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Shelf Road

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Bank, The 
Cactus Cliff 
Cactus Rose Cliff 
Cash Wall 
Dark Side, The 
Gallery, The 
Great Black North, The 
Gym, The 
North End, The 
North Gym, The 
Peg Leg Wall 
Sand Gulch 
Spiney Ridge 
University Wall 
Vault, The 
Rest Day:
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From MP's sister site:

Shelf Road Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 6,900'
Location: 38.6296, -105.223 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 731,204
Administrators: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Kreighton Bieger on Jan 1, 2001  with updates from Chris Oshiro and 1 more


77° | 46°

78° | 44°

60° | 35°

68° | 43°

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You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [11 people like this page.]


Shelf Road is home to many quality sport routes on quality, vertical limestone. The area has recently been improved with the addition of a few new crags. Rock & Ice #103 [October 2000] (the one with Josune Bereziartu on the cover) has a mini-guide to the new areas, which are not yet covered in any guidebook. The other good guides are Shelf Road Rock by Fred Knapp and Rock Climbing Shelf Road by Mark Van Horn.

Getting There 

To get to Shelf, travel to Canon City. From Boulder, it is fastest to go I-25 to Colorado Springs, then take the exit for Canon City (beware this is tough to spot - it is poorly marked, if you miss it, exit in the south part of town and travel west until you intersect CO Highway 115). Travel SW on CO 115 to US Hwy 50, then west about 10 miles to Canon City. In Canon City, take a right at the first light past the Wal-Mart (Dozier St), or take a right at the next light which is Reynolds. Travel north and the road will curve to the left and intersect Field (not Fields as Knapp says) Avenue.

Turn north on Field and travel on this weird two lane road for about five miles, when it joins up with Fremont County Road 9 via a 'Y' type intersection. From here, it is 9.4 miles to the entrance to Shelf Road, which is marked with a sign indicating as much.

There are two BLM-administered camping locations at Shelf Road. The lower area, Sand Gulch has 14 campsites and 1 group camping site. The upper area at The Banks has 11 campsites and 1 group camping site.

  • Individual campsites are $7/night and accomodate 8-10 people. The group campsites are $14/night and accomodate up to 20 people.
  • All sites are first-come, first-served.
  • For more information, the Royal Gorge BLM field office can be contacted at: 719-269-8500.

Just before you arrive at Shelf Road, you will pass Sand Gulch campground on your left, behind a red BLM gate. Close the gate as you pass through. This is quality, spacious camping and access to the Sand Gulch area, home to many moderates about a 15 minute walk from the campground. There is day use parking at the northwest end of the campground, and overflow parking at the north end, where the Freeform trail begins.

To access the Bank parking area and campground, continue down Shelf Road and it is on the left. The North End is reached by continuing straight down Shelf Road. Consult Knapp, Van Horn, and the R&I mini-guide for more details. We found some disagreement in route ratings, listings and general details between Knapp and Van Horn, but both books are well done and easy to follow.

Camping Restrictions
  • Wood cutting is not permitted in this area. Please bring your own firewood.

Mountain Shops 

Per courtney.vogt Higher Limits at 224 Main St. Per saracasey casey it is no longer open.

Per Chris Oshiro: Red Canyon Cycles on 420 Main Street has climbing gear and is a great one stop shop for beta, beer, or a coffee.

Per Taketaketaketaketake ....take: The Bean Pedaler on Main also sells climbing gear as well as coffee / breakfast burritos. It's more of a bike shop, but they do have a small climbing section as well.


Per Doug Lintz: Vault toilets at both campgrounds and another near the old parking lot for the Gem/Cactus Cliff area. In other words...convenient.


Though Colorado has passed Amendment 64 to legalize recreational marijuana use and limited quantity possession, the U.S. Justice Department issued a memo to federal prosecutors that the government would still "aggressively enforce" laws to prevent violations in eight areas of concern involving the drug including possession on federal property. To this point, Shelf Road has landowners that include the federal government. Be aware of where you are if you choose to use.

Climbing Season

Weather station 7.2 miles from here

987 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',57],['3 Stars',319],['2 Stars',467],['1 Star',138],['Bomb',5]

Classic Climbing Routes in Shelf Road

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Shelf Road:
Ga-stoned Again   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   The Gym
The Crack of Dawn   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch   The Gym
Suburbia   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch   Sand Gulch : Contest Wall
Enchanted Porkfist   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch   The Dark Side
Muscle Beach   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Cactus Cliff
I Claudius   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   Cactus Cliff
Regroovable   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch   Sand Gulch : Contest Wall
Illegal Smile   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Cactus Cliff
Lime Street   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch   The Bank
The Raw and the Roasted   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Sport, 1 pitch   The Gym
Back To The Future   5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch   The Bank
No Passion for Fashion   5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch   The Gallery : Menses Prow
Unusual Weather   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch   The Bank
Purple Toe Nails   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Spiney Ridge
Lats Don't Have Feelings   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   Cactus Cliff
Gravitations   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Cactus Cliff
Metropolis   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch   Sand Gulch : Contest Wall
Hot Beach   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Cactus Cliff
Freeform   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch   Sand Gulch : Free Form Wall
Heavy Weather   5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch   The Bank
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Shelf Road

Featured Route For Shelf Road
Rock Climbing Photo: Kevin Mclaughlin hanging out on his cable tendons ...

