DisclaimerI am not a very good climber...yet, I simply want to post this page so that information on this wonderful area will be available to all. I will therefore not be able to post much quality information on the multitude of climbing routes here; just basic information based on my own experiences in the canyon. It is my great hope and expectation that any and all climbers more knowledgeable than me will add information to improve the quality of this page.
Eldorado Canyon Overview
Eldorado Canyon is a small but deep gash between Eldorado Mountain to the south, and South Boulder Peak to the north. Eldorado Canyon is a wonder of natural beauty, but it is most famous for its literally hundreds of world famous rock climbing routes. It is for this reason that this area deserves its own page on SP. This page is part of my ongoing effort to display information on climbing areas of the Front Range, that offer excellent recreation year round, even while the other higher peaks are buried deep beneath winter snows.
Though small, Eldorado Canyon (Eldo), is very intimidating when one gazes up at its steep sandstone walls from the bottom of the canyon. Flocks of climbers come from across the country and the world to climb its storied walls. Climbing history has been made here repeatedly as climbing pioneers have climbed incredible routes and developed cutting edge climbing innovations.
Eldo is incredibly popular year round regardless of the day of the week, and it is not uncommon to see long lines to waiting to climb the most popular routes on any given summer day. This is due to the park's incredibly easy access: twenty minutes from downtown Boulder. Many of these climbers are college students from the nearby university in Boulder who come here for a break from their studies.
However, there are plenty of climbing route to go around, the Eldorado Canyon website on the Colorado State Parks network states that there are more than 500 established routes throughout the park. This is truly amazing for a canyon this small, indeed the entire park covers an area of only a half square mile.
Because the entirety of Eldorado Canyon is contained within the Colorado State Parks system, word about its scenic beauty has gotten around. Rock-climbing is only one part of Eldo's story. This park is popular with families who come here to hike along South Boulder Creek and gaze up at the rock climbers perched precariously on the walls above. There is also a picnic area along the river and hiking trails for all abilities. Finally, in the summer mountain bikers can be spotted on trails throughout the park.
Eldorado Canyon's most famous lines include the Bastille Crack (5.7), Yellow Spur (5.9), Ruper (5.8), and Calypso (5.6). These are only a few of the greatest, but it also means that they will be a lot more crowded. If you don't want to be bothered stick to something more obscure. Information on these and other routes can be found at climbingboulder.com's excellent site on Eldo.
Shirttail Peak Overview
Shirttail Peak is an obscure shoulder on the southern slopes of South Boulder Peak. It is in many way considered to be the summit of Eldorado Canyon and several of the climbing routes on the north side of the canyon top out on the summit of the mountain. Shirttail Peak is the culmination of the famous Redgarden Wall. There are no trails that lead to the summit of Shirttail Peak, and the only way it is usually ever climbed is through the myriad of technical routes in the canyon. There are some non-technical walk up routes to the summit, but these are often used as descents from the technical climbs instead of actual ascent routes. Since I'm not a climber, I have never stood on the summit of Shirttail Peak, but have often admired it from various viewpoints in the canyon, and it is a peak of solitary beauty rising to a singular rocky point over the jumbled rock faces of Eldo. However, Shirttail Peak still remains an obscure peak, and only one aspect of Eldo, and the focus of this page is mostly Eldorado Canyon as a climbing area.
Getting ThereEldorado Canyon is located along Colorado highway 170 fives miles southwest of boulder just outside the town of Eldorado Springs. Colorado highway 170 can be accessed right off of Colorado 93 the Foothills Highway. Colorado 170 is paved till the western end of Eldorado Springs at which point it becomes a dirt road just before entering into the canyon.
Red TapeNo permits are required for day use of the park. The fee for parking is 5$ a day after Labor Day through April 30th, and six dollars between May 1st and Labor Day. The payment of these fees is based on the honor system. Alternately an annual pass can be purchased for 55$ which allows access to all the parks in the Colorado State Parks System.
To protect raptor nesting and roosting sites, the Redgarden Wall is currently closed from "the naked edge" to "the sidetrack" until July 31st or further notice. More information on this closure can be found at this website.
When To ClimbThe beauty of Eldorado Canyon is that it can be climbed year round. In summer it can get to be very hot on the northern side of the canyon, though lower routes can still offer some shade. Climbing in winter is nice because it offers more solitude, however, the rock can become quite slick due to precipitation.
CampingSorry park is for day use only. No camping allowed anywhere in the canyon.
Mountain ConditionsConditions can be checked for the towns of Boulder. Alternately you can contact the park headquarters:
Eldorado Canyon State Park
9 Kneale Road, Box B
Eldorado Springs, CO 80025
(303) 494-3943 (phone)
Hot Springs!The nearby town of Eldorado Springs is home to the Eldorado Springs Pool. This pool, that is heated to temperatures over 100 degrees by water from natural hot springs nearby, is open between Memorial Day and Labor Day seven day a week from 10-6. The cost of entry is 6$ for adults and 4$ for kids and seniors.
I can't think of a better way of ending a day of climbing than by soaking in natural hot springs, to just relax and relieve muscle pains. This is yet another advantage to climbing in this park.
Eldorado Swimming Pool
294 Artesian Drive
Eldorado Springs, CO 80025
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