Moonlight Crags Rock Climbing
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2017-2023 Seasonal Raptor Closure: Entire Cliff Area
U.S. Forest Service Seasonal Raptor Closure for Peregrine Falcon and Golden Eagle Nesting:
Moonlight Crags has a seasonal closure from Feb 1 to July 15 for a five year period in an effort to encourage cliff use by nesting raptors. This period may be extended on a year-by-year basis if fledgling birds are present later.
During this time please respect the closure buffer and avoid disturbance, keep noise to a minimum, and use your best judgment to gauge and mitigate your impact.
Successful nesting raptors will not negatively impact climbing access in the long-term, but disrespecting the seasonal closures will. Moonlight Cliffs is open to public access throughout the rest of the year.
The 200 foot tall Moonlight Crags has a decidedly remote feeling, all just a short and easy walk from the car. The rock is porphyritic rhyolite, which is the same stuff that granite is made of, but instead of cooling slowly underground it erupted wildly at the surface. The result? Highly featured, mostly solid rock with incredible friction that makes for steep moderate climbs with tons of wonderful exposure.
Because of the eastern exposure, most cliff faces receive early morning sun and go into the shade by early afternoon, making this a great destination when it is too hot to climb anywhere else.
There are no developed campsites present, but it is possible to camp for free by the parking area. Please be aware of Forest Service rules and regulations, especially regarding fire permits.
There is a seasonal raptor closure (more info above). Future access depends on fostering good relationships with the Forest Service, so compliance would be appreciated. After lengthy discussions with the district biologist, the plan is that after a five year period they will re-evaluate and see if a partial seasonal closure is feasible (leaving the portion of the cliff nearest the parking lot open year round).
While this area used to have sport climbing routes they have since been taken down due to demands from the land managers. This does not mean that climbing is prohibited, merely that fixed anchors should not be used at this site. The individual route descriptions have been left intact for historical purposes.
Approach via Scenic Highway 70 heading east, which follows the scenic North Fork of the Feather River. For navigational purposes, the nearest civilization is the small town of Taylorsville, complete with a General Store (mostly sells local groceries), Hanson's Homemade Pies, and the Taylorsville Tavern.
Hanson's Homemade Pies in Taylorsville is an excellent place to stop by on your way to the crag, where you can buy a large variety of excellent, freshly made pies at $3 a slice.
As you drive through Taylorsville, take a left just past the general store which heads past houses, over a small bridge, and to a T intersection. Turn left onto Genesee Road, continue straight until you reach another T intersection. Turn right onto Diamond Mountain Road. Eventually, you will reach a poorly marked left turn for Moonlight Valley, which is what you want.
Cross a bridge over Lights Creek past an excellent swimming hole, and you will soon see the crags directly in front of you. Drive for several miles up a dirt road to the top of the valley and take the first left turn that heads back along the ridge. Be mindful as there are several sections of washed out ruts - a high clearance vehicle is certainly desirable but probably not necessary with careful driving. When you drive as far as you can (before the hairpin turn), you have arrived. Park where you like and begin hiking towards the ridge to your left.
Once you drop out of the trees near the parking area follow the trail up a cut path through the middle of a brushy hillside until you reach the crest of the ridge. Continue until you reach your final destination.
Approach takes about thirty minutes and is between 0.5 and 0.7 miles depending on where you're headed.
Classic Climbing Routes at Moonlight Crags
Days w Precip