Illegal Smile 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c  Colorado : Shelf Road : Cactus Cliff
It seems that this good pitch doesn't get as much traffic as it merits because of a somewhat undeserved reputation as unsafe. Good rock, position and continuouness on the upper section.Start in a left-facing corner, on the left side of the arete, just left of a wide, 20' high flake. Go up easily for a couple of bolts, then move right and gain the arete (crux). Follow enjoyable climbing on the right side of the arete to the anchors. There is some cause for concern that a fall around the 4th a...[more]   Browse More Classics in Colorado

Photos of Shelf Road Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Shelf Road native.
Shelf Road native.
Rock Climbing Photo: Lenticulars over Cactus Cliff.
Lenticulars over Cactus Cliff.
Rock Climbing Photo: Look really closely, someone is up there climbing!...
Look really closely, someone is up there climbing!...
Rock Climbing Photo: Chollas and Clouds. September 2013.
Chollas and Clouds. September 2013.
Rock Climbing Photo: Yeah, exposure.
Yeah, exposure.
Rock Climbing Photo: Summer storm at Shelf.
Summer storm at Shelf.
Rock Climbing Photo: Emma redpoints Love Pump, 5.10b/c, The Gallery.
Emma redpoints Love Pump, 5.10b/c, The Gallery.
Rock Climbing Photo: If you look on the bigger rock, on the corner, the...
If you look on the bigger rock, on the corner, the...
Rock Climbing Photo: Historical signage where Shelf Road begins at Crip...
Historical signage where Shelf Road begins at Crip...
Rock Climbing Photo: Sun sets another day at Shelf.
Sun sets another day at Shelf.
Rock Climbing Photo: Heads up for this guy (left) at Shelf.  He says he...
BETA PHOTO: Heads up for this guy (left) at Shelf. He says he...
Rock Climbing Photo: Super tiny climber found near base of route.
Super tiny climber found near base of route.
Rock Climbing Photo: Moonrise from Sand Gulch.
Moonrise from Sand Gulch.
Rock Climbing Photo: VW at Shelf.  Gas leak that led to a fireball. Thi...
VW at Shelf. Gas leak that led to a fireball. Thi...
Rock Climbing Photo: Sunset from the Bank campground.
Sunset from the Bank campground.
Rock Climbing Photo: Shelf.
Rock Climbing Photo: At the anchors on Conglomerated Weirdness.
At the anchors on Conglomerated Weirdness.
Rock Climbing Photo: Hugo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Shelf.
Rock Climbing Photo: Winter camping at Shelf.
Winter camping at Shelf.
Rock Climbing Photo: Cold Spring, bundled up pre-climb.
Cold Spring, bundled up pre-climb.
Rock Climbing Photo: Prolific route developer Bob D'Antonio climbin...
Prolific route developer Bob D'Antonio climbin...
Rock Climbing Photo: Rappeling off of Flesh Tuxedo.
Rappeling off of Flesh Tuxedo.
Rock Climbing Photo: I sure am glad I'm legal here... I like this tree....
I sure am glad I'm legal here... I like this tree....

Show All 65 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Shelf Road Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 12, 2017
By Old Fart aka Dave Bohn
Apr 11, 2002
If taking 115 from Co. Springs to Canon City; Watch Out for 'mounties and 'troopers in the never ending construction zones!!. They're thicker then bolted cracks on Cactus Cliff and they do ticket at the "Fines Doubled" rate!
By Luc Gruenther
Nov 1, 2002
If you're going to camp at Shelf Road, please pay the $4/night fee. The campgrounds, roads, and trails are maintained by the Bureau of Land Management, which has been extremely cooperative with climbers. Shelf is one of the few climbing areas with trail signs that point your way to specific climbing areas. Furthermore, the trails are well maintained solely for climbers use; it's not like a state or national park, which maintains trails for tourists and which climbers benefit from as a result. Please pay the cheap fee if you comes back to the climbing community.
By Hill
Nov 13, 2002
Be sure to bring and wear your helmet down here! Last weekend I witnessed at least 5 separate incidents of rock being pulled off or falling off with the slightest touch. Very few people were wearing helmets and there were some close calls. Don't be a chump and think sport climbing is without serious risk, especially while belaying at Shelf Road. Wear a helmet at all times near the base of the crags and keep your brains in your head!
By Anonymous Coward
Jan 26, 2003
Some basic etiquette would be nice as users and abusers of shelf road continue to grow in number. First, let's start by saying that Cactus and Spiney are not the only place to go at Shelf... spread yourselves out folks! There are plenty of great routes that get sun/shade year round, are well protected, and not as crowded (read: impacted) as Cactus. Try avoiding the 'popular' crag on the weekend, and go exploring. New routes abound and plenty of potential is out there on walls neglected by the new popularity of Cactus.

