Montezuma's Tower

Page Type
Colorado, United States, North America
El Paso
Sport Climbing
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
6540 ft / 1993 m
4968 Hits
96.51% Score
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Montezuma's Tower
Created On: Nov 18, 2010
Last Edited On: Feb 15, 2012


Montezuma s TowerMontezuma's Tower from north in the Garden of the Gods.
Image by SteveMarr

Primary image courtesy of SP Member Brian C.

Jutting into the sky in western Colorado Springs is Montezuma’s Tower. This narrow fin of red sandstone is beautiful to look at, but even more of a joy to climb. The easiest route on this outcrop is the YDS 5.7 North Ridge route, an airy 1-2 pitch route to a small summit perch. On a nice warm day, you may find yourself waiting in queue for your chance at this route.

From the top of Montezuma’s Tower you can take in views of the entire Garden of the Gods main garden, while Pikes Peak stands guard to the west. Expect a crowd of tourists and walkers to gather as you ascend this dramatic monolith. To have this kind of rock climbing in a city park is one of the joys of living in or visiting Colorado Springs.

Rank: Unranked
Prominence: 80 feet
USGS Quad: Cascade
YDS Class by Easiest Route: 5.7

Rank & Prominence Source: Lists of John

Getting There

Gate RockGate Rock or "North Gateway Rock"
Camerons Cone and Pikes PeakCamerons Cone and Pikes Peak

To reach Garden of the Gods from I-25
• Take Exit #146 (Garden of the Gods Road)
• Go west for 2.5 miles
• Turn Left onto 30th Street
• The Visitor & Nature Center will be on the left (a little over a mile)

The main parking area is in the far northern end of the park. Follow the park road west from the Visitors Center. When it becomes one-way, stay right. The main parking area is the first parking area encountered on your left.

Red Tape

North Ridge routeNorth Ridge Route profile.
Starting up Montezuma s TowerBeginning of North Face route.
Photo by SarahThompson

Garden of the Gods is free to the public. Park hours are as follows:

May 1 - Oct 31 5am - 11pm
Nov 1 - Apr 30 5am - 9pm

Dogs are welcome on a leash 6 feet long or shorter and must be picked up after by their owners.

Garden of the Gods strictly manages climbing activity. In particular:

1. Scrambling is not allowed. You may walk and admire the formations, or use technical rock climbing gear to ascend them, but you may not scramble.
2. Do not climb in Garden of the Gods when the rock is wet. Climbing wet sandstone damages the formations and is dangerous to the climber.
3. All climbers must check in with the visitors center to fill out a free registration form.

Click here for a full set of rules governing climbing in Garden of the Gods (PDF).

Camping & Lodging

Starting the rappelStarting the west face rappel
Climber on North RidgeClimber on North Ridge
The crowd assemblesThe crowd assembles
Montezuma ProfileWest face rappel.
Photo by SteveMarr

There is no camping in Garden of the Gods park.

Rustic car camping and backcountry camping can be found in the adjacent Pike National Forest. Be forewarned that the proximity of this area to the urban I-25 corridor means that crowding can be an issue, especially in the summer, and that unsavory characters are known to frequent this area. Be prepared for heavy ATV use, large crowds, drunkenness and casual firearms usage.

The nearest semi-developed US Forest Service campsites would be in the Rampart Reservoir area.

Meadow Ridge CampgroundThunder Ridge Campground
• 19 campsites
• 9,200 feet elevation
• Season: Generally early May through September
• $15 per night, per site
• Amenities include tables, fire grates, drinking water, latrines, and trash collection
• 21 campsites
• 9,200 feet elevation
• Season: Generally early May through September
• $15 per night, per site
• Amenities include tables, fire grates, drinking water, latrines, and trash collection


Manitou Springs
Nearby Manitou Springs lies at the foot of Ute Pass. This colorful, eclectic town offers a wide range of lodging options including old-style motor cottages and cabins, retro family-run motels, charming B&Bs and modern chain hotels. Shopping and dining are within walking distance of most Manitou lodging.

Colorado Springs
The hotel options in Colorado Springs are virtually limitless. If you are the 5-star luxury type, be sure to check out The Broadmoor.

Weather & Seasons

North Ridge, Pitch 2North Ridge, Pitch 2
Photo by SteveMarr
Northeast from the summitNortheast from the summit

Due to relatively low altitude, Montezuma’s Tower is a reasonable year-round summit objective, weather permitting. Remember not to climb the sandstone following rain or snow. The heat and crowds of the high summer season may make this a less than pleasant place to visit on a weekend from June through August. Winter can be hit or miss here. One weekend brings high winds, frigid temperatures and scouring, driven snow while the next weekend may bring mild temperatures and sunshine.

Zone Forecast for Colorado Springs, CO