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Things To Do

Boulder Canyon is one of Colorado’s most popular climbing destinations, with over 100 named crags and a couple thousand established routes. The deep canyon runs 14 miles west from Boulder to Nederland. The granite domes, cliffs, and buttresses lining the steep canyon slopes offer excellent traditional, sport, and toprope routes from one to four pitches long. Most of the popular climbing sectors are easily reached from roadside parking areas, making access quick and easy. The canyon’s many cliffs also make it simple to find sunny venues in winter and shaded cliffs in summer. Boulder Canyon offers routes for climbers of all abilities, from easy scrambles and well-protected slabs to steep cracks and overhanging bolted lines.

Pro Tips

  • Boulder Canyon’s crags are reached from CO 119, a two-lane highway that twists west from Boulder. Drive west from downtown Boulder on Canyon Boulevard, which turns into CO 199 at the canyon entrance. Park at numerous pullouts along the highway to access trails to cliffs.
  • Recommended cliffs in Boulder Canyon include: The Dome, Cob Rock, Happy Hour Crag, Plotinus Wall, Tonnere Crag, Bell Buttress, Avalon, Animal World, The Boulderado, Black Widow Slab, Coney Island, Castle Rock, and the Sport Park.
  • Happy Hour Crag and The Boulderado are the two best cliffs for toprope climbing. Happy Hour Crag, 6.8 miles up the canyon, offers lots of good moderate routes with both gear and tree anchors on the cliff top. It’s popular on weekends and summer evenings. The Boulderado is a sunny cliff at 8.8 miles from the canyon entrance. It has a good selection of face and crack climbs from 5.3 to 5.8.
  • Boulder is climber-central for Colorado with thousands of routes of all grades on hundreds of crags. While Boulder Canyon has plenty to keep you amused, remember to check out the fabulous slab routes on The Flatirons and the face routes in Eldorado Canyon State Park. Good bouldering is on Flagstaff Mountain.

Recommended season(s): Year-round.

—Stewart M. Green

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