Be courteous to others, pick up your trash, and leave the boom boxes at home. This is still public land and as climbers we need to resect the fact the others have equal right to visit an area like Shelf and not be appaled at our actions. Peace
By slim
May 3, 2006
My partner and I have noticed at several "newer" climbs, people have painted or scratched the name and grade of the route onto the bottom of the wall. [EDIT] this is completely unacceptable. [EDIT]
By Dan Brockway
From: Boulder
Nov 10, 2007
Yes, please leave the dogs at home.
By Randy Carmichael
From: Boulder, CO
Dec 30, 2007
Bring on the dogs, but please keep 'em on leash. The last time I was at Shelf, two happy rambling hounds decided to have a wrestling match on my rope right when my partner was run-out at a difficult crux. It was a very disconcerting experience trying to keep my partner safe with a good belay in the middle of the doggy mayhem. Then on the hike out, I had to walk by another large dog that was not on leash and was growling at me. The owner said, “don't worry he doesn't bite”, but he still scared the *&?#$@! out of me.
Jan 4, 2008
Bringing my dog to Shelf this weekend. If you don't like it, I really don't give a #$%^!!!!!!!!!!
By richard magill
Jan 22, 2008
Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

No need to argue, just keep in mind the reality at Shelf:

If you go to Cactus Cliff on a weekend, you should fully expect a high density, semi-urban, fully nitwit sort of experience. I've been there with rampant dogs, kids playing boomboxes, overweight tattooed couples in relationship-ending arguments, guys drinking beer while actually on route... you name it.

Go to the Quarry Wall and you won't see another soul. Your dog will be free to roam at will. Or the far end of the Bank, or even the Gallery or Sand Gulch will offer some seclusion. Save Cactus for a weekday, or buck up and accept that this is public land and it is going to be crowded with people that have every right to do whatever low IQ stuff they may be doing.

The routes are just as good or better at the older crags anyway, and usually harder for the grade.
By Stucker
From: Centennial, CO
Jan 23, 2008
From Pringle: "Like it or not, Shelf is a dog friendly climbing area"

Dog friendly? Often very hot, rattlesnakes, humans involved in dangerous activities that require their full attention. Sounds like a great place for loose dogs. Great idea. Here's a better idea. Let's get the county commissioners to pass an ordinance or law to prohibit dogs from the area. Anybody know how to start something like this? I'll help. Let's shoot for no dogs by 2009. I have a logo for our campaign: No K-9 by 2009!
By Stucker
From: Centennial, CO
Jan 23, 2008
Even catchier and therefore more effective: No K-9 by 2K9
By Chris Cavallaro
Jan 25, 2008

You may be really really good at keeping your dog tied to a tree with a five foot leash, but I know for a fact that you are the rarity.

I have a dog that I will bring to a crag ONLY if i know that they are both safe from rattlesnakes and cliffs, and will not pester others. Places like castlewood where there is no one around. Is it fun for the dog to have them drive in a car for 2.5 hours, be shackled to a tree for a full day while you climb, and then leashed back at camp as not to interfere with other campsites? I would rather leave them at home, but I have a wife who can watch our dog when I climb at Pact-us cliff.
By TBlom
May 2, 2008
Shelf Road is dog friendly for the same reason it is bolt friendly. Yay for public lands! Dogs are not welcome at National Parks, and Boulder's open space is full of weird restrictions (for dogs and bolts). I think the last thing we need is a heavily regulated Shelf Road.

Unruly dog owners and their unruly dogs should definitely be checked, but should all dog owners be banned from bringing their dogs because of a few bad dogs(or owners)?

Personally I don't trust anyone that doesn't like dogs. There's just something amiss about a person who hates them! Also, dogs are not a fad, that is why they are domesticated animals(took hundreds even thousands of years of breeding to get where they are now). If anything, people are less used to dogs than ever before, and are AFFRAID!!! Perhaps people who are afraid of dogs shouldn't blame dog owners for their state of fear, but should go to therapy. Also, a barking dog is not necessarily mad or evil. It is most likely saying hello; if you were nice and said hello back, they'd probably shut up.

We'll be at shelf this weekend with at least 3 dogs...
If you have a problem, ask the owner to rope up their dogs... most would rather do that than piss someone off (but you have to ask).
P.S. If you kick my dog, I will most likely kick you.

P.P.S. Cactus Cliff has always been ridiculous(grid bolted to hell), regardless of the dogs. The damage that is there is caused by us, climbers, not dogs.
By Lauren D. Hollingsworth
From: Colorado Springs, CO
May 23, 2008
I will add my thoughts on the dog discussion that has been going on since my opinion of dogs at Shelf has recently taken a drastic turn.

