15 minutes (2/3 mile), you cross into ICA property and come to a small kiosk at the Mollusk boulder. Please remember that parking and the initial approach are on Shawnee National Forest - please leave no trace and do not improve the trail. Not all local roads are clearly marked in the area and cell service can be spotty, so upload the driving directions beforehand.

Click Here for Driving Directions

The main access point may change in the future. Check in for updates.

2012 Mini Guide

The History

The Holy Boulders are open thanks to efforts by local climbers, Illinois Climbers Association, and Access Fund to acquire the property when the Tripp Family put it up for sale in May 2012, putting the boulders at risk of indefinite closure. The Tripp Family owned the property for 47 years and gave climbers permission to climb when it was discovered in 2004, but public information was limited due to its unprotected status. After subdivision and resale of the farm lots, four years of fundraising and trail improvements, and extensive collaboration with local climbers, BETA Fund, and ICA, Access Fund transferred the 46-acre bouldering area to ICA for long-term ownership and management in 2016. Access Fund holds a permanent conservation and recreation easement to back up ICA’s long-term commitment, ensuring continued conservation and climbing access at the Holy Boulders into perpetuity. BETA Fund manages the medical kit and serves as the conservation easement land steward. For more information and history, go online toaccessfund.org/holyboulders

175 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

Location: The Holy Boulders Change
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Classic Climbing Routes at The Holy Boulders

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
V1-2 5
 37
Public Enemy
Boulder
V2-3 5+
 99
The Mollusk
Boulder
V2-3 5+
 53
KFC
Boulder
V3 6A
 41
Sukha
Boulder
V4 6B
 34
Helios
Boulder
V4 6B
 27
Atlas
Boulder
V4 6B
 20
Full Grain
Boulder
V4+ 6B+
 43
Enlightenment
Boulder
V5 6C
 52
Shadow of a Man
Boulder
V5 6C
 26
Tyler Durden
Boulder
V5 6C
 14
Tabernacle
Boulder
V5-6 6C+
 22
Undercling King
Boulder
V6 7A
 23
The Red Sea
Boulder
V6 7A
 23
Calypso
Boulder
V8 7B
 17
Jungle Book
Boulder
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Public Enemy Public Enemy Boulder
 37
V1-2 5 Boulder
The Mollusk Mollusk Boulder
 99
V2-3 5+ Boulder
KFC Shadow of a Man Area
 53
V2-3 5+ Boulder
Sukha Brown Cow Area
 41
V3 6A Boulder
Helios Brown Cow Area
 34
V4 6B Boulder
Atlas Atlas Boulder
 27
V4 6B Boulder
Full Grain Jump for Jesus Area
 20
V4 6B Boulder
Enlightenment Illuminati Boulders
 43
V4+ 6B+ Boulder
Shadow of a Man Shadow of a Man Area
 52
V5 6C Boulder
Tyler Durden Tyler Durden Area
 26
V5 6C Boulder
Tabernacle Jump for Jesus Area
 14
V5 6C Boulder
Undercling King Illuminati Boulders
 22
V5-6 6C+ Boulder
The Red Sea Red Sea Boulder
 23
V6 7A Boulder
Calypso Atlas Boulder
 23
V6 7A Boulder
Jungle Book Illuminati Boulders
 17
V8 7B Boulder
More Classic Climbs in The Holy Boulders »

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J F M A M J J A S O N D
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Hey I am just wondering if there is primitive camping in the holy boulders area, and if not where the closest camping would be? Nov 6, 2013
Best camping we found was at Murphysboro lake. we tried out devils backbone, but it was kind of sketchy. also read about a place called turkey bayou (?), but didn't check it out. Feb 5, 2015
Max Cody
Salt Lake City, UT
Max Cody   Salt Lake City, UT
Anyone have beta for the trad lines here? Jul 20, 2015
Dylan Pike
Sandy, UT
Dylan Pike   Sandy, UT
I know of three traditional lines. From the large roof at the cliffline, head to the climber's right. You will see an offwidth, which I haven't climbed. If you continue (maybe 50 yards) you will come to a nice hand crack. I've climbed it a couple times. It probably goes at 5.7 If you head back the other way, pass the roof, and stop across from the shadow of a man area, you will see another roof with a fist crack leading up to it. Climb the crack to the roof, crawl to the left and finish in a slot. This line is pretty tame (5.6?)

The cliff is pretty short (40ft). Plan on bringing slings if you want to set up a toprope. You can scramble up to the top of the cliff, so no need to rap. Sep 30, 2015
Max Cody
Salt Lake City, UT
Max Cody   Salt Lake City, UT
Thanks a bunch! I'm going to head out there in a few hours and try 'em out. Sep 30, 2015
Has there been a guidebook released yet for holy boulders? If not, are there any downloadable topos or other info anybody knows of? Apr 15, 2016
Chris Arnold
St. Louis
Chris Arnold   St. Louis
Recently picked up a crashpad and will be heading out here a bit from the St. Louis area if anyone is interested this season.

Daniel, there is no guidebook as of yet. I assume they will make a killer one soon enough because there are millions of routes out there. There are some good guides on here actually, if you look through the photos on here, there are two "BETA photo: from comp 2014" that actually help a ton in locating routes. Plus I'd download Mountain Project on your phone and download the photos before you go out there. You can use it offline and locate routes that way as well. Sep 15, 2016
Cfresh
Barrington il
Cfresh   Barrington il
Hey guys and gals I finally got a chance to make it down to the holy last weekend and had a blast thanks for having me had a hard time figuring out where I was at first but eventually figured it out just wondering if someone could tell me which claims these were a couple I really dug


Sep 27, 2016
Chris, I'm going down this weekend from st. louis, I don't have a crash pad/ could use a partner. I'm just starting out so like v2/ v3's but I'm from that area so I know it well. Oct 7, 2016
Pine Hills Campground is close and pretty nice.

fs.usda.gov/recarea/shawnee… Nov 10, 2016
James Burnes
Dix, IL
James Burnes   Dix, IL
Turkey Bayou campground is close by, at the end of the Oakwood Bottoms road. It's on Forest service land, but is totally kept open and managed by a local group. Quiet, nice pond, clean, close to the river. There is a donation box. Primitive camping. Jan 20, 2018
I put together a list of beta videos for my gumby friends. Figured it would be relevant here>
docs.google.com/document/d/… Apr 3, 2018