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*Northern Arizona Bouldering* 
Arizona Strip, The 
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Nearby Mountain Bike Rides

Intro to Sedona
The best beginner singletrack in Sedona all wrapped up in one great ride. Near Village of Oak Creek (Big Park), Arizona
Red Rock Slap
A quick rough-and-tumble in the red rocks... Near Village of Oak Creek (Big Park), Arizona
Cathedral Rock Big Loop
An all-encompassing loop with some moderate riding, some challenging riding, and incredible views. Near Village of Oak Creek (Big Park), Arizona
Big Park Loop
A great beginner trail in the heart of the Sedona grandeur. Near Village of Oak Creek (Big Park), Arizona
Twin Buttes Loop
Spectacular scenery covering many singletrack trails. Near Sedona, Arizona
A varied trail with scenery, a creek crossing, and technical challenge. Near Sedona, Arizona
From MP's sister site:

Northern Arizona Rock Climbing 

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Location: 35.1828, -111.6541 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Greg Opland, JJ Schlick, Hendrixson, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: JJ Schlick on Jan 23, 2012

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You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
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Towers-Monument Valley. Photo by Blitzo.


Northern Arizona (NAZ) is a vast and varied landscape of rolling ponderosa forests, high elevation plains, and sculpted sandstone deserts. Home to the Grand Canyon, the Painted Desert, the Mogollon Rim, the San Francisco Peaks, and some of the best whitewater on the Colorado River, Northern Arizona is quite literally a sacred land to the Navajo and Hopi, as well as many a rock climber.

Climbing in Northern Arizona began in the late 1950's with the first ascent of the Mace in Sedona, done by visiting climbers, Bob Kamps, TM Herbert, and Dave Rearick. In the years to follow many of the major formations and summits throughout Northern Arizona would be pioneered, and an age of vast exploration was set in motion.

As Tim Toula writes in his classic guide, A Cheap Way To Fly, "I entered thru the historical gate of the Flagstaff climbing scene in the fall of 1978 when climbing was still much more of an underground sport than it is today. There was a mystique about climbing then that was hard to grasp. Perhaps it was because there were so few climbers then. Names like Baxter, Coats, Davidson, and later, Murray, Gault, and Mattson floated thru the air like phantoms. Their names heard often, but their talents seldom seen". Check this book out for a more comprehensive slice of the early history of Northern Arizona climbing. At twenty some years old, this is still one of few sources for local areas.

Now a days that list of names has grown tremendously as a constant stream of talent pours out of Flagstaff, which is the heart of the Northern Arizona climbing scene. With all the development of the last couple decades, Flagstaff is now poised to start turning out some world class climbers. The age of exploration that began in the late 50's has not only continued to this day, but has blossomed into a collective energy that really defines the community here. There is always something new to check out, and hidden gems are still being discovered in surprising numbers.

Take a look at Joel Unema's, for stories and photos about local areas, and interviews with local route developers. It's a cool project and will hopefully turn into a means to record and revel in the colorful history of Northern Arizona rock climbing.

Rock Climbing Photo: Steve Grossman (during his Royal Robbins phase) tu...
Steve Grossman (during his Royal Robbins phase) turns the Tralfamadore Roof on the second ascent in 1976. Paul Davidson belays. Volunteer Canyon, AZ

Trad Climbing

Northern Arizona has long been held as a bastion of traditional climbing, and for good reason. With the sumptuous single pitch basalt crags like Paradise Forks, Oak Creek Canyon Overlook, Volunteer Canyon, and *The Waterfall*, Northern Arizona is a hard rock trad climber's dream with easily accessed four star routes. Add to that the gritty, character building back country adventures of the GCNP, the mysterious quartzite Hualapai Wall, and the soft stone spire paradise, the Sedona Area, you might just find yourself slipping into a heart pounding state of trad daddy nirvana.

Rock Climbing Photo: Worth The Weight The Gold Wall, Paradise Forks  Ar...
Worth The Weight
The Gold Wall, Paradise Forks


Sport Climbing

If you are looking for sport routes in Northern Arizona, you won't have to look too hard. To the east lay crags like the Winslow Wall and Jacks Canyon south of Winslow. Around Flagstaff you will find great crags like The Pit, The Doctor's Office , the Mt. Elden areas Solitude Canyon and Red Dragon, as well as, The Peaks Crag and the Hobo Jungle on the San Francisco peaks. Way up north are the unique limestone crags the Virgin River Gorge and the The Arizona Strip. Sport climbing is alive and well throughout Northern Arizona. Whether you are looking for steep pockets, or off vertical crimps, the list of fine crags and excellent routes is sure to keep you happily swinging through the air. One way or another.

Rock Climbing Photo: Keith Ladzinski photo of Whitney Boland climbing V...
Keith Ladzinski photo of Whitney Boland climbing Vesper. Lime Kiln Canyon.


And then there is the bouldering. Flagstaff is world renown for it's pocketed limestone roofs, with Priest Draw being undoubtedly the most famous. But these roofs are tucked away in folds all over Northern Arizona. A committed core of local boulders are establishing breath taking hard lines around Flagstaff and ineed all across Northern Arizona. While the list of hard problems continues to grow, a moderate boulderer is going to find a slew of classic lines at crags like Buffalo Park, Lake Mary Areas, and Turkey Tanks. From the Fontainebleau like slopers of Kelly Canyon, to the sharp dacite crimps of Gloria's, Northern Arizona is a boulderer's paradise.

Rock Climbing Photo: Matt Gentile at one with his environment on Renega...
Matt Gentile at one with his environment on Renegade Roof.

Photo Ken Etzl


Northern Arizona has some of the most pristine and unpolluted crags of anywhere I have been in the US. Please help us keep them that way.

We tend to take care of our crags, and most of the routes listed here have adequate anchors or other fixed hardware, if they have any at all. However, one may encounter a few old, rotting pins in places like Sedona and in the Grand Canyon. Much of the original hardware in Secret Canyon on Mt. Elden is old and suspect. Crags that see a lot of action like Jacks Canyon, The Winslow Wall, and The Pit also have aging fixed hardware that wasn't all that great to begin with. I believe an era of route maintenance with glue-in bolt replacement looms before us.

Many of the anchor systems on single pitch routes throughout Northern Arizona employ the "fixed carabiner" style anchor which is specifically set up for easy, safe lowering. If one of the two carabiners is worn past the point of common sense, please leave one of yours in place and take the old one home with you. They make great conversation pieces....

And while a lot of the routes listed here are well traveled, it can be said that Northern Arizona is full of adventurous climbing. Always check your holds, especially on the softer stone.

Rock Climbing Photo: Leah Sandvoss on Moonjuice (5.11c), Upper Beach, C...
Leah Sandvoss on Moonjuice (5.11c), Upper Beach, Church Spires, Sedona, AZ
Photo by Andre Kiryanov


Flagstaff, AZ is a fairly small college town and liberal capitol of Arizona, though it also has an undeniable blue collar cowboy flair. Sitting at 7000' it is tucked in between the Mogollon Rim to the south, and the San Francisco Peaks just north of town. Flagstaff is draped over historic Route 66, and has everything a visiting climber may need.

Rest days can be filled with excellent hiking and peak bagging, miles and miles of world class mountain biking, or deep and narrow canyoneering adventures. Or just take it easy and wander about the historic downtown which is filled with gear shops, art galleries, brewpubs, and a few good restaurants.

There is plenty of free camping to be be found on both Coconino and Kaibab National Forests. Essentially unless you see signs saying camping is prohibited, or restricted to designated sites (like at the Peaks Crag), you're good to go.
Rock Climbing Photo: Danny Mauz on the FA of Shaman School 5.13-, Middl...
Danny Mauz on the FA of Shaman School 5.13-, Middle Area.

Local Stone

Here's a short list of local rock types and corresponding crags or areas which are either right around town or within an hour and half drive from Flagstaff.

The Waterfall- trad
Paradise Forks- trad
The Overlook-trad
Volunteer Canyon- trad

The Grand Canyon- trad
Winslow Wall- sport/ trad
Sedona- sport/ trad
The Doctor's Office- sport/ trad
Pump House Wash- sport/ trad
Kelly Canyon- bouldering

The Pit- sport
Priest Draw- bouldering
Lake Mary- bouldering
Cherry Canyon- bouldering
Jacks Canyon- sport
The Arizona Strip

Mt Elden- sport/ trad
The Hobo Jungle- sport/ trad
The Peaks Crag- sport/ trad
Bill Williams Mt- sport/ trad

Rock Climbing Photo: Darren Mabe on the FA, accepting the Green Knight ...
Darren Mabe on the FA, accepting the Green Knight challenge, down in Volunteer Canyon.
Photo: Wade Forrest

Seasonal Weather

The weather in Northern Arizona can change on a wind, although Flagstaff sees an average of 266 days of sunshine per year. Flagstaff also sees an average of 100" of snow a year.... Yes despite most folks impressions of Arizona, we represent the winter months quite well here in Northern Arizona. Good winter climbing can be had throughout Northern Arizona at the Arizona Strip crags way up north, as well as, The Pit and Higher Solitude Canyon right around Flagstaff, and Jacks Canyon to the east. Winter is also the season for Sedona climbing. If the cold has really set in many retreat to the Central Arizona crags.

Springtime is notoriously windy, and has been known to drive people mad! Especially in the high deserts. Luckily, this is really the only detracting element of the season. Otherwise it's prime time for crags like The Waterfall, Paradise Forks, The Overlook, The Red Dragon, The Solitude Wall, and many, many more as perfect temps can easily be chased down.

The summer months bring about an average high of 88 degrees during July. Then it's Monsoon Season to the rescue! Flagstaff itself receives an annual 21" of rain a year, and much of it comes during the Monsoons which are powerful storm systems. Monsoon Season typically lasts through September. Attractive areas this time of year include The Hobo Jungle, The Peaks Crag, West Elden, The Winslow Wall, and more.

And of course, our favorite season Fall, does not disappoint in Northern Arizona. With usually sunny, moderate temperature days, most of our premiere crags are in perfect conditions. Whether you are chasing around the fall colors on the San Francisco Peaks, or marveling at the otherworldly dryness of the desert crags, Fall in Northern Arizona should not be missed.

Rock Climbing Photo: Anne Mariah mid crux on Blow Before Throws. Oak Cr...
Anne Mariah mid crux on Blow Before Throws. Oak Creek Canyon.

Local Photos

The ever changing and often daunting landscapes of NAZ are a true sight to behold and climb in. The often expansive or tight horizons makes it difficult to capture with a lens. However, these brave local photographers and videographers have been capturing the essence of these wild and untamable lands for years or even decades. If you enjoy excellent photos, climbing and so much more, then you may want to do some clicking here.

John Burcham

James Q Martin

Tamara Hastie

Blake McCord

Pernell Tomasi Grand Canyon

Rock Climbing Photo: Lisa climbing Panza Roja, Paradise Forks.
Lisa climbing Panza Roja, Paradise Forks.

Drive Times

Approximate drive times from Flagstaff to...

Cochise Stronghold- 6.5 hours
Mt. Lemon- 6 hours
Hueco Tanks- 10 hours
Indian Creek- 5.5 hours
Yosemite Valley- 10 hours
The Needles (CA)- 10 hours
Joshua Tree- 5 hours
Red Rocks- 5 hours


Flagstaff Climbing Center
205 S. San Francisco St. Flagstaff, AZ 86001

Flagstaff Climbing Center (climbing gym, retail shop and guide service) is located in historic downtown Flagstaff. The center features over 7000 square feet of widely varied climbing terrain to suit all abilities and climbing styles including 40’ tall top rope and lead walls and bouldering area. Flagstaff Climbing is here today because of its commitment to support the climbing community though quality training facilities, expert instruction, informative equipment sales and a friendly atmosphere for all climbers.

Main Street Boulders
1519 N. Main St. Ste 107, Flagstaff, AZ 86004

Main Street Boulders (owned and operated by Flagstaff Climbing Center) is located on Main Street in Flagstaff. The bouldering gym features over 2000 square feet of widely varied state-of-the-art bouldering terrain, built by Vertical Solutions, to suit all abilities and climbing styles and a first-class training area to build strong climbers. Main Street Boulders is here today because of Flagstaff Climbing Centers commitment to support the climbing community though quality training facilities, expert instruction and a friendly staff.

Beta Bouldering Gym
495 s. River Run Rd. Suite 104, Flagstaff AZ 86001

Beta Bouldering Gym, Northern Arizona’s largest bouldering gym, is located just a few blocks from downtown Flagstaff and Northern Arizona University. Beta is a 6,000 square foot bouldering facility built by the local climbing community in 2012 to house the growing demand for a place to train, get strong and socialize. With climbing terrain carefully built for all abilities and two separate workout areas, Beta strives to provide the best indoor bouldering experience in Arizona.

Gear- Flagstaff Climbing Center has a good selection of everything you need. REI Flagstaff Store Flagstaff Sports Exchange is another local, climber friendly shop. Babbits Backcountry Outfitters is right downtown, and covers the basics as far as climbing gear. Aspen Sports is right downtown, and covers the basics as far as climbing gear. Peace Surplus is also right downtown, and covers the basics as far as climbing gear.

Rock Climbing Photo: Joel Unema pulling hard on Picture Me Rolling, Win...
Joel Unema pulling hard on Picture Me Rolling, Winslow Wall

Photo - Blake McCord

Getting There 

Flagstaff sits at the junction of Interstate 40 and Interstate 17 in north central Arizona.

Climbing Season

Weather station 3.5 miles from here

2,294 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',268],['3 Stars',1076],['2 Stars',699],['1 Star',206],['Bomb',26]

Classic Climbing Routes in Northern Arizona

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Northern Arizona:
The Black Rose   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 70'   Paradise Forks : The Obsidian Wall
Original Route   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 5 pitches, 400'   Cathedral Rock Area : The Mace
The Windows Route   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 3 pitches, 220'   Steamboat Rock/Midgley Brid... : Super Crack Tower
New River   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   The Peaks Crag : North End
East Of Eden   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 110'   Paradise Forks : The Gold Wall
Black and Tan   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   *The Waterfall* : *The Main Amphitheater
Spite and Malice   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 115'   *The Waterfall* : *The Left Wall
The Prow   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch   Paradise Forks : The Prow
Vertebrae   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   *The Waterfall* : *The Left Wall
Natural Enhancement   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 130'   *The Waterfall* : *The Right Wall
Be Yourself   5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   The Peaks Crag : North End
The Winsloner   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   Winslow Wall : West Side
Mesquiter    5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 110'   Lime Kiln Canyon : The Grail
Paradise Lost   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   Paradise Forks : Davidson Wall
Solitaire   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   Higher Solitude : Main Wall
Mentor   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Virgin River Gorge : Mentor Cave
Vesper   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 2 pitches, 160'   Lime Kiln Canyon : The Grail
Slap My Fro   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   Winslow Wall : West Side
The Joker   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'    The Pit : The White Wall
Mission To Mars   5.12c/d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   West Twin Butte : The Planetarium
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Northern Arizona

Featured Route For Northern Arizona
Rock Climbing Photo: John Crawley climbing Back to Nature, and linking ...

Back to Nature 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b  Arizona : Northern Arizona : ... : Solitude Wall
Back to Nature is the direct start to Nature Boy Rick Flare. It's the aesthetic shallow corner behind a small fir tree. Neato technical pulls and footwork lead to the Rick Flare dihedral above. You can link this start to Free Radical for a more sustained climb....[more]   Browse More Classics in Arizona

Photos of Northern Arizona Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo:
Rock Climbing Photo: fulgham on jolly roger at the forks
fulgham on jolly roger at the forks
Rock Climbing Photo: Elves Chasm, GCNP.
Elves Chasm, GCNP.
Rock Climbing Photo: The Dome, GCNP.
The Dome, GCNP.
Rock Climbing Photo: Navajo Point, S.Rim, GCNP.
Navajo Point, S.Rim, GCNP.
Rock Climbing Photo: Zoroaster Temple, GCNP.
Zoroaster Temple, GCNP.
Rock Climbing Photo: Vishnu Temple, GCNP.
Vishnu Temple, GCNP.
Rock Climbing Photo: Hartman Natural Bridge, Lava Creek, N.Rim, GCNP.
Hartman Natural Bridge, Lava Creek, N.Rim, GCNP.
Rock Climbing Photo: Blacktail, GCNP.
Blacktail, GCNP.
Rock Climbing Photo: Brahma Temple, GCNP.
Brahma Temple, GCNP.
Rock Climbing Photo: Jicarilla Crest, GCNP.
Jicarilla Crest, GCNP.
Rock Climbing Photo: Confucius & Mencius Temples, GCNP.
Confucius & Mencius Temples, GCNP.
Rock Climbing Photo: queenfolia at the forks
queenfolia at the forks
Rock Climbing Photo:
Rock Climbing Photo: LCR confluence, GCNP.
LCR confluence, GCNP.
Rock Climbing Photo:
Rock Climbing Photo: SB Point, N.Rim, GCNP.
SB Point, N.Rim, GCNP.
Rock Climbing Photo: Tritle Peak, N.Rim, GCNP.
Tritle Peak, N.Rim, GCNP.
Rock Climbing Photo:
Rock Climbing Photo: Lichens on basaltic andesite, SP crater. October 2...
Lichens on basaltic andesite, SP crater. October 2...
Rock Climbing Photo: Angels' Gate from trail.  photo by Bob Kerry  11/0...
Angels' Gate from trail. photo by Bob Kerry 11/0...
Rock Climbing Photo: Chuar Butte, GCNP.
Chuar Butte, GCNP.
Rock Climbing Photo:
Rock Climbing Photo: Gunther Castle, GCNP.
Gunther Castle, GCNP.

Show All 25 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Northern Arizona Add Comment
Show which comments
By Mike Dechter
Jan 6, 2014
I thought several of you may find this handy...

The Coconino National Forest has FREE color maps you can navigate with on your smartphone or tablet mobile device. Here are a couple links to a 1-pg giude to show you how to do it. - for Apple Smartphones/Tablets - for Android Smartphones/Tablets

The instructions has you download the Avenza PDF Maps app and then the north half and south half of the Coconino National Forest. It is all free. The Coconino National Forest made this tool available to encourage people stay on the designated roads system for motor vehicle use.

The Avenza PDF maps app can be used to track GPS routes and mark waypoints. You can also download and use free USGS 7.5" quad maps with the app as well.
By Darren Mabe
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Dec 12, 2015
Link to coconino forest road closures

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