On April, 26 2008 my husband and I climbed at Menses Prow. Several parties were already there with 5+ dogs belonging to multiple parties. Just before we reached the cliff 2 dogs approached and one promptly pissed right in the middle of the trail. Later while approacing the ledge for "Jumbo Pumping Love" I was overwhelmed by the smell of fresh dog poo which I had to step over in order to reach several climbs. The icing on the cake happened while belaying my husband on a climb near the main approach trail. Someone's stuff was sitting next to the climb (not in our way and not strewn about) and a dog rummaged through the gear, pulled out a sandwich and took off down the hill with it.

Irresponsible dog owners- you know who you are. Leave your pets at home unless you can keep them with you at all times and are willing to clean up their crap!
By bobert
Dec 8, 2008
You don't appreciate the animals of our planet F...!!! Anyone ever touch my dog you'll regret it, TRUST ME!
By Monomaniac
From: Morrison, CO
Dec 9, 2008
What a compelling argument bobert. You really have a way with words.
By Adam Stackhouse
Dec 9, 2008

As Ron Olson once profoundly said, "Foaming at the mouth does little to advance your argument"

How appropriate that it now serves this "discussion." Hilarious...
By Tom Hanson
Dec 10, 2008
I want everyone to understand that I absolutely love other people's dogs, medium-well. The meat falls right off the bone!
By Lyndsy
From: Laramie, WY
Jan 14, 2009
My partner and I are thinking about heading to Shelf from Laramie this weekend. It's supposed to be in the upper 50s, but I am just wondering if the rock is still pretty cold? I would love to hear what the current conditions have been?
By adam brink
From: Boulder, CO
Oct 21, 2009
Does anyone have beta on the University Wall? Thanks!
From: Keswick Cumbria.UK
Nov 10, 2009
Never been to this place as it sounds like a bit of a crowded zoo. Just received this email from a friend who was there this 09 November weekend :-"I ended up doing some sport climbing at a place called Shelf Road. There are A LOT of bolts out there. Bolts 4' apart, bolts in cracks, bolts on bolts, bolts everywhere. Its truly is no fear climbing. I was able to get up stuff I would never try in the real world!"....Is this an accurate description of the area? I am wondering why so many people and animals go to these crowded outdoor climbing gyms (and then complain about it) when they have at their disposal such vast unlimited tranquil wilderness climbing areas both in Colorado and Utah.
By Doug Lintz
From: Kearney, NE
Nov 10, 2009
Shelf is climbable year-round, has convenient camping, easy approaches, and hundreds of routes from easy to really hard (the bulk of which fall into the moderate range 5.8 to 5.11)....and yes many of them are "well" equipped...even a few cracks. Did I mention that many of the routes are really really good?

Given all that it's no surprise that Shelf is popular. It can be crowded, but often that's because people congregate on the classic moderates. It's not hard to find solitude if you want.
By Jeff Welch
From: Denver, CO
Nov 10, 2009
The bolts are only 4' apart if you can't count.

Never seen bolts on bolts, except at anchors (and I do appreciate more than one bolt at those locations).

There are a few bolted cracks, but only because only a nutter would want to place gear in that limestone.

Shelf has hundreds of routes spread across many different cliffs... but certain ones tend to attract more people than others. You can always find solitude, and the somewhat remote location with no major roads makes Shelf feel more tranquil than most sport destinations in CO. Going to Shelf on a November weekend focusing on 5.8-5.10 at Cactus Cliff then complaining about crowds is like going bouldering at the Gunks or Yosemite then complaining there are no trad routes.

Of course, if you don't like sport climbing, you probably won't like Shelf, which should go without saying.
By JasonT
Nov 11, 2009
Agreed. Shelf kicks ass.
From: Keswick Cumbria.UK
Nov 13, 2009
To Astclmbr: Thanks for your does sound a bit boring and noisy. I'm sure you agree, as with my own experience when you climb one line of bolts you have climbed them all, but it is a very safe way to have a bit of fun. To Jason: I assume you really mean kick dogs not donkey's? Overall, the major problem with the remote trad climbing areas is that no one can see when you remove your shirt, and sadly many climbers have to drop their standard from 5.11 to 5.7, so I do understand.
By richard magill
Nov 13, 2009
"if you climbed one line of bolts you climbed them all"

Don't think this is true, Paul Ross. Instead of guessing that this area is lame without visiting, you should give it a try, dude! Some suggested classic Shelf lines with really great variation between routes:

1. The French are Here (12c)- old school classic with a cruxy rounded bulge.
2. Head Cheese (12d) - steep and powerful, relentless
3. Ejection Seat (12b/c) - powerful roof pulling on pinches
4. This is Your Brain (12d) - thin and technical
5. M&M (12a) - fantastic movement, never too hard but just in your face all the way
6. The Example (13a/b) - sick hard and thin
7. No Rest for the Wicked (12a/b) - thoughtful moves up an incipient crack/seam

Go do all these and then post back and tell us they were all the same!
By Tzilla Rapdrilla
Nov 13, 2009

