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The Canal Zone

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Aretnophobia S 
Batso Canal S 
Bear's Choice S 
Bear's Choice Easy Variation S 
Beasto S 
Berga S 
Box of Rain S 
Buckets of Rain S 
Cut Loose S 
Dirt Trek T 
Gondolier Arete S 
Holiday Road S 
Ivy League S 
Lambada S 
Lame Line T 
Levada S 
Made In The Shade S 
Panama Red S 
Ridin' the Moon Buggy  T 
Ripple S 
Route Canal T 
Snake Eyes S 
Turkey Jerky S 
Venice Beach S 
Walking With A Ghost S 
Whopper, The S 

The Canal Zone Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 5,835'
Location: 39.75032, -105.2478 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 132,958
Administrators: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Kirk Miller on Jul 21, 2008

56° | 35°

57° | 41°

70° | 43°

51° | 27°

45° | 30°

54° | 36°
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Best climbs for YOU in this area
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Owl, hanging out in a tree, at the Canal Zone.

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  • Description 

    The first crag on the left heading up Clear Creek always caught the eye but was a pain to access. This all changed when JCOS put in a new foot bridge. With surprisingly excellent CCC rock, the crag holds the shade through the mornings until around 2:00 in the summer and stays shady all day in the fall.

    For steeper, more challenging routes check out The Twilight Zone, just past The Canal Zone perched on the hillside above.

    Getting There 

    Park in the first pullout on the left, right after you enter the canyon. Walk East on the dirt road that leaves the East end of the lot past the gate, down to the canal road. Head back West on the canal road to the bridge.

    For a more direct approach, pick one of the erosional, steep, loose, grotty, gullies beyond the parking lot and descend directly to the foot bridge.

    A bit longer but more enjoyable approach to the bridge can be had by parking near the Golden Recreation Center at the West end of 10th Street and walking the river path West, under the highway, up river to the foot bridge.

    Cross the bridge and take a left on the Canal Zone / Twilight Zone Climbing Access Trail. When the trail levels out at the canal, turn right and walk about 1/4 mile to the crag.


    A1. Cut Loose, 11-, 1p, 75', bolts.
    A2. Bear's Choice, 10, 1p, 75', bolts.
    A2B. Bear's Choice Easy Variation, 8+, 1p, 75', bolts.
    B. Box of Rain, 8, 1p, 75', bolts.
    C. Ripple, 8, 1p, 75', bolts.
    D. Venice Beach, 8, 1p, 75', bolts.
    E. Holiday Road, 8, 1p, 70', bolts.
    F. Dirt Trek, 9, 1p, 100', bolts & gear.
    G. Ridin' the Moon Buggy , 9 R, 1p, 70', gear.
    H. Berga, 9, 1p, 80', bolts.
    I. Beasto, 10, 1p, 70', bolts.
    J. Ridin' the Moon Buggy , 9 R, 1p, 70', gear.
    K. Turkey Jerky, 10, 1p, 80', bolts.
    LM. Snake Eyes, 11, var, bolts.
    M. Walking With A Ghost, 11, 1p, 55', bolts. 2 starts.
    N. Ivy League, 10-, 1p, 50', bolts.
    O. Panama Red, 10-, 1p, 50', bolts.
    P. Route Canal, 9, 1p, 50', gear & bolt.
    Q. Gondolier Arete, 10-, 1p, 55', bolts.
    R. Made In The Shade, 9-, 1p, 125', bolts.
    S. Aretnophobia, 11, 1p, 70', bolts.
    T. Batso Canal, 10, 1p, 55', bolts.
    U. Lambada, 10, 1p, 60', bolts.
    V. Levada, 8+, 1p, 80', bolts.
    W. The Whopper, 9-, 1p, bolts.
    X. Buckets of Rain, 8 or 10-, 1p, 45', bolts.
    Y. Lame Line, 8, 1p, 60', gear.


    Beware of rattlesnakes along the approach.

