Hot Spot: Shelf Road for year round rock climbing

WHERE

To get to Shelf Road, travel to Canon City about two and a half hours south of Denver. Shelf Road is on CO-67, just south of Cripple Creek.

WHY

Great climbing at The Shelf.

Great climbing at The Shelf.

Whether it’s climbing, bouldering, hiking or mountain biking, Shelf Road has it going on.

Shelf Road is located in what is often called Colorado’s “banana belt” south of “the Springs.”
Because of its location and with many of the trails and crags facing south, this area is a prime winter climbing destination, basically year-round nirvana. Hey nothing beats being able to climb in a T-shirt and Red Fox Granite Climbing capri in the middle of February. Nothing.

Shelf offers literally hundreds of climbs to choose from at all grades. All climbs are long, safe and well bolted on solid limestone.

Camping is good and inexpensive. 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. All sites are first-come, first-served, so plan ahead.

Getting there is a lot of fun. Shelf Road follows the old stagecoach route to Cripple Creek. Canon City built this toll road in 1892. The road through the canyons has an elevation change from 5,330 feet at Canon City to 9,395 feet at Cripple Creek.

When you aren’t climbing, there is a lot of other great stuff to do. Need some rafting or kayaking? Check out the Arkansas River and of course, the amazing Royal Gorge.

For more information, the Royal Gorge BLM field office can be contacted at 719-269-8500. Also visit www.canoncity.org/.

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