The routes you listed are all harder than 5.7 and probably not runout, so how could they be even remotely interesting?
From: Keswick Cumbria.UK
Nov 23, 2009
LOL, I am just winding you up, lads. You know just high grades do not make a memorable climb, and I wonder how many of the routes mentioned by Richard were climbed without lots of practice, lots of hang dogging, and lots and lots of shouts of take, illustrating the climb is above the true ability of the climber.... I think you realize that this is not possible on runout climbs ground up on sight. I have done quite a few sport routes (e.g. boring Rifle) granted not 5.12s, even a few FAs. I think you would find it quite a different experience and lots of fun just doing let's say some lowly 5.7/9Rs, with perhaps a bit of manky rock throw in for good measure. A slight difference from the possibility of an eight foot fall to a two hundred foot fall. Mind over muscle?
By richard magill
Nov 23, 2009
I thought they were all memorable and fun.

Anyway, I love Shelf and can't wait to get back there! Great climbing!
By Monomaniac
From: Morrison, CO
Feb 16, 2010
For those interested in the Dog question, this might be of interest:
Rock Climbing Photo: Noticed this sign at the Kiosk below Cactus Cliff.
Noticed this sign at the Kiosk below Cactus Cliff.
By Curt Nelson
From: Fort Collins, CO
Mar 15, 2010
I'm pretty sure that Paul (USBRIT)could be violation of rule #1... if you don't like Shelf, stay off the Shelf page and mind your own... I'm saving all wimpy trad for when I get old, ha! Everyone's idea of risk, excitement and recreation all vary. Even people with great tolerances for risk like to just have some fun climbing sometimes. I like alpine, trad, and ice and I still think Shelf is awesome! It's beautiful, has good weather, and great routes. There is also a bit o risk out there if you look for it! I have also been there dozens of times during the week and haven't seen a soul - not even a damned loose dog!
By loc
From: colorado springs co
Mar 20, 2010
Go there on a weekday and you have the whole place to yourself.
By Chris Weber
From: Boulder, CO
May 10, 2010
Hi--looking to go to Shelf for first time this weekend, a few questions:
1) what are the chances the campgrounds will be fully booked on Friday eve around 8pm?
2) is there water available?
3) is it still $4 a night?
4) picnic tables at the sites?

Any other tips I should know for camping there?

By Derek Lawrence
From: Bailey
May 10, 2010
1) what are the chances the campgrounds will be fully booked on Friday eve around 8pm?
2) is there water available?
3) is it still 4$ a night?
4) picnic tables at the sites?

1 - if it was like last weekend there were only a couple of sites still available by 9pm (granted last weekend was the busiest i've seen in years) you should have a decent chance...
2 - No, bring your own
3 - Yes, for now...
4 - Yes

Other tips... bring your own wood unless you don't mind walking a ways to gather dead wood (it's still possible, but it keeps getting further and further from the sites).

Have fun!
By Petsfed
From: Laramie, WY
May 11, 2010
Considering that there are 10-15 campsites a piece at the Bank and Sand Gulch campgrounds, I really wonder where everyone expects to climb, assuming that each of those sites can hold up to 8 people. Maybe carpool in the future? Or take a couple days off work? Climb elsewhere? It blew me away that anyone would feel it necessary to camp along the dirt road. Incidentally, that dirt road is getting torn to hell by people driving too fast on it. Washboard gets worse when heavy vehicles drive too fast on it. I'd give it a few more years, assuming a constant wear pattern and no additional maintenance, before it's impassable by low slung vehicles. Think like the road into Eldo.
By Rob Culbertson
May 18, 2010
Any Bear activity in Sand Gulch area this year?
By tim
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 12, 2010
good shade can be found even now, but the biting nats/flies are terrible.
By T.Dailey
From: Avon
Sep 3, 2010
What's the pooping like?
By Doug Lintz
From: Kearney, NE
Sep 3, 2010
Vault toilets at both campgrounds and another near the old parking lot for the Gem/Cactus Cliff area. In other words...convenient.
By nick martino
Dec 29, 2010
Keep an eye out for this guy stealing draws at Shelf.

Rock Climbing Photo: Draw thief (on the left).
Draw thief (on the left).
By Fred Knapp
Jan 6, 2011
SHELF ROAD ROCK: A Complete Climbing Reference can now be purchased as a high-res printable eBook for a very affordable $12.95 at
By Unassigned User
Feb 13, 2011
If you don't like dogs, go back to fn Boulder!
By Tzilla Rapdrilla
Mar 21, 2011
Unattended campfire on 3/20/11:

Upon arrival at the Sand Gulch day parking area yesterday around 10:30 AM I noticed an active campfire in Site #6, right by a red Saab with Colorado plates, that was burning with flames visible. During the time that we were getting ready to head up to the crag, I checked and there was no one in or around the campsite, so I used some of the water that they had left on the table and put the fire out. It was obvious that no effort had been made to extinguish the fire.