    Climbing Season

    Weather station 2.1 miles from here

    26 Total Climbing Routes

    ['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',7],['2 Stars',16],['1 Star',3],['Bomb',0]

    Classic Climbing Routes in The Canal Zone

    Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for The Canal Zone:
    Box of Rain   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   
    Venice Beach   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   
    Holiday Road   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   
    Ripple   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   
    Route Canal   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 50'   
    The Whopper   5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch   
    Made In The Shade   5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 125'   
    Buckets of Rain   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
    Gondolier Arete   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 55'   
    Ivy League   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
    Beasto   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   
    Panama Red   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
    Lambada   5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   
    Bear's Choice   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   
    Turkey Jerky   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   
    Batso Canal   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 55'   
    Cut Loose   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   
    Aretnophobia   5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   
    Walking With A Ghost   5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 55'   
    Snake Eyes   5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   
    Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in The Canal Zone

    Featured Route For The Canal Zone
    Rock Climbing Photo: Adam Schrader cruising to the last protection bolt...

    Walking With A Ghost 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a  Colorado : Golden : ... : The Canal Zone
    Thin sustained crimps, cool movement, and intricate footwork lead up a steep line. Avoid the bailout left and stay on course through the last clip for full value. A two bolt variation to start adds to the fun; Snake Eyes comes in from the left, starting just right of Turkey Jerky, and pulls through two amazing huecos to clip the second bolt on Ghost....[more]   Browse More Classics in Colorado

    Photos of The Canal Zone Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Correction on "The Canal Zone's" left/mi...
    BETA PHOTO: Correction on "The Canal Zone's" left/mi...
    Rock Climbing Photo: The Canal Zone.
    BETA PHOTO: The Canal Zone.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Left side of The Canal Zone from the approach trai...
    Left side of The Canal Zone from the approach trai...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Beta.
    BETA PHOTO: Beta.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Routes in red a little easier to see.
    BETA PHOTO: Routes in red a little easier to see.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Near the base of Ivy League.
    Near the base of Ivy League.
    Rock Climbing Photo: CZ buddy.
    CZ buddy.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Walking out from the Canal Zone.
    Walking out from the Canal Zone.
    Rock Climbing Photo: A beautiful day at the Canal Zone.
    A beautiful day at the Canal Zone.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down the US 6, passing storm.
    Looking down the US 6, passing storm.
    Rock Climbing Photo: A busy day at the Canal Zone.
    A busy day at the Canal Zone.

    Comments on The Canal Zone Add Comment
    Show which comments
    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 10, 2017
    By Richard M. Wright
    From: Lakewood, CO
    Jul 22, 2008
    Nice job, Kirk!!! I too had been looking at this crag for well over 20 years and just never had the time to check it out. Glad you got it done.
    By Gold Plated Rocket Pony
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jul 26, 2008
    Kirk, nice work. Had a great day climbing all the routes today.
    By aldoe
    From: littleton
    Jul 31, 2008
    Thanks Kirk, I hope everyone can enjoy this niche crag like we have for weeks.
    By Adam Berger
    Aug 7, 2008
    Thanks for the work Kirk; Tracy and I got on one route yesterday before being rained off but had a great time.

    Watch out for rattlesnakes in the canal. We had an up close encounter with one on the walk out.
    By Jake Wyatt
    From: Longmont, CO
    Aug 9, 2008
    Thanks for the new routes, Kirk. This is a great addition to CCC.

