Golden, Colorado is one of the premier rock climbing destinations near Denver and the Front Range. With over six huge climbing areas close by - literally encompassing thousands of routes - it can be hard to choose where to climb in Golden.
Heck, sometimes we even have too many choices! This whole lifetime of climbing nearby is enough to make somebody spoiled!
We are going to let the cat out of the bag and share our five favorite rock climbing areas and routes near Golden!
Our Five Favorite Rock Climbing Areas in Golden Are:
The Quarry Wall, North Table Mountain
If you're looking for some of the best trad climbing in Golden, then this is the spot for you!
Located just east on the mesa of the ever popular Brown Cloud Rocks area, the Quarry Wall provides some of the best Indian Creek style splitters near Denver.
This is a great area to work on harder trad lines, especially 5.11 and harder. Classic routes here include Bonecrusher (5.12) and Silver Bullet (5.11).
There are some really good warmup routes here so don't be fooled by the tougher grades. You can even walk to the top and set topropes on most of the classics with a longer static line.
The Quarry Wall is a great winter time or early morning crag that faces south and sees a ton of sun. Watch for rattlesnakes if you venture up here during the summer months.
The Mission Wall, Clear Creek Canyon
Not all of Clear Creek is crowded...sshh...don't tell anyone!
The Mission Wall sits just across the river from the Wall of the 90's, one of the most crowded crags in the canyon, yet sees relatively little traffic. There are large pegmatite bands that run across this wall and make you feel like you're climbing in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison!
This is a great summertime crag because it faces north and sits in the shade for a good part of the day. Most routes here are four pitches in length and a 60 meter rope works wonders.
Come prepared with a small rack for most of these routes as the bolts are not as close together as many other places in Clear Creek. You can walk off the top of this wall in less time than it takes to rappel the route you climbed.
Take the steel tyrollean traverse across the river and get geared up for some stellar multipitch climbing. After running a few laps here, it's even possible to walk downstream and get some great single pitch cragging at Punk Rock and Irock.
Mt. Thorodin, Golden Gate Canyon State Park
Like climbing off the beaten path? Golden Gate Canyon State Park is home to many great sport routes, more adventurous trad routes, and some long and airy ridge scrambles.
Mt. Thorodin is one of the high points of Golden Gate Canyon and has amazing views of the mountains to the west. The climbing here is adventurous and you should come prepared with a full set of skills to get up and down safely.
Definitely bring a trad rack with a few extra pieces you don't mind leaving behind to beef up anchors. Don't forget extra cordellette and quicklinks to leave behind!
In the fall, you can even hike back along the Raccoon Trail for some incredible fall colors.
Tiers of Zion, Clear Creek Canyon/Lookout Mountain
Nestled high above the river, the Tiers of Zion is a unique area within Clear Creek Canyon. Tucked on the north aspect of Lookout Mountain, the Tiers (both upper and lower) are great summertime crags without all the road noise that many other popular crags in the canyon have.
There are great single and multipitch routes here that are very tightly bolted and make for great first leads, especially on the lower tier. Bring a small trad rack to climb Belay Brothers Bounce Back...you won't be disappointed!
There has also been quite a bit of new development in this area, especially to the west of the main crag. This being said, some of the hangers spin and there could be some loose rock here and there.
Interested in a trip? You can find more info about two of our most popular trips to the Tiers of Zion HERE.
Cynical Pinnacle, South Platte
Deep in the South Platte lies a staggering number of granite domes and spires that beckon to be climbed!
The Cynical Pinnacle is home to a few of the Colorado Classic routes as well as many Front Range test pieces. The hike up to the base is pretty burly and you'll wish you didn't eat bacon for breakfast!
Just uphill to the left is the Sunshine wall if you are looking to crag. Gonzo's Lament to Rip Van Winkle is a great linkup on this wall.
This area is closed for birds of prey from February 1st to July 31st every year.
And finally...our absolute favorite climbing routes in Golden:
*Nice Ride, 5.10b. Clear Creek Canyon. This is without doubt one of the finest multipitch climbs in Clear Creek Canyon. Four stellar pitches of steep climbing will keep you engaged the entire time. The climbing is stiffer than the guide book says. Make sure to bring cams from .5 to 2 to protect the wild roof traverse. The last pitch of Wild Child (5.11a) makes for a phenomenal finish to this climb.
*Ugly Stick, 5.10b. North Table Mountain. Easily one of the best routes at North Table Mountain! Even though the rock is slightly rotten at the top, this classic route will get your heart pumping right off the ground. Grab a 70m rope and 16 quickdraws and go climb this rig!
*Frank's Wild Years, 5.11. North Table Mountain. What's better than pumpy finger cracks?! The Quarry Wall hosts a large selection of some of the finest crack climbing in Golden and the Front Range. Bring all the small gear, and give this thing a burn...you won't be disappointed! Not feeling up to leading? You can easily set a toprope on this by walking around to the east.
*Black Gold to Playin' Hooky, 5.8. Clear Creek Canyon. This is a must do link up on the Creekside wall in Clear Creek Canyon. Climb Black Gold (and skip the weird, awkward move of Solid Gold) until you can link back up with Playin' Hooky. The climbing here is stupendous and shouldn't be missed. Take care as there is some loose rock on ledges higher up. Try to keep the pitches shorter so you can communicate with your partner over the road and river noise. Need a partner for this one?
Golden has so much great rock climbing! Whether you like plugging cams, clipping bolts, or bouldering, there's a spot here for you. Must see areas include the Quarry Wall on North Table Mountain and the Mission Wall in Clear Creek Canyon. Get out and enjoy the summer find some new favorite spots to rock climb in Golden!
Updated for Freshness on April 25, 2022