REI Community
Moonlight Crags

Select Area...
Moon, The 
Sunrise Slab 

Moonlight Crags Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 5,291'
Location: 40.17258, -120.81003 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 3,581
Administrators: Aron Quiter, Rick Shull, Lurker, Muscrat, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Twinboas on Nov 21, 2016
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [2 people like this page.]

Currently Closed to Climbing MORE INFO >>>


Don't like crowds? Looking for rock that grips like Velcro, has the colors of a tropical sunset, and provides a majestic bird's eye view high above a broad sweeping valley?

The 200 foot tall Moonlight Crags provide a sport climbing venue with 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).

Getting There 

This crag is a two hour drive east of Chico on CA-70, but if you're tired of melting off the rock at Grizzly Dome on scorching summer days this is a fun new place to explore. If you're lucky enough to live nearby, it's a great local crag.

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.

Look for rock cairns and cut logs which help guide the way, use your intuition if necessary. 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.

Climbing Season

Weather station 7.1 miles from here

19 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',4],['3 Stars',11],['2 Stars',4],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Moonlight Crags

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Moonlight Crags:
Spring Fling   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   The Moon
Cubicle Pukes and Cigars   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 2 pitches, 150'   The Moon
Spark of Desire   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Sunrise Slab
Hot Flash   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Sunrise Slab
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Moonlight Crags

Featured Route For Moonlight Crags
Rock Climbing Photo: Leading Solar Wind.

Solar Wind 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a  California : Northeast California : ... : The Moon
A second pitch to Jet Fuel, this well-bolted line climbs up the steepest and tallest section of the wall on good holds with short difficulties and frequent rests. Excellent movement and terrific rock quality, don't miss out on this one!...[more]   Browse More Classics in California

Photos of Moonlight Crags Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: The approach is relatively easy due to the fire wh...
The approach is relatively easy due to the fire wh...
Rock Climbing Photo: Fully stainless steel hardware. Thanks rapbolting....
Fully stainless steel hardware. Thanks rapbolting....
Rock Climbing Photo: View of the entire formation, the highest points a...
View of the entire formation, the highest points a...
Rock Climbing Photo: Driving away from Moonlight Crags, the drive back ...
Driving away from Moonlight Crags, the drive back ...
Rock Climbing Photo: View of The Moon from Cubicle Pukes and Cigars.
View of The Moon from Cubicle Pukes and Cigars.
Rock Climbing Photo: Very scenic pastoral country on the drive to this ...
Very scenic pastoral country on the drive to this ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Attractive rock that is even prettier in person.
Attractive rock that is even prettier in person.
Rock Climbing Photo: Large intrusions in the Rhyolite.
Large intrusions in the Rhyolite.
Rock Climbing Photo: Lots of interesting rock around, some of it's ...
Lots of interesting rock around, some of it's ...

Comments on Moonlight Crags Add Comment
Show which comments
By armchairalpinist
From: Issaquah, WA
Nov 27, 2016
Looks like excellent rock Chris! If I make it to this area of Cali, I will definitely have to climb here!
By Henry Kroeker
From: Greenville
May 29, 2017
Road is clear to the parking lot, thanks whoever did that! Also might try and wrangle a team to do a little trail/trundle work? Lemme know....down to make it pretty.

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About