    The area is already quite popular; at one point this morning there were 17 people, 1 rat, and 1 rattlesnake at the base!
    By Tim Kline
    From: Littleton, co
    Aug 9, 2008
    Great area, loved the 3 routes I did, can't wait to get back to do some more!! Watch out for rattlesnakes, they don't seem to be too afraid of us up there, but don't take your chance. I had one slither by us less than 3 feet away from me and some other climbers. He just went into a corner and watched us, not rattling or anything, but still I would be very watchful of these dangerous guys!!
    By Ben Helgeson
    From: Denver
    Sep 7, 2008
    Fun climbing and close to home. Thanks to all who put their time, effort, and money into developing the area.
    By Jeff Welch
    From: Denver, CO
    Sep 10, 2008
    I've done every established route here now but the hardest line. Consistently high quality routes, and unique rock. Thanks Kirk.
    By AOSR
    From: Wherever we park!
    Sep 17, 2008
    Every one of these routes has something to offer in the way of fun climbing. Well-protected crux moves make it a good place to push one's level on lead. I think it will be interesting to see what the consensus for route grades become after they clean up a bit more with increased traffic. All-in-all, another great addition to CCC.
    By Scott Duke
    Jan 23, 2009
    Kirk- thanks so much for the nice routes, although you forgot to place few bolts on the 5.8! (see runout).
    Made in the Shade (5.9) is great stuff.
    Keep up the good work.
    By Jeff Welch
    From: Denver, CO
    Apr 28, 2009
    ^^^That's 'cause Kirk didn't establish the 5.8!
    By Armin Colorado
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jun 4, 2009
    Kirk (and others) thanks for all of your hard work and $$ investment, well worth it! It was nice meeting you this evening.
    By Lauren D. Hollingsworth
    From: Colorado Springs, CO
    Jun 27, 2009
    Thanks to Kirk Miller for this great addition to CCC. I really enjoyed all the routes I was able to get on today. All are well-bolted with good anchor positions and the movement is fantastic! Thanks for the investment.
    By Dan G0D5H411
    From: Colorado Springs, CO
    Jul 18, 2009
    Great new crag. Perfect to start with before heading to the Twilight Zone. Definitely beware of rattlers. We saw two today (one right at the crag and one in the bush on the trail leading in.) Neither warned us it was in the area. I am more cautious of the snake that snaps at you without warning than the snake that tells you to "get the heck out of here".
    By jon dickey
    From: Half Moon Bay CA
    Aug 17, 2009
    Anyone know what the deal is with the trail. It is becoming horribly eroded. Is the trail on private property or can we build a real trail there? Any info would be good. Thanks.
    By Mike Morin
    From: North Conway, NH
    Aug 17, 2009
    The trail and crag are on Jefferson County Open Space land, specifically Clear Creek Canyon Park. The Trails Department is aware of the issue. I'm hopeful that we'll see a better access become available soon.
    By Mary303
    From: Golden, CO
    Sep 17, 2009
    We went up here for the first time yesterday and found that if you cut left right after the foot bridge, there is a very well established trail that leads to the area. Not steep and no erosion.

    Thanks, Kirk! It's great to have a crag so close to home for a quick session.
    By mama
    Jul 24, 2010
    Have there been many snakes sighted here this summer? I hate snakes....
    By Rob Culbertson
    Jul 24, 2010
    RE: Rattlesnakes Fri 7/23 4:15pm Encountered one - approx 36" x 1 1/4" rattler partially on the trail about 100ft East of the actual cliff. Suspect was completely silent until we rolled rocks it's way, activating its warning system. Lots of poison ivy along the trail, too.

    Be alert as these snakes are apparently not required to warn of their presence.
    By Leo Paik
    From: Westminster, Colorado
    Jul 27, 2010
    Another couple friends reported a rattler on the horizontal part of the approach this summer in prior to the above noted snake. One nearly stepped on or next to it. Beware!
    By Robbie Flick
    From: Denver, CO
    Sep 5, 2010
    As everyone else as said, a big thank you to those who put up these routes, it's great to have a crag with so many nice moderates right around the corner!

    I'm new to climbing in this area (East Coast transplant), and I came here for the first time last week. I noticed that all the climbing parties there were lowering directly through the bolts. Where I learned to climb, this is a serious abuse of the crag as it wears the bolts down. Is this considered kosher in this area?
    By Kirk Ranney
    Sep 6, 2010
    Just wondering if any one has found a pair of red and white Scarpa shoes at the Canal Zone. Let me know if you have seen them. Thanks,
    By Keith H. North
    From: Englewood, CO
    Apr 6, 2011

    Would people be interested in doing a little work on the trail to the crag? Personally I think it would be nice if an established trail was created that way the approach, both the portion straight down from the parking lot and the portion that goes up the other side of the river are pretty steep and they are seeing very heavy erosion.

    If we (climbers) could put in some timber or something to ease out this approach, it would be really nice, especially in such a beginner friendly area.

