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Elevation: 5,400 ft 1,646 m
GPS: 39.3509, -104.76091
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Shared By: Andy Librande on Dec 16, 2013
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC
Warning Access Issue: Historical seasonal raptor closures with 2023 updates DetailsDrop down

Description Suggest change

Located in the North-East section of the park, this area is everything East of the River extending to the East Rim cliffs.

The Central City area is Castlewood’s largest bouldering area in terms of physical size and number of different boulders. Extending from the Buoux Block in the South to the Nine-Lives Boulder in the North, this area encompass a number of great problems in one of the most remote areas in Castlewood. This remoteness has its advantages and disadvantages, primarily there are no established trails which means that finding the boulders is challenging; however, you are almost guaranteed absolute solidarity.

For the purposes of organization on Mountain Project, the boulders on the hillside near Buoux Block have been split into their own area. The boulders in this section are the ones furthest from established trails.

Many problems lie hidden within the dense scrub-oak and many classic large boulders really define the area. The first main southern area north of Buoux Block area contains the Local’s Only Boulder, Dr. Love’s, Scary Monsters, and Slabmaster. Uphill from the Scary Monsters on the cliff face is the Warm-up Wall. Further north of the middle area and towards the creek lies the Nine Lives Boulder. Various smaller boulders are strewn throughout the area as well.

A fair warning is that if you have never visited this area before or have not visited in a long time, locating some of the boulders will be a challenge. This challenge is made harder when the scrub-oak is in full bloom starting late-spring through early summer, they will obscure many of the boulders. The key is once you have located one, the others are generally nearby. Fall and Winter are the easiest months to navigate here.

Bushwhacking is guaranteed.

Getting There Suggest change

Enter through the West Entrance (which is also commonly called the North Entrance).


There are three ways to approach the boulders depending on your objectives:

Nine Lives Boulder approach:
The best for direct access to Nine Lives Boulder: this can be used to access Scary Monsters area, but bushwhacking to that area is the same as approach from Buoux Block area.

Park in the West Trailhead parking lot at the West (North) Entrance (the lot just south of the port-o-potty area), and take the trail that heads towards the river/mud-cliffs. This trail goes through some switchbacks and right after that you come to a fork in the road. Take the path on your right (heading south) for only 15-20 feet, and you will notice a ravine heading towards the river. Follow this ravine down to the river, and be mindful of the path you take as the erosion in this area is high. On the otherside of the river, there is a fallen pine tree that is where you will climb out of the riverbed at onto flat ground 50 yards past the tree the Nine Lives Boulder sits. To this point is no more then 15 minutes of hiking.

To access the Scary Monsters/Dr. Love's/Local's Boulder, take the social trail that starts just south of the Nine Lives Arete that heads into the forest. This social trail is easily lost but winds through thick/tunnel-like scrub oak; most of the trail stays low on the hillside and follows a depression. After about 10 minutes of bushwhacking, you have two options, head uphill to Scary Monsters (heavily obscured in thick scrub oak) or continue along the base to Local's Boulder (generally the easiest one to find). Those boulders are all close to each other but separated by thick forest.

Central City/Buoux Block approach:
This is your standard approach and takes you by the most boulders.

Park in the Falls Parking Lot and take the Falls Spur/Creek Bottom Trail south past the waterfall. Just above the waterfall are a number of very large boulders sitting in the creek. Hop across those boulders (no established trail) up the other-side of the creek (where obvious erosion is on the hillside). It is ~5-10 minutes to this point.

At this point, if you head directly uphill through the small gullies, you should reach Plate Rock/Orange Boulder/Buoux Block area. Head this way if you want to reach Warm-up Wall (once you find Buoux Block, keep following the cliff-base until you find the fairly obvious Warm-Up Wall. It is ~10 minutes of hiking to Plate Rock/Buoux Block.

The other boulders (Local’s Only, Dr Loves, Scary Monsters) will be found by hiking up the canyon (north) for about 200 yards or so and are located closer to the canyon rim then the creek bottom. There is a pretty solid social trail that follows above the creek and mud-cliffs that heads north. If you find that, you can follow it for ~200 yards and then head uphill where you should encounter the Local's Only Boulder first (this social trail is usually easiest to find on the way back).

RimRock Trail Approach:
This is the longest route but has the least amount of bushwhacking if accessing the Warm-up Wall. It may not be easy to locate downclimbs/boulders from canyon rim.

Park in the 1st parking lot to your left just after you pass the ranger kiosk, this is called the Homestead Parking Lot (remnants of an old stone structure prominently stand over the parking lot).

Take the Homestead Trail down towards the creek for ~0.3 miles where you will run into a junction for Rim Rock trail or Creek Bottom trail. Take the Rim Rock trail and follow the switchbacks up onto the plateau. Follow the cliff line for a little bit more then 1/2 mile. You have gone just a little too far if you come to an overlook that is on a point where no other part of the canyon juts-out any further then that point (you would also be able to see the backside of the Buoux Block). At this point, you are about 50-100 feet just past the Warm-Up Wall and downclimbs are right there.

13 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Central City area

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
V4 6B
Nine Lives Arete
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Nine Lives Arete Nine Lives Boulder
V4 6B Boulder
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