Kelly Canyon Rock Climbing
Old school bouldering ladder driftwood.... Kelly C...
A peaceful ponderosa-forested canyon with tons of bouldering on cliffs and boulders of Coconino sandstone. Dramatic curved slashes stripe the walls, the lithified remnants of sand dunes deposited 260 million years ago. These slashes birth many slopers and incut rails, lending to a unique and distinctly technical sort of climbing. Many problems here are moderately to seriously highball with committing, sloping topouts so multiple pads and spotters are pretty much essential.
The rock at Kelly is notoriously variable in quality: tacky and bullet-hard in some places, sandy and crumbly elsewhere. Rain and snowmelt seep can render the stone filthy and breakable. Tread carefully, especially early in the season and after storms, and don't forget to bring a soft-bristled
brush. (A broom isn't a bad idea, either.)
Fall is the prime season here: it's cool, dry, and colorful. Summers can be toasty, though it's easy to find shade. However, winter is a bust - the roads usually close by late November and the canyon loads up with snowdrifts and deep, icy pools. Unless it is an especially warm and snowless winter, don't plan on visiting between the first snow and perhaps the middle of April.
Like any wild place, Kelly Canyon is special and irreplaceable, and I urge you to be attentive, tread lightly, and appreciate the peace and sanctity of this area.
Most of the developed rock is in east Kelly Canyon, which is accessed via Kelly Canyon Rd. off I-17 a few miles south of Flagstaff. Several problems exist near the confluence of west Kelly Canyon and Pumphouse Wash, accessed from FR 237 off 89A heading south to Sedona. Check subpages and/or PM for specifics.
Weather station 2.3 miles from here
84 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',9],['3 Stars',39],['2 Stars',26],['1 Star',9],['Bomb',0]
Classic Climbing Routes in Kelly Canyon
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Kelly Canyon
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Kelly Canyon:
Featured Route For Kelly Canyon
Shoot to Kill V10 7C+
: Northern Arizona
: ... : The Gun Locker
Shoot to Kill starts on bad edges at the first seam then go up to two pockets at next seam. From pockets reach high to next rail then prepare for slopey pinches and bad downward leaning edges for a balancey reach to a flat sloper then a better pinch. High crux can lead to big falls, bring lots of pads or work on toprope if you are concerned....[more] Browse More Classics in Arizona
The long reach down low of Dope Lounge. Pic by Mud...
By Andrew Ryder
From: Tucson, AZ
Jun 9, 2009
One of the good lip holds on Dope Lounge was broken off recently during a week of rain. Please DO NOT climb here shortly after heavy rain or snow. The rock is soft and easy to break when it is soaked.
By J. Snyder
From: Flagstaff, Arizona
May 25, 2011
Enjoy the stone!
By Joe Kreidel
From: San Antonio, TX
May 13, 2012
I'm not sure what the rules and regulations for camping or accessing the canyon, but I thought I would throw out this heads up to other out-of-towners. I camped at Kelly Canyon last Thursday night (5/10) with no problems. Bouldered at Kelly Friday morning, then went to the Draw for the afternoon. Exhausted from a good day of bouldering, I grabbed a slice of pizza in town and drove back to Kelly. The forest road was closed, gates locked. I had to hike in, take down camp and hike back out to the highway.
Might be a good idea to check with Coconino NF or some locals before camping at the canyon...
By David Arrasmith
Oct 7, 2013
Found some climbing gear left by the group with the person who hurt his ankle. If this is your stuff please call (916) 956-0674.
No spammers pls, I will request details of the stuff left from all callers.
From: Las Vegas, Nevada
May 12, 2014
The last right fork before the parking area is now blocked by three big rocks. Park above the shooting pit and hike to the old parking area with the fire pit on the right.