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Plotinus Wall in Boulder Canyon.EXPAND
Plotinus Wall in Boulder Canyon.
Tucker Isgrig

The Ten Crags Close to Denver to Climb in Summer 2019

Colorado has great climbing (even if Alex Honnold doesn't think so). Whether you've been sending routes since you were a kid or you're a novice climber, there's a challenge ahead. These ten crags are all less than three hours from the metro area, and offer sport routes fit for a quick excursion. Learn more on Mountain Project, and then get up and get out there.

Hang out on "Puzzled Monkey" at the Child Free Zone.EXPAND
Hang out on "Puzzled Monkey" at the Child Free Zone.
Zoe Yabrove

Child Free Zone
North Table Mountain
North Table Mountain is an awesome after-work climbing spot close to metro Denver. Child Free Zone boasts climbs suited for climbers of most skill levels, with ten routes rated 5.9 and lower, nine 5.10a and 5.10b routes, and six more difficult routes ranging from 5.11a to 5.12c. The route pictured above, "Puzzled Monkey," is a three-star 5.11a known for its tricky roof pull. After parking in the North Table parking lot, turn right at the base of the crag and take the trail along the base of the wall, then turn the corner: The first route will be a 5.10a/b "Big Loose Goose."

Little Eiger has 28 sport routes.
Little Eiger has 28 sport routes.
Carly Rocco

Little Eiger
Clear Creek Canyon

Clear Creek Canyon is another good option when you're short on time, and this crag is particularly nice in the summer, because it stays shaded longer and has a short approach. Little Eiger is a popular spot with several highly rated climbs, including 3.2 star 5.11d route "Eiger Direct." This crag is 5.9+ and harder, so inexperienced lead climbers would have a hard time setting up routes here. But if you go with someone who can put up more difficult routes, there are some great top-roping options.

North Gateway Rock
Garden of the Gods
This crag at Garden of the Gods appeals to the thrill-seeker, as there are many routes with PG13, R and X ratings, which means you can take pretty big falls while climbing because the bolts are placed far apart. Still, most routes are highly rated, including a 4-star 5.11d called "Amazing Grace." Most of the easier routes are on the west face, the more difficult ones on the southwest.

Stem at Menses Prow.EXPAND
Stem at Menses Prow.
Tucker Isgrig

Menses Prow
Shelf Road
Shelf Road is a bit farther away from Denver, but most climbers would say that it's totally worth the drive; campgrounds make it convenient to stay overnight. Menses Prow is one of the most popular crags, with difficult yet highly rated climbs. Shelf Road as a whole is more suited for intermediate to advanced climbers, with routes that would humble even the best climber; routes often feel harder than their rating because of the limestone texture.

Other Critters is a great spot for novice climbers.
Other Critters is a great spot for novice climbers.
Alex Rock

Other Critters
Clear Creek Canyon
Other Critters is a good place to put your best food forward: Most routes are between 5.6 and 5.8, with a few more difficult climbs scattered about. This crag is very accessible, with a steep but short approach. A few warnings, though: Because there are climbing walls above this crag, you'll need to watch for falling rocks; while helmets should always be worn while climbing and belaying, they're critical at this crag. And since Other Critters faces the sun all day long, it's great for borderline cool days, but miserable on hot ones.

Overhang Area
North Table Mountain
Don't be deterred by the name of this crag. While some routes are slightly overhung, this area isn't as radical as the "Overhang" moniker makes it seem. Intermediate climbers would find the most suitable climbs, with most 5.10 and 5.11 routes. Since the crag is right where the approach trail ends, this has become one of the most popular routes on North Table.

Shirtless sends are the way to go at this sunny crag.EXPAND
Shirtless sends are the way to go at this sunny crag.
Tucker Isgrig

Plotinus Wall
Boulder Canyon
Plotinus Wall has highly rated 5.10 and 5.11 sport routes, but the beautiful scenery and approach make it worthwhile to just be a spectator. For climbers, this is a favored wall because of the long routes with interesting options that make you think and pump you out.

Regarden Wall
Eldorado Canyon
Regarden Wall holds the tallest routes in Eldorado Canyon, making it the most popular in the area. Though Eldorado Canyon is most known for trad climbing, with over fifty sport routes, this crag has routes that are fun for climbers of all levels. The majority of Colorado crags have at most two 4-star sport routes and sometimes none; Regarden Wall has five!

The Clocktower
Boulder Canyon
While Boulder Canyon's Sport Park lives up to its name with nearly eighty sport routes, the Clocktower is a favorite in the summer because of its optimal shade. This wall is definitely for more skilled climbers, with routes graded mostly 5.10b and higher. Though these routes are tough, they are relatively short and well-protected, with bolts placed close together.

Safety first, dogs included.EXPAND
Safety first, dogs included.
Zoe Yabrove

Wall of the 90s
Clear Creek Canyon
Wall of the 90s is an excellent summer climbing spot since it's close to Denver, gets some shade in the summer, and has a super-easy approach. This crag is well known for "Reefer Madness," a 5.11a that was featured in the film stumped at the Banff Film Fest in 2018. The wall has some pretty insane climbs, mostly rated at 5.10d and harder, with a lot of 5.13 climbs. A sweet summer send.

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