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Mississippi Palisades

Access Issue: South Sentinel and Forgotten Wall both Closed. Details


Walls are ordered North to South with A being the furthest North and L being the furthest South.

The Palisades is a great area for anyone living near Chicago who can get away for a weekend. It is located on the Illinois side of the Mississippi river, just across from Iowa. The limestone bluffs rise roughly 180 feet above the river level in some places, though none of the climbs are actually this long. Pretty much everything here is top-rope, with tons of natural anchor options in the trees and some boulders on top of the walls. This limestone can get pretty manky - especially with wet and even just humid weather. There are a few routes that are in bee territory here, which can make the climbing very exciting. Because of the humid and buggy summers, the best time to climb here is October to November. A nice dry crisp fall morning here is ideal.

The favorite section here goes by a few names, but most people know it as "The Cove". It is a stone ledge roughly 30 feet by 30 feet behind the dominant Sentinel Tower. Several routes can be found in this small space, easy to moderate, plus a few harder lines. Getting into The Cove requires a class 4 scramble over some well worn holds (smooth as glass) and a few boulders.

Due to the close nature of the routes in The Cove, things can get very crowded here. Overlapping belay stances can be a hassle, but climbers with half a wit and a dose of courtesy shouldn't have any trouble. During the busy summer weekends the whole area can become overrun with gearless trundle-happy yokels who WILL step on your rope, gear, dog, etc. Be advised. Watch for flying cigarette butts from the observation deck above.

There are a few other areas along the palisade - please contribute if you are familiar. I'll do my best to update this soon.

Getting There

Use a map to find Savannah, Il and then head north a few miles to Mississippi Palisades State Park. Camping is available at the north end of the park, but if you want to get away from the Good 'ol RV Folk (who mostly stay huddled within their giant rolling metal crap houses), you'll have to pack it in a mile or two to the primitive sites on the eastern hills. This is not recommended for climbers, however, as you'll be an awfully long walk from the crag. Instead, look for tent sites at the south end of the campground (sites #45-60). You'll be reasonably far from the RV's, and you can still car camp and then drive to the crag, which is located at the south end of the park. Ask park staff for more details and refer to below for a map.

Mississippi Palisades Overview - Scanned with permission of copyright owner


[[Illinois Climbers Association]]
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.


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

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Palisades Overview - Scanned with permission from copyright owner
[Hide Photo] Palisades Overview - Scanned with permission from copyright owner
Mississippi Palisades Overview - Scanned with permission of copyright owner
[Hide Photo] Mississippi Palisades Overview - Scanned with permission of copyright owner