Idaho’s most famous and possibly best climbing area, the City of Rocks is a beautiful oasis of climbing tucked away in southern Idaho just north of the border with Utah. Despite being an easy weekend trip from Salt Lake City, the City generally doesn’t get too crowded and there’s plenty of space for people to spread out.
The rock here is a unique style of granite with myriad pockets and edges, and lends itself well to a mixture of traditional and sporty climbing styles. Many of the climbs here also have mixed protection, so check out your route before leaving the ground to make sure you’re prepared. Most of the climbing here is single pitch with a bit of short multi-pitch stuff, and there are a plethora of moderate and harder routes to please all levels of climbers.
A single rack, and possibly doubles on some of the purely traditional routes, will get you through most climbs here. The climbs are not particularly long, so a 60m rope will suffice for most climbs, but be careful when rappeling.
Nearby Castle Rocks State Park also offers lots of good climbing on rock much the same in character as the City. It’s worth checking out if you’re in the area and have time to explore.
- Skyline 5.8
- Tribal Boundaries 5.10
- Bloody Fingers 5.10
- Beware of Nesting Egos 5.11
- Crack of Doom 5.11
Spring, Summer, Fall. The availability of climbs facing every direction allows one to chase the shade on hot summer days or the sun on colder days.
You can either pay for the nice campsites inside the reserve, or camp on free BLM land outside the reserve, which is also nice and not far from the park entrance (locations are on the map).
There are nice wells with manual pumps within the park at Bath Rock and next to the Breadloaves. You gotta work for your water here, but it’s delicious!
Rock City has a great pizza and is a cozy spot to chill.
You can grab a shower at Tracy’s General Store for around $5, and they even provide a towel (they did last time I was there).
There is some good mountain biking in Southern Idaho, check out MTB Project’s Idaho page for details.
Otherwise, there’s not a lot to do around here outside of hiking and climbing.
By Tyler Wellman, James Huang