Leaving an active fire in a campsite is inexcusable, and even more so during red flag fire conditions. We all need to be especially careful to take care of this area.
By Curt Nelson
From: Fort Collins, CO
Mar 26, 2011
It was probably the same people that s#!t in the bushes by the trail, just about 150 ft from the bathrooms. I am constantly amazed at the ever evolving stupidity here at Shelf Road!
By Unassigned User
Apr 5, 2011
Not the same as it used to be. Only four years ago you could be by yourself at Shelf on a weekend, not anymore. Shit show. Go back to Boulder!
By Monomaniac
From: Morrison, CO
Apr 6, 2011
True, Cactus, The Bank, The Gallery & Sand Gulch tend to be crowded, but there are many other crags that go (literally) years without any climber traffic. In my last 20 climbing days at Shelf, I have seen exactly 2 other climbers that were not in my party, and they weren't even at the cliff; we passed them on the approach.
By Mike Anderson
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Apr 8, 2011
Andrew, I've ben climbing at Shelf since you were in grade school, and you're mistaken. Shelf has always had crowds and always had GREAT cliffs that are deserted. Go to the Gym, and you'll have the best of Shelf all to yourself.
By Unassigned User
Apr 10, 2011
Not the same. You're right about The Gym.
By Doug Lintz
From: Kearney, NE
Apr 24, 2011
Braden, Shelf Road cliffs are generally dead vertical. The only place to escape rain is your tent. However, I've been chased off Cactus Cliff back to my campsite by rain only to be climbing a couple hours later, it dries out pretty quickly.

Unless the forecast is calling for an all-week rain event, you should be fine.
By Ivan Rezucha
From: Fort Collins, CO
May 30, 2011
Helmet found at Shelf Road on Sunday 5/29.

Not actually found, but it stowed away in our pack and came home with us. It looks very similar to one of our helmets.

Contact me via Mountain Project, tell me where you lost it and what kind of helmet it is, and we'll figure out how I can get it back to you.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Ivan Rezucha
By Joshua1979
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Jun 7, 2011
Climbing shoes found at Cactus Cliff yesterday (Monday, June 6th). Contact me with a description, and I'll try and get them back to you.
By rome
Jun 13, 2011
Is early November too cold to climb at the Shelf Rd?
By Cameron Melvin
From: Colorado Springs
Jun 19, 2011
Thinking about taking a trip w/ my kids. Any good places to top rope on Shelf Road? Looking for easier stuff, say 5.8 and lower. The kids have climbed in the gym a bunch but not so much outside, so they have a hard time picking a line and seeing the holds that are available to them. I've requested a couple of guides from the local library, but they haven't gotten here yet. Just looking for some info to see if this will be a possibility. Thanks.
By Joshua1979
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Jun 23, 2011
Rome - Winter is the best time to climb at Shelf IMO as summer can be HOT. A sunny day in Nov. or Dec. is a beautiful thing at Shelf.

Cameron - You can get a TR on most lines at Shelf assuming you can lead up to the anchors first. There are quite a few 8s and some lower out there, just search the database here. If you are looking to scramble up to setup a TR, then Shelf is not going to be the best location for that as walking on the cliff tops is discouraged due to loose rocks that can be knocked off on climbers. Most anchors would be hard to reach from the cliff top anyway as they are generally located on the face. Have fun with the kiddos.
By abc
Sep 18, 2011
Seems like taking draws off of projects is becoming the norm here. I had my draws taken off of Carnage this weekend.
By Monomaniac
From: Morrison, CO
Sep 19, 2011
Glad to hear you're back on the rock!

It seems that the GBN, North Gym, & Damage Wall are safe for "fixed" draws. I wouldn't leave draws anywhere else. Good luck and let me know how it goes.
By liz morgan
Nov 29, 2011

Sunny crags and lots to be thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend. We even had chestnuts roasted on an open fire at the group campsite at Shelf Road. And then I lost my wedding ring, engagement ring, and a watch. They are all hooked together. Oh my goodness. I am freaking out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Has anyone found these? If you did, please let me know and I will give a full description, cash reward, and eternal gratitude. Call Liz at 303-642-7646 or email me at
By SteveBSU
From: Muncie, IN
Jan 16, 2012
Does anyone know how the weather would be like for climbing during the first week of March? Is there risk of any big snowfall?
Jan 16, 2012
Yes, you could get snowed on in March. It's probably not a huge risk, but it is spring time and weather patterns are shifting. Some of our largest storms on the Front Range happen in March and April. I wouldn't say not to go, but I also might not drive all the way from Indiana with a small window of days to climb. If you came out for a week, it would be worth it. If you came out for five days, it could be worth it. If you came out for three days, you might get shut down with a freak storm, but chances are you're not that unlucky.
By richard magill
Jan 17, 2012

March is the Front Range's snowiest month. Most likely, you would get 60 degrees and sunny at Shelf in early March. But a couple feet of snow and temps near zero wouldn't be a surprise either.
By Doug Lintz
From: Kearney, NE
Jan 17, 2012
We got out just in time to miss 10 inches of snow about 5 years ago. This was in early April. You just never know.
By Christy-Dale
From: Lakewood, CO
Mar 1, 2012
Update on camping:
Today I spoke to the Royal Gorge BLM office who runs the area, and camp fees have gone up. Individual sites as now $7 a night and group sites are $14 a night.
By Doug Lintz
From: Kearney, NE
Apr 21, 2012
Pretty lame. The BLM should be able to track down these asshats.
For $10 you can buy as much scrap wood as you can stuff in your vehicle at the lumber mill north of Canon City. Just get there before they close at 6.
By Dave Bohn aka "Old Fart"
Apr 24, 2012
Are you sure they were "Big City Climbers"?