    So interest: Yay or Nay?
    By Mike Morin
    From: North Conway, NH
    Apr 6, 2011
    Keith, Open Space is working on it. Please don't make any improvements, doing so is actually a violation of Open Space Rules & Regulations. We are planning on bringing people up the old road grade that can be accessed by turning left after crossing the bridge. This is taking some time because the ditch is actually still owned by the ditch company. Before we can make any improvements or do anything to officially direct people up to the ditch, we have to go through the proper legal channels.


    Mike Morin
    Park Ranger
    Jefferson County Open Space
    By Keith H. North
    From: Englewood, CO
    Apr 6, 2011
    Mike, I had no intention of doing anything without talking you and having you run the event. I have done some work for Mike in Eldo and the people in RMNP. All I would be offering is to find you free slave labor.


    By needstolearn
    Apr 17, 2011
    I was climbing up here on Made in the Shade, I noticed two bolts here, and do know why they are there no rap rings or chains just two bolts?

    Rock Climbing Photo: What are these bolts for?
    What are these bolts for?
    By Todd Felix
    May 31, 2011
    There is a new route on the arete just left of Batso as of 5/29/11. Aretnophobia. These are not the anchors that needstolearn is asking about.
    By Parker Wrozek
    From: Denver, CO
    Mar 30, 2012
    This has been a real fun place to climb for my wife and I. Every time we go there are a lot of people (I would estimate 30+ today). So you may want to try somewhere else if you want to be alone or go mid week.

    Also I saw multiple groups TR through the chains today. There is really nothing that can be done about it besides educate people but it was a sad thing to see.
    By Kevin Gillest
    From: Arvada, CO
    Jun 29, 2012
    Shoes found at the Canal Zone Tuesday June 26th, describe make, model and size, they're yours!
    From: Los Angeles, CA
    Jul 25, 2012
    LOST: 7/25 black iPhone and black wallet. Please message me here or email REWARD. Thanks.
    By J. McKinnon
    Jul 28, 2012
    Found carabiner last week. Let me know if this is yours.
    By Dwight Jugornot
    From: Arvada, Co.
    Sep 29, 2012
    9-29-12 found a belay device today.
    Describe it and it's yours.
    By NickMartel
    From: Tucson, Arizona
    Apr 1, 2013
    Belay device found Easter Sunday, 2013. Describe the device, biner, markings, etc. and it's yours.... I just moved here from Tucson, AZ, did the 1st Flatiron Saturday, found a cam, and then found this belay device Sunday... So far I am 2 for 2 in terms of finding booty every time I go climbing here in CO.... Hopefully it continues!!!

    Also what is the name (if it has a name) of the big bloc down in the canyon directly below this wall? Thx.
    By Eric Risi
    From: Houston, TX
    Jun 18, 2013
    Did anyone find a pair of climbing shoes / chalk bag left behind at or around the approach to The Canal Zone? We left at dark last Thursday, and I'm pretty sure these items got lost in that process.
    By Chameleon
    Jun 23, 2013
    Found: belay device with biner at Canal Zone on Saturday, June 22, 2013. Reply to this, describe it, and we'll figure a way to get it back to you.
    By Matthew Jeffers
    From: Arvada, CO
    Jul 13, 2013
    I believe I left three draws (green, BD) near Made in the Shade when I was packing up in the dark the other night (7/10/13). I would greatly appreciate them back if they have been found; Thanks!
    By Chip Loomis
    Aug 18, 2013
    Climbing shoes found, give me the details and you get them.
    By Kevin Capps
    From: Golden, CO
    Sep 5, 2013
    That's awesome, Mike! I'm sure I speak for a lot of people when I say, I look forward to it.
    By Kirk Miller
    From: Golden, CO
    Sep 23, 2013
    Thanks to Mike Morin, a host of volunteers, and JCOS for the most excellent new trail into the Canal Zone! Great work, many thanks.
    By Bran
    Aug 8, 2014
    Be careful. Saw rattlesnake on trail up to Canal Zone this AM.
    By samwagner
    From: Golden, CO
    Jan 29, 2015
    I found a fairly new looking pair of shoes beneath Buckets of Rain at the crag yesterday, 1/29/15. Write me describing them if they are yours, so I can get 'em back to ya.
    By John Cordera
    Jun 23, 2015
    I left some green La Sportiva Tarantulace shoes... 8 or 9 size? The Canal Zone on 22JUN2015. Email me if you see them! jcordera07@gmail
    By Holly Barrass
    Aug 17, 2015
    A group of 15 high school aged students and 5 staff will be at Canal zone 10am-1:30pm on Thursday August 20.

