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Waterton Canyon

Waterton Canyon Rock Climbing 

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Elevation: 5,500'
Location: 39.48384, -105.11112 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 929
Administrators: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Leo Paik on Jan 21, 2014
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This is a canyon probably best known for its splendid fishing as the South Platte River drains from Cheesman Lake to Strontia Springs Reservoir and then down into the lower canyon. It has biking opportunities, hunting resources, some rock climbing, and even a bit of ice climbing. Most will not find the abundance of large faces so plentiful in other canyons, but for the discerning eye, there are climbs here to be done. A bike can be useful for the approaches.

George, perhaps you can search your files and fill in some more details. Thanks!

Note, the landownership is complex in the area. Those unaware should note that Denver Water in general has not allowed climbing on their properties.

Per Christopher D. Walsh: rangers will sometimes stop climbers from venturing onto Denver Water property. Their website is not clear in identifying their regulations regarding climbing.

Getting There 

From Denver, you can get to lower Waterton Canyon via C-470 on the SW side of town. Go south on CO 12 (Wadsworth) until it becomes Waterton Rd. Shortly thereafter, there is a parking area on the east side. Park here, and then hike or bike into the canyon.

To access the upper Waterton Canyon area, you can go west on US 285, to Pine Junction. Head south on CO 126 past Pine to Foxton Rd. and head east. The road crosses over the South Platte River at a bridge. Hike downhill.

Climbing Season

For the Denver South area.

Weather station 1.3 miles from here

Featured Route For Waterton Canyon
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By Geoff U
From: Centennial, CO
May 6, 2015
Are there actually bolted routes in Waterton Canyon?
By Christopher D. Walsh
From: Index, WA
Apr 3, 2017
We hiked into Waterton yesterday to explore a bit. There are complex access issues here that will require patience and time to work through. The area first accessed by the hiking/biking road is privately owned water rights - I think Denver Water Company. We were told by a 'ranger' that they do not permit climbing in their area, due to soft rock and rockfall - specifically impacting the roadway and big horn sheep populations. These are definitely legitimate concerns of risk that need to be considered. They are NOT, however, mentioned anywhere on the website. There was mention of state-owned lands further up-canyon, but this is questionable beta, and I can't confirm. It seems like most potential climbing begins about 1.75 miles up the road. Side canyons hold overhanging walls in places. I believe the perceived risks can be mitigated by educated climbers working to establish the correct backcountry access - and that there is a lot of potential for solid routes on solid rock. If you choose to explore, PLEASE brush up on your LNT practices - leave as few footsteps as possible to help us seek access here. Help keep roads clear of rocks, and don't be combative with these particular rangers. They don't seem to be very knowledgeable of climbing as a whole yet, and we need to educate them carefully. They're very quick to resort to "Climbing just isn't allowed." I do NOT suggest or advocate climbing without expressed permission of the owners of this property.

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