Horseshoe Canyon Ranch (HCR) is a relatively new climbing area in the heart of the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. Limestone crags are the attraction to this sport climb Mecca where you can challenge yourself on over 250 routes from 5.5 to 5.13d. Most of the routes are sport (bolted), but there are a few nice cracks, trad lines, and bouldering. The thing that people most like about HCR is that it is very well bolted with few run-out routes. In fact, some think that it is over-bolted. However, remember most people who climb at HCR are from Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma where the routes are somewhat sporty and run-out, so a route with a lot of bolts is somewhat of a novelty. Anyway, along with plenty of harder routes, Horseshoe has over 60 moderate (5.8 or less) lines which offer the beginning leader an outstanding opportunity to gain confidence.
Top-roping is allowed; however, routes must be led first in order to set up the top-rope. Walking along the top rims of the cliffs is not allowed. Many of the route's top-rope anchors are fixed just below the rim anyway and not inaccessible from the tops of the cliffs. Please do not run your top-rope directly through the anchor rings. Instead, use opposing locking carabiners attached to the rings to set up your top-rope.
The climbing areas are located within the property of the Horseshoe Canyon Guest Ranch which is a full service dude ranch offering horseback riding, frisbie golf, accomodations, and other recreational opportunities.
Horseshoe Canyon is located in northwest Arkansas. From the south via Interstate 40, drive 65 miles north on state highway 7 to the little town of Jasper. Drive through Jasper to the northeast side of town. Immediately after the bridge over the Buffalo River, turn left (west) on state highway 74. At the highway 74 turnoff, you will also see a green sign that says "Ponca" which indicates a left turn. Drive the twisty highway 74 for 7.4 miles until reaching the Horseshoe Canyon Ranch sign.
From the north or west, the goal is to get to the little town of Ponca, Arkansas via either highway 74 or highway 43. Once at Ponca, go east on highway 74 for approximately 6.5 miles until reaching the Horseshoe Canyon sign.
At the sign, turn south on a dirt road for about 3/4 mile until reaching a gate. This gate is usually closed (but not locked) to keep the livestock in, so please close the gate after you pass through. After the gate, go downhill for a half mile until reaching the Trading Post. All climbers must check in at the Trading Post.
Note: The dirt road leading into Horseshoe Canyon can get very muddy. It is also somewhat steep in places. Passenger cars normally do not have any trouble negotiating the road, but beware of steep and muddy sections after heavy rain.
The climbing areas are very close to the camping and parking and require only a 5-10 minute approach. As you arrive at HCR, you will see the bluffs rising above the valley to the east and west. There are 16 climbing areas with over 250 routes.
The more popular areas are: North Forty, Confederate Cracks, Prophecy Wall, Goat Cave, Land of the Lost, Middle East, and Roman Wall. Click on the map to get a nice overview of the climbing areas.
Click this map to enlarge.
Here is the Horseshoe Canyon Climbing website: www.climbhcr.com
Guiding is also available at: www.GoHCR.com
Horseshoe Canyon is on private property. A $5.00 per day per person is payable at the Trading Post. There is a sign-in sheet and money drop box on the Trading Post porch if the Trading Post is closed. A liability waiver must be filled out and signed for all first-time climbers.
Private property surrounds Horseshoe Canyon and is off limits to climbers (or anyone else).
Please do not disturb the livestock (horses, cattle, goats) on the property.