It's prom season, and I've encountered many LARGE parties of local HS aged kids trashing the place.

It's not just a climbers only campground.
By Harald Harb
From: Dumont
Jun 18, 2012
Camped and climbed at Sand Gulch Tuesday and Wednesday. Not one party in the whole area. Midweek climbing is the answer. I won't climb on weekends with untrained dogs and loud spraying right and left. That's not why I climb, there are so many places in Colorado to climb without this mess.
By saracasey casey
Jul 12, 2012
The Higher Limits outdoor store is no longer open.
By bryant
Sep 13, 2012
I made a video that give a quick overview of what Shelf is like. Not a lot of climbing footage but hopefully some helpful info. This Crag :: Shelf Road
By Hiro Kurotsuchi
From: Colorado
Oct 23, 2012
Where to eat - try Alfanso's which is in town, just up the road from WalMart.
By Tzilla Rapdrilla
Mar 8, 2013
You know I was looking through the two most recent Shelf guidebooks and found that almost all of the bolt counts for each route were different between the two books. Although it doesn't matter to me at all, it seems unfathomable that some pathetic moron hasn't called out a safety concern on that.
By Leo Paik
From: Westminster, Colorado
Mar 9, 2013
Tod, we don't have any pathetic morons around here, just normal ones. ;)
By Tzilla Rapdrilla
Mar 9, 2013
It's good to know that the pathetic morons haven't made it that far south yet, but an infestation could occur at any time.
By M Mojo
Mar 14, 2013
Just a heads up:

Today (13 March 2013), while climbing at the Piggy Bank, a member of our group came across a massive, loose rock at the top of the route between 2010A and Pig City Nights. He placed his hand on it, and it started to move quite easily and looked like it could tumble down to the base of those three climbs. We marked the base of the route with some chalk. When looking up from the base: the rock is located slightly behind a wall to the left side. Be careful out there.
By Sam Miller
From: Boulder, Colorado
Sep 18, 2013
Anyone know of any flood damage to areas or roads at Shelf?
By Kirk Miller
From: Golden, CO
Sep 18, 2013
I posted a few pics under the thread "Shelf Road Hut". There was extensive road damage from a storm in August, prior to recent events. BLM completed repairs before the last round of storms. Hopefully the road is still good to go. Cactus Cliff Yurt is available.
By Jason Parks
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Oct 4, 2013
28 Sept 2013: May have dropped my wedding ring (white gold with 5 sapphires) and another ring (titanium with silver inlay) out the Trail to Menses Prow. Any booty finders, please contact me so I can get out of the doghouse.
By Ellen.tradgirl
Mar 30, 2014
It was a great, yet busy weekend at Shelf. Wanted to post a reminder to park on the gravel. Driving your red jeep around the rocks and parking on the vegetation doesn't help the access.
By August Voegeli 1
From: Jamestown, Colorado
Jul 16, 2014
I was climbing last weekend, and someone lost some gear at a certain area.
Hit me up with the gear and area, and I will gladly return it to the owner!
By Tzilla Rapdrilla
Jan 22, 2015
Couldn't help but notice the parcel of land for sale at right next to Sand Gulch campground last weekend. Some enterpreneural climber should snap that up & set up a Miguel's West. Add more camping, pizza & beer, how could you go wrong with something like that? Then on slow days, just walk over & get some pitches in. Any takers?
By Chick on Crack
From: Superior, CO
Mar 18, 2015
Who has a slow day at Shelf?

Just say no to commercializing Shelf! If you want pizza & beer, climb in Golden or Boulder.

(unless that post was in the tone of sarcasm, then bravo)
By Eliot Augusto
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 13, 2015
I'd rather someone purchased it and turned it into a campground. Same deal the BLM have going on.

