Rock Climbing in Rifle, Colorado
Words by Joda Hankins of Rifle Climbing Guides
The beautiful canyon of Rifle Mountain Park has long drawn crowds looking to escape the heat of the lower plains and enjoy the adventure in the picturesque setting of this rugged place. Modern climbing was introduced to the area in the mid 1980’s, and since then the number of established climbing routes has surpassed 400, with some routes reaching lengths of 40 meters.
Because of the quality and quantity of concentrated climbing, along with the convenient access, the limestone walls of Rifle Mountain Park began to gain international attention in the late 1990’s and is still considered one of the best sport climbing destinations in the world.
With its tight walls, cool creek, and an elevation of 6,500ft near the Flat Tops Wilderness, the canyon supports year-round climbing and provides sun and shade, no matter the season. Late spring and summer see the largest crowds as travelers commonly take advantage of the city-run camp sites located throughout the canyon, while fall offers cooler temperatures and a beautiful climbing setting as the leaves begin to change. With routes ranging from the beginner-friendly level of 5.7, as well as encompassing some of the hardest grades in the country, climbing in Rifle is truly open to anyone looking to experience the Rockies in an awesome and adventurous way!
Rifle Climbing Guides, located in downtown Rifle offers year-round guiding that includes instruction and equipment. If you’re not feeling ready to take on the heights of climbing, follow the Koper’s trail as it winds beneath the western walls of the canyon and enjoy one of the picnic locations; it’s a beautiful place that you won’t soon forget!