    Happy to accommodate and move around to work with others.
    By Jeremy C
    From: Golden, CO
    Oct 18, 2015
    Someone bolted a route recently in between Holiday Road and Beasto. It's pretty filthy still and has at least 3 big loose blocks on it. Take EXTREME caution if you choose to climb this route.
    By Mollykbee
    Apr 23, 2016
    Howdy all! I was at the Canal Zone today and I found a really nice, lightweight, waterproof jacket somewhere between Made in the Shade and the 10a arete to the left of it. The brand is Paradox. My number is 5124968079, and I would love to give it back to you!
    By Chris JD
    From: Golden, Co
    May 31, 2016
    All, I recently climbed a route that is between Holiday Road and Beasto. It had 70m marked in chalk at the base, and it was necessary. It was a little grungy at the bottom but overall a pretty fun route. I didn't notice any loose blocks as Jeremy C pointed out in a previous post. I'm curious of the name and who put it up. It felt to be in the 8/9 range.
    By Aaron Birch
    Jun 14, 2016
    Went climbing this weekend at Made in the Shade. Parked at the dirt lot outside the climbing area, and our car was broken into. The thieves broke 2 of the car windows and stole personal items from the car. Be very careful if you park here.
    By L Kap
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jul 13, 2016
    June 2016 - still a busy crag. Still seeing rattlesnakes on the trail that don't bother to rattle at you. I didn't see any poison ivy at the base of the climbs, although there are some look-alike plants (berry plants with fuzzy stems at the base of the rightmost climbs and a bush/tree all over the place with light green leaves and red stems that I think is box elder). Plenty of poison ivy on the approach trail including a couple of spots where it is encroaching on the trail from both edges at the same time. Please be careful bringing dogs on this trail, especially because of the snakes but also because of the poison ivy. Dogs don't have a reaction to poison ivy, but they can get the oil on their fur and then transfer it to you, your car seats, other climbers, kids, ropes, etc.
    By Jess Dauchy
    Aug 14, 2016
    Rattlesnake on the approach trail today by the first switchback. Be on the lookout!
    By David Gidley
    Oct 5, 2016
    FOUND: left-'Evolv' climbing shoe on Mon. Oct. 3rd @ dark-thirty in front-bottom of Venice Beach (1st section of climbs at Canal Zone (near Tunnel 1 in Clear Creek Canyon). Contact me at 817-271-4808.... TEXT first (even though you can leave a voicemail, I don't get them!)!
    By Linda Felz
    Nov 11, 2016
    To the young man who fell today:

    I saw you fall from the top and my husband called 911 and got them to you. Words cannot express my anguish at the fall. I called the police and hospital to check on you. My husband and I climb in that canyon often and I have never seen anything like that fall. I have been so upset today. I hope there is someone out there that can let me know if he is ok and what happened.
    By Kirk Miller
    From: Golden, CO
    Aug 14, 2017
    Thank you and huge props to Front Range Climbing Stewards, BCC, and all the volunteers involved for their work harvesting and quarrying rock from all around the area, transporting it to the base, and building retaining structures and belay platforms on the left side of the crag. Thanks to the Access Fund for their support to make this happen as well. Amazing, what an improvement!
    By SeanC Cahill
    From: Boulder, CO
    Sep 6, 2017
    Thanks to whoever added/replaced a bunch of anchors with the mussy hooks there! Noticed A LOT of new hardware today.
    By Matthew Vernon
    Sep 10, 2017
    Does anyone know why there is a canal so high up on the hillside? It took a lot of concrete in difficult terrain, so I am sure it was for a good reason. If anyone can point me to a history of this, I would appreciate it.

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