If you’re a Coloradan that’s into rock climbing, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Shelf Road. Carving its way alongside a massive wall of cliff climbs through Fourmile Canyon, the sheer number of routes coupled with their variety makes this a mecca for rock climbers far and wide.

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The Shelf Road cliffs. Photo Credit: Stephen Martin.

Shelf Road is home to over 900 well-known climbing routes, with difficulty ratings hitting an expert-level grade of 5.13. One reason this area is so climbing friendly is the high-quality vertical limestone that’s found here.

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The “Crack of Dawn” route on Shelf Road. Photo Credit: Stephen Martin.

The approach to the base of the climbs was originally a stagecoach road, so it’s a bumpy route. You don’t really need a 4WD vehicle, but we’d recommend it.

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The view from Shelf Road. Photo Credit: Stephen Martin.

There are two campgrounds for overnight climbers, including the Banks Campground and Sand Gulch Campground. Sites are first-come, first-served, and fill up quickly. Both also have one group campsite that can accommodate up to 20 people.

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A climber tackles a difficult route on Shelf Road. Photo Credit: Stephen Martin.

Even if you’re not climbing, the area is filled with hiking trails. Note that you can’t mountain bike on these trails, as many people traveling them are carrying lots of climbing gear.

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A climber makes her way up a route in the Shelf Road area. Photo Credit: Stephen Martin.

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