Rock Climbing and Canyoneering Moab
Photo courtesy of Red River Adventures
Personal Safety | Minimum Impact | Bouldering | Canyoneering | Climbing
With Children | Camping | The National Parks
Please be familiar with regulations and exceptions.
Caution: Extreme weather, becoming lost, and falls are among the possible mishaps. Anticipate these dangers with thorough planning and realistic evaluation of abilities and personal limits.
- Heat and Sun – Protection from the desert and heat related illnesses can be countered by covering up skin to prevent sunburn and drinking water to prevent dehydration. Muscle cramps could be a sign to drink more water or replenish electrolytes, not just muscle fatigue from climbing. Bring more water than is normally used. To stay hydrated, drink before feeling thirsty. In hot months, avoid direct sun as much as possible.
- Lightning – The southwest averages 8-10 inches of rainfall a year, however, sometimes that precipitation is torrential and violent. Since lighting hits high points to ground itself climbers should be watchful of weather to avoid this dangerous situation. To learn more visit lightningsafety.com. Also, recognize the signals of flooding so you can reach high ground to get out of canyons.
- Gear – Know the condition of your equipment, have the skill to use that specialized equipment and replace damaged items. Cam placement in sandstone is tricky. Moab has a number of shops with climbing gear to purchase. For remote access to climbs, have maps, compass and GPS units in working order and the skills to use them. Do not rely on GPS units only. Be aware of your surroundings and have the ability to travel safely.
- Travel –Leave a general itinerary and include a contingency plan with one or more people. Include trailheads, exit points, if not a map, the names of the maps with grid coordinates, and the phone numbers of the destination’s organizations like land managers - National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management or Sheriff Department to activate Search and Rescue (if it comes to that). Get permits if required for the climbing activity or resulting camping required for more remote access to climbs. Cell phone service is not dependable. Consider utilizing a personal locator beacon like The SPOT Satellite messenger, DeLorme Inreach, or SARLink device to call for help in an emergency situation. However, do not depend, solely on this technology.
Minimum Impact Practices
Water in the backcountry is scarce and to be protected. Leave potholes undisturbed. Camping 300 feet from water enables wildlife access. Maintain distance away from wildlife. Be quiet around wildlife; keep pets and children under control.
Pets are not allowed in the National Park backcountry. Pets may accompany you on Bureau of Land Management lands. For the safety of your pet (there are many shear drop-offs in Canyon Country) and other hikers, pets should be kept under verbal control at all times. For heavily trafficked areas, please pack out pet waste.
Admire ruins, artifacts, historic sites from a distance. Do not touch. Tread lightly.
Marking up stone surfaces is prohibited and unlawful.
Travel on designated roads. Walk on established trails, on rock or in washes. Avoid disturbing vegetation.
Pack out your trash. Clean up after less thoughtful users. Use a toilet system that is washable and reusable, necessarily promoting sanitary transfer to sewage treatment facilities, or a toilet EPA approved for disposal in landfills designated for human waste (for example, wag bags). It is prohibited to empty theses toilets and wag bags into vault or flush toilets.
Gathering firewood for campfires is prohibited. Campfires are prohibited except in pre-existing fire rings or utilizing an accepted fire pan system comprised of a durable, metal fire pan at least 12-inches wide, with at least a 1.5-inch lip around its outer edge and sufficient to contain fire and remains. Cold coals are to be packed out as trash. Fire blankets under fire pans are recommended to facilitate total ash removal. The desert undergoes fire bans seasonally. Phone 435-259-8825 for an update.
Utilize sandstone colored chalk. Or use toothbrushes or Metolius cleaning brushes (no metal brushes, of course!) and clean holds after the climb or bouldering. Consider not using chalk at all. Using brushes can alter existing holds on this fragile sandstone.
Climbing the day after a rain deteriorates the rock. It may take more than two days to dry. Climb when the rock is completely dry.
Guidebooks on the Moab area can be purchased at Gearheads, Back of Beyond Books, Pagan (Climber) Mountaineering, and the Moab Information Center stores in Moab or online.
- Bouldering across Hwy 128 from Big Bend Campground has been established for visitors with the appropriate gear.
- Bouldering along the Moab Canyon Pathway north of Arches National Park entrance is park property and prohibited.
Map courtesy of Sharp End Publishing
Hire a local guide to expedite an introduction to Moab’s canyoneering areas.A complete list can be found on our Guides & Outfitters page.
Technical, but what Canyoneering route isn’t?
45 minute drive from Moab
6 rappels (120’, 70’, 60’, 40’, 20’, 200’); 6 miles hiking
Located along the Longs Canyon Road off of Hwy 313
2 rappels (95’ and 120’); 3.5 miles hiking
10 minute drive from Moab
Located off of the Sandflats Road
Unfamiliar with Moab?
Hire a local climb guide to expedite an introduction to area routes. A complete list can be found on our Guides & Outfitters page.
On your Own
Located along Hwy 279
River Road Dihedrals
Located along Hwy 128
Proficiency is paramount supervising children in climbing. Do not expect to climb at adult limits with children. Moab has terrific climbing companies and their familiarity with the region is worth the investment.
Located on Hwy 279 in the Wall Street vicinity.
Ice Cream Parlor
Located on Kane Springs Road
Slabs on Hwy 313
Located 2 miles from Hwy 191 on Hwy 313
Two anchors are set 80 ft up and can be walked to from the left.
Camping Near Climbing Areas
Bureau of Land Management sites Jaycee Park and Williