Big Chief is in a beautiful location!
The Big Chief area is best known for a collection of sport bolted volcanic crags, roughly centered around the namesake formation on a ridge above highway 89. Much is developed, and much more awaits. It is on National Forest Land.
Most of the routes on the main walls were developed in the early 1990s, but new lines continue to be put up there and on other scattered crags nearby.
Reasonable public access does not currently exist during winter, when forest road 06 can be closed from first snowfall to early spring (even when the national forest website hasn't been updated accurately compared to conditions on the ground). Past winter access routes are now signed specifically as closed.
Exit the central Truckee exit and take a right. Go into the traffic circle, and take your first right, which will wind down to West River Street, where you should take a left. Follow this about 1/2 a mile to Brockway Drive (the sign MAY still say highway 267), where you should go right.
Less than a mile later, turn right on Palisades Drive. Go over the hill, and turn right on Silver Fir, and shortly afterwards turn left on Thelin Street.
Within a block, hang a right onto the dirt road just after a gate, which is set back from the road about 30 feet.
Drive 5.2 miles on the main road, which is numbered as National Forest Road 06.
Parking area GPS coordinates:
The GPS coords above take you to the right turn into the parking area. There is currently a cairn on a large tree stump indicating entrance.
Stay straight on the road past the turnoff to the ranch (which has a sign stating "horseback riding" or something like that), and you will see a large dirt turn around inside the most prevalent right turn, which actually has a full right turn, and also sharper right turn 30 feet later in case you miss this first one.
This leads you about 100 feet into a traffic circle type thing, which is the parking area for the Big Chief area.
Weather station 5.8 miles from here
77 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',3],['3 Stars',36],['2 Stars',34],['1 Star',3],['Bomb',1]
Classic Climbing Routes in Big Chief
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Big Chief
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Big Chief:
Featured Route For Big Chief
Raindance 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a California
: Lake Tahoe
: ... : Center Wall
This route is in the less overhung (comparitively) cave in the center section of the Big Chief center area. It's still really overhung, but not as much as the other overhung area about 150 feet uphill and left. This route is 5 routes to the left of War Paint (5.9), which always has people on it in the mornings. It also shares the first bolt with the overhung and very juggy Mohawk, which moves up and right, while Raindance moves straight up.Sustained overhang has an excellent section to the fi...[more] Browse More Classics in California