Elevation: 6,011 ft
GPS: 37.32836, -108.59631
Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 14,045 total · 330/month
Shared By: W Cambel on Dec 6, 2019 · Updates
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC
Access Issue: Waiver/Permit Needed (Super easy to get) Details


Do you happen to be in Cortez for the day and are itching to climb? Are you en route to Mesa Verde and have some time to kill? Check out Hawkins Preserve!

Hawkins Preserve is a city-run mixed-use area with substantial natural, cultural, and recreational resources on the south side of Cortez, including a small Pueblo II-period Anasazi pueblo occupied from AD 900-1250. Climbing at the preserve takes the form of bouldering along a nearly half-mile-long sandstone escarpment on the north bank of McElmo Creek. The height of this rim band ranges from approximately 6 to 30 feet, with a large number of local-knowledge boulder problems and room for further development. Individual boulders fallen off the rim dot the slope and creek bed and beautiful patinated slabs abound.

Incorporating beta from other climbers (thanks Mike!), there are three general bouldering areas at Hawkins, with lots of room to explore:
  • The East Area is the more developed bouldering area in the preserve. It is ~200 yards east of where the trail from the parking lot meets the rim and features a number of problems between V0-4 including the dope overhanging route seen in the photos. See Mike W.'s comment below for more info.
  • The Central Area is immediately west of where trail meets rim. The distinguishing features here are two long (30-50 feet) walls formed by splits in the bedrock of the rim. The longer wall is exposed and overlooks the creek; past climbers have traversed this wall as a warm-up. The T-crack Warm-Up and Indoor Pinch problem are off the edge of the shorter, western split.
  • The West Area is the area from around Patrick's Point west along the cliffline to the boundary fence of the Preserve. A couple of monster boulders have split off from the rim around Patrick's Point, and The Van - one of the best lines in the preserve - is found in this area. See Mike W.'s comment below for more info.
The quiet nature of the preserve makes it an ideal spot to practice technique, develop a route or two, and maybe even see a deer or other critters if you’re lucky!

Getting There & Additional Park Resources

The parking lot for Hawkins Preserve is off of Oak Street in Cortez, CO. The rim can be reached following the first trail south out of the parking lot for 0.5 mile across the potholed sandstone bedrock. The trail is well-signed and marked with cairns.

The point at which the trail from the parking lot meets the rim marks the starting point for getting to the various bouldering areas. Descend at the white sign and walk/scramble/bushwhack left/east across the floodplain for the East Area. Continue to the right/west for the Central and West Areas.


A pair of outhouses are located in Hawkins Preserve 0.25 mile north of Patrick's Point near the large metal hanger covering the archaeological site.

Photos & Videos of Climbing at Hawkins Preserve

- A set of Hawkins Preserve bouldering session photos taken in 2014 - by Mike Wilkinson of Wilkinson Visual.

- A short promo video featuring Hawkins Preserve Climbing - by Wilkinson Visual, 2014.

The old Hawkins Preserve Climbing Orientation video circa 2008. Start for some visuals of the area, stay for the Pink Floyd.
[Note: climbing The Van (V4) at 1:42 and 2:55; climbing the East Area Warm-Up Wall (V0-2) at 1:55].

Après-climb Activities

Food & Drink:
Wild Edge Brewing Collective - a rotating list of beers (that trend towards funky brews, ciders, and wines in a small, cozy venue one block north of the Cortez Cultural Center (aka the place where you can drop off hard copies of the Hawkins Preserve climbing waiver).

Main Street Brewery & Restaurant - good beers and classic Southwest/American bar food in a larger spot sitting on Cortez's main drag.

Thai Cortez - a good little Thai place off of Main.

Taste of India - small South Asian/Indian restaurant off of Main.

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