Wall Street is an immense 500’ high Wingate sandstone cliff group located 10 minutes west of Moab across from the entrance to Arches National Park on Utah Highway 279 (aka Potash Road). It is part of the Colorado Riverway Recreation Area managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Moab field office (which oversees almost six million acres) . Wall Street is the “drive thru” experience of rock climbing. On the south side you have the Colorado River and on the north side you have a campsite and many pull outs along different climbing walls. In all of my travels I have never seen climbing with such quick access. You just pull off the road and do a route, belay right from your vehicle, continue along and do another one. Have your cooler, radio, dog and kitchen sink right with you.
Wall Street is comprised of the higher quality Wingate sandstone. Its cracks are much more dependable than most of the rock I have climbed on in Utah National Parks. The walls face east and therefore are shaded during the heat of the day, an important feature during summers in Moab. They are coated with the “desert varnish” (thick coating of iron and manganese) I have mentioned with Island in the Sky in Snow Canyon State Park north of St. George, UT.
The over 100 established routes on the one mile stretch of Wall Street offer some of the most diverse rock climbing found on any of my adventures, including friction smears, pockets, huecos, nipples, flakes, in-cuts, roofs, face climbs with edges and corners, etc. Most of the routes are single pitch with rappel anchors. They vary in terms of requiring gear for placement or being protected. The routes range from 5.5 – 5.12+ with a ton of 5.10’s and 5.11’s.
The Matheson Wetlands Preserve, located just a half-mile from Moab, provides some of the best wetlands wildlife watching in Utah. It is the only major wetland along the Colorado River in Utah. It is a critical 'steppingstone' for migrating waterfowl, raptors and shorebirds.
Wall Street is 10 minutes west of Moab. Head north out of Moab on US Hwy 191. Take a left on Utah 279 (aka Potash Road). Drive on Utah 279 for several miles and you will find yourself alongside the Colorado River. The Jaycee Campground is 3.75 miles from US Hwy 191 and the first routes of Wall Street are 4.4 miles.
There are no climbing restrictions or permit requirements for Wall Street. What is the most dangerous aspect of climbing at Wall Street? The Potash mine trucks that go whizzing by at abnormal speeds. We have camped at the Jaycee Campground and noticed that they can run all hours of the night.
Rappel versus lowering whenever you get a chance to avoid producing rope grooves in the delicate sandstone. Like all southern Utah climbing, sandstone colored chalk is preferred if not required. Routes were originally put up near the petroglyphs at the south end, but of course those routes are now off limits. There is a tendency for poison ivy growth at the base of the walls.
Best eats and coffee, hands down, is the organic EklectiCafe at 352 North Main, Moab.
When To Climb
The average high in July is 98F. The average high in January is 41F. Moab is at 4000’+/- therefore the winter rock climbing can be a touch on the cold side compared to southwestern Utah. Climbing in the middle of the day during the summer in southern Utah is not recommended. Carry plenty of water regardless. Afternoon thunderstorms are common from mid-July through mid-September. Storms may produce waterfalls as well as flash floods. Sandstone is weak when wet, so avoid climbing in damp areas or right after a rain.
The Jaycee Campground located at the east end of Wall Street is maintained by BLM’s Moab field office. We have stayed here and it is a great location. You have a pit toilet serving 7 sites as well as running natural water. The water is not potable, but pretty damn warm in October for washing your face and feet. It runs off the back cliffs (where it picks up heat) and they have actually made a little natural wash area for the campers to use it.
The Jaycee Campground was self pay when we were there in 2005 at $10 per night. It does not appear to be heavily used. We were the only party using the site in October during great weather. The Portal Hiking Trail starts at the campground and is a scenic trek. We did a moonlit hike on it and it is over 10K round trip as I recall. It takes you to a view point area overlooking Moab and Arches National Park.