Rock Climbing

rock climber with red helmet is perched in red sandstone crack, reaching up with right hand
Climber in sandstone crack

Sally Bellacqua

The sandstone cliffs and spires of Colorado National Monument attract hundreds of climbers a year. Most routes in the park require "traditional" climbing techniques. The installation of new permanent hardware is prohibited. Please be respectful of this pristine environment, and adhere to the park's climbing regulations (110KB PDF).


Recreational Climbing Regulations

Climbing is allowed in Colorado National Monument; however, the following areas and exposures are closed to recreational rock climbing:

  • Any exposure above any tunnel portal, or prehistoric rock-art site.
  • The Balanced Rock formation in Fruita Canyon.
  • The Mushroom Rock formation below the northwestern rim of Monument Mesa.
  • Any area above exposed surfaces to Rim Rock Drive or overlooks.
  • Any area which has the potential to disturb wildlife activity, such as, but not limited to, feeding, mating or nesting sites.
  • Any areas on or adjacent to archeological sites, historic structures, or paleontological resources.

Determination: These closures will protect visitors, wildlife, and vehicles from falling objects; protect sensitive and irreplaceable archeological resources and prevent surface scaring or other disturbances of delicate or highly visible features. They will protect the nesting behavior and reproductive success of Peregrine Falcons, other raptors, and bats.

The following restrictions also apply to all recreational climbing activities within Colorado National Monument:

  • No new permanent climbing hardware may be installed in any location. If an existing bolt or other hardware item is unsafe, it may be replaced with brown or black hardware following consultation with park management. This limits climbing to existing routes or new routes not requiring placement of fixed anchors.
  • Power drills, defined as all rotary drills, hammer drills, fastener-guns, and related devices that rely upon batteries, explosive charges or chemical propellants for power, are prohibited unless approved by a permit.
  • Hammers may not be used except to replace belay and rappel anchors and bolts on existing routes or for emergency self-rescue.
  • Software (webbing, accessory cord, etc.) that is left in place shall match the rock surface in color.
  • Fixed ropes may not be left in place for more than 24 hours unless approved by the Superintendent. Fixed ropes left more than 24 hours shall be considered “abandoned property” and removed.
  • Physically altering of rock faces, i.e. chiseling new holds, is prohibited.
  • The intentional removal of lichen or plants from rock is prohibited.
  • Camping on the summit of Independence Monument is prohibited.
  • Climbing chalk must be of a color that blends in with the native rock.
  • Adhesives are prohibited on all rock surfaces.

Determination: These restrictions, provide for quiet and tranquil visits and protect the aesthetic appearance and ecological integrity of mineral and plant resources.

Climbing Guide Services

The following guides are approved to operate within Colorado National Monument. Contact these businesses directly to make trip arrangements.


Last updated: December 6, 2023

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Mailing Address:

1750 Rim Rock Drive
Fruita, CO 81521


970 858-2800

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