REI Community
St. John's Ledges

Select Area...
EMC Wall 
Lower Ledges 
Middle Ledges ("Middle Tier") 
Tarantula Ledge 
Upper Ledges 

St. John's Ledges Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 41.75754, -73.45069 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 14,348
Administrators: Morgan Patterson, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Morgan Patterson on Jun 5, 2012  with updates from Robert Hall
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [1 person likes this page.]
Submitted By: JIncillo


Named after Timothy St. Johns, who owned the property in the 1800's, Saint Johns' Ledges consists of numerous east-facing slabby ledges located on and near the Appalachian Trail in Kent, Connecticut. This area, like most Connecticut areas, is mostly top-rope and traditional climbing. The land is now owned by the National Park Service. The area has a long climbing history and, as a result, many of the route names and descriptions are muddled. For years, the practice was to note new routes on a list at a now-defunct sporting goods store, Clapp and Treat, in West Hartford.

St. Johns' Ledges has some of the best long slab climbing in CT. The Upper and Lower Ledges are often used by groups of toproping beginners, but the area is large and you shouldn't have much trouble finding other routes if the popular ones are occupied.

The rock is Pink Granitic Gneiss formed 800-1700 mya in the Proterozoic period. The ledges are located in what is now a beautiful hillside forest.

Nearby Kent, CT has a good variety of food and shops. Excellent coffee and chocolate are available at the Kent Coffee Shop.

Getting There 

From Kent center (intersection of Routes 7 and 341), head west on Route 341 and cross the bridge over the Housatonic River. Immediately after the bridge, make a right onto Skiff Mountain Road. After about a mile, bear right onto a dirt road, River Road. This road is not maintained in the winter and may be impassable after a good snowstorm. You will pass numerous pull-offs for 1.6 miles until you reach the correct parking area, on the left at the Appalachian Trail junction (GPS coordinates listed above). See the individual areas for further directions.

Climbing Season

For the Western Highlands area.

Weather station 7.6 miles from here

37 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',16],['2 Stars',16],['1 Star',5],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in St. John's Ledges

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for St. John's Ledges:
Try   5.2 3 8 II 8 D 2c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 25'   Lower Ledges
Wilderness Crack   5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 30'   Lower Ledges
Trail Magic    5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   Upper Ledges
First Timer   5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 30'   Lower Ledges
The Graduate   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     TR, 1 pitch, 30'   Lower Ledges
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in St. John's Ledges

Featured Route For St. John's Ledges
Rock Climbing Photo: Workout in the Woods

Workout in the Woods 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b PG13  Connecticut : Western Highlands : ... : Lower Ledges
Climb thin vertical crack that widens as it intersects a fat horizontal crack at the level of the roof to left. Pass the tree and work the off-width for a couple of moves to the top....[more]   Browse More Classics in Connecticut

Photos of St. John's Ledges Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: The major climbing areas of St. Johns' Ledges.
BETA PHOTO: The major climbing areas of St. Johns' Ledges.
Rock Climbing Photo: Just so 'yall can see the scale
Just so 'yall can see the scale
Rock Climbing Photo: Just so 'yall can see the scale
Just so 'yall can see the scale

Comments on St. John's Ledges Add Comment
Show which comments
By Mark Wenzel
Dec 18, 2010
St. Johns Ledges has some classic slab routes, the obvious splitter seam on the left side of the big slab is well protected and goes at 5.5 (it's a guess, we did it 35+ years ago)
By micah richard
From: Litchfield, Connecticut
Feb 27, 2012
The splitter on the left side of the slab, the one that starts with a finger crack going through an overlap ,about 20 ft up, is described in the fasulo ct. guide book. He calls it ''trail magic''. He rates it 8+, which seems about right to me. sandbag?. It is really a good lead and worth doing. A blue tri-cam protects the flaring pod like section before the thin seam part, which is the crux. you can get a micro wire somewhere in the seam before you totally commit to the thin slab move .
By Squints
Apr 19, 2012
St John's Ledges

Where I started climbing, and though it's fairly tapped out it is still a great place to go climb some slabs. The first set of cliff is definitely shorter but the climbing there tends to be of a higher quality. Slabs up top are blast as well and range from well protected 5.8 / 5.7 up to some contrived 5.10 routes that dodge the seams. Favorite route at the place is located at the first cliff and is called "Gumby to Greatness." Described in the guidebook as 5.10 TR but goes on lead with two small wires (#4 to #6, #2 might work as well) and a tipped out blue metolius TCU. Run out and insecure (first piece is mediocre and 15' off the deck) it requires some focus - maybe a PG-13 + gear rating is in order, not sure. Either way its a blast, everything you'd want in a tough slab climb.
By micah richard
From: Litchfield, Connecticut
Sep 15, 2012
Big deadly tree hanging over slab has been cleared away by unknown party. Thank you!
By Taino Grosjean
From: South Salem, NY
Jul 30, 2013
Anyone have any info on all the commercial groups that use the area, and and get very aggressive if someone else is there while they're using "their cliff" on "their day"??
By Morgan Patterson
From: CT
Jul 30, 2013
It's public resource and they have no "right" other then first come first serve really. Technically, under the law, these operations are supposed to get commercial permits to use state land but none of the guides I know do. I've heard stories of them supposedly asking and being told they were fine but that's not what the law says. If the state were permitting these operations like the law says they are supposed to it would likely limit group sizes and thus reduce impact on any given day, so maybe that would be a good thing. Like only 1 permit per cliff per day (etc).
By Brian
From: North Kingstown, RI
Jul 30, 2013
If it is state land commercial guiding needs DEEP written permission. I don't believe that St John's Ledges is on state land.

CT DEEP Regulations...

(h) Commercial restrictions.The use of state park or forest lands or any improvements thereon for private gain or commercial purposes is prohibited, except by concessionaires or vendors with written permission of the Commissioner, or the Commissioner’s designee, or by Special Use License issued by the Department of Environmental Protection.
By Morgan Patterson
From: CT
Jul 31, 2013
Brian is totally right, I was thinking of Whitestone Cliff. I would contact the owner of the guiding service and if nothing is resolved contact the Land Trust or whomever manages the property. Be weary of contacting a private land owner though because they could close the resource to climbing all together.
By micah richard
From: Litchfield, Connecticut
Sep 27, 2013
Most of those groups are not "guided" per se. They all seem to be private school kids from various area prep schools ,with like a p.e. instructor in charge. Several i have seen were using some sketchy set ups. The best one i saw had a rope strung tight across two trees about 50 feet apart, clothes line style, at the top of the short cliff. Then ,the "guide" just clipped a half dozen lockers to the stretched out rope. Then he rigged a top rope from each one. He figured it was slick, because he could just slide the rigs back and forth to different routes without re- rigging. Big fat kids just power dog falling all over the place. Some times three or four at the same time. The "anchor" rope was singing like a bass piano string when it was scraping on the rock when several were hanging at once. A wee bit of load multiplication? I'm was really amazed that no body died.
By Morgan Patterson
From: CT
Sep 30, 2013
Sad to say but yea - sounds like an accident waiting to be had.

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