Also, single sites are $8 now. At least the sticker told me so.
By Jay Merrill
Aug 18, 2015
Hey y'all. I have a huge favor to ask anyone who is out at Shelf Road. I unfortunately left my rain jacket containing my red shockproof camera in the bathroom vestibule at the Sand Creek Campground. If any of you find it, could you let me know? I'll pay for shipping and then some, or if you're heading north to the Fort Collins area, I can meet you anywhere near there. Thanks!!!
By Kayla Frankum
Sep 22, 2015
Us crazy ladies decided to ride our bikes from Yellowstone to Vegas. We want to stop for some climbing breaks along the way! So we shipped our rope and rock shoes to Canon City general delivery. We are seeking a ride from there out to Shelf Rd, to give our bikes a break, and even possibly make some new climbing friends and share some new experiences. Text me if you're headed out there Wednesday evening or Thursday, friend. 2066583096
By Nick Crews
From: Colorado Springs
Oct 25, 2015
Somebody left their chalkbag on the evening of Saturday the 24th, and I picked it up. Tell me what it look like, and it's yours!
By sab160
From: Denver, CO
Oct 25, 2015
Someone took my climbing shoes today, Oct. 25 climbing at The Bank, Piggy Bank. A family was climbing next to us with a teenage girl, they moved away, and I'm pretty sure they grabbed my shoes by accident. I would love to get them back, they're La Sportiva grey/metallicy color (206)602-4328. Thanks
By Mr Singleton
Jan 4, 2016
I lost an iPhone 5 with a black case either in the parking lot, Cash Cliff, or Cactus Cliff.

Reward offerd. Contact if you find it!
By Benjamin Schaefer
From: Denver, Co
Jan 18, 2016
Be careful leaving your camp unattended. A sleeping bag and pad where stolen from me today.
By tiffany
From: Colorado springs, CO
Mar 7, 2016
Camping issues:

Please extinguish your fire when you leave your site! This Sunday morning, in the camping area beyond the gate that does not have designated sites, a group of guys left a smouldering log that caught fire after they left. The log was very large and about half of it was out of the fire pit. Thankfully we had enough extra water to put it out. There is plenty of dry grass in the area that could have caught fire if this log continued to burn.

If you know them, inform them about the fire hazard they left. It was a group of guys, some in their 30s, one of them had a grayish brown Sprinter van, and the other had a white van, from Boulder CO.

These guys were drunk & loud til 2am. Is that a norm at Shelf Rd?

Rock Climbing Photo: Careless campers!
Careless campers!
By David Becker
Mar 7, 2016
My friend left my rope in The Bank parking lot Friday evening. It is green/white (very dirty, can't remember what brand it is), and it was in a blue/gray Black Diamond rope bag. Reward if you return it. email me at
By two chains
From: Fucken Zion
Apr 26, 2016
Place sucks. Gumby climbers and campers. People projecting 11a. Gang bangs on classics and generators and music till 4am. Who are these faacking twats?

ATZ an abundance of mortal shit/tpee is buried in YOUR stinks.... Don't worry I'll stay out and head to Wyonothing or Flag before setting foot in Selfish Road again.
May 6, 2016
Ah, the classic "damn teenage beer parties" logical fallacy. 'Instagram', I imagine the first day you climbed you onsighted 13d, but most mere mortals have to start somewhere, and why not at The Shelf? Get off my lawn!
By Casey Thompson
May 18, 2016
Hey all. I am pretty new to the area and am very new to rock climbing. I am trying to find some good bouldering spots that aren't super hard. I want to do some bouldering to get in shape. Can you guys give me some suggestions besides Newlin. Thanks ahead of time!
By Sam Spare
From: Breckenridge, CO
Jul 7, 2016
Can anyone recommend a shady crag in the summer?
By two chains
From: Fucken Zion
Aug 2, 2016
Yeah stay in Breck, and go to Haus Rock. 5.7s-5.14.
By peakest
From: Manitou Springs, Colorado
Oct 18, 2016
About that time again.... Rock is getting better, and the crowds are starting to flock. Come one come all to enjoy the crimpy pocket climbing that Shelf has to offer. It amazes me the the different style of sport climbing that occurs here vs. the granite I am used to. Amazing spot - always need one day to get in the swing of things before I can really let loose.
By Chris Perkins
From: Buena Vista, Colorado
Nov 16, 2016
Found a slackline at the Bank Campground. Contact me with description, and I'll get it back to you.
By Yoav Golan
From: Milford, PA
Nov 17, 2016
FOUND climbing shoes on Wednesday at the Dark Side area.
Describe them, and I'll give em back happily.
Contact 3609109194.
By Joncharlesdavis
Aug 19, 2017
May have left my Grigri up at Contest. Let me know if you found one.
By Josh Hackett
Aug 26, 2017
May have lost of full set of sport gear. 14 draws and a Cinch. If found and it wasn't stolen, pleeeeease contact me. 8609386166
By Yevgeniy Shvartsman
Sep 12, 2017
Hey guys, I may have lost a magnetic key box from underneath my car 2 weeks ago somewhere in the Shelf Road area. I know it's a long shot, but if anyone has seen one, please let me know :(
By gunter
Oct 1, 2017
I left my damn helmet at the Menses Prow Sat. the 30th. It is a white a silver Petzl Meteor 3. It is rather sentimental as I have been through a lot of good and bad times with that shit on my head. So if anything, I hope it finds an equally epic home. If you do have it, please PM me, and I will gladly pay to get it to me and compensate you.
By Walter Hafner
6 days ago
Found a pair of men's climbing shoes at Cactus Cliff Tuesday. If yours, please respond with description, and I'd be happy to get them back to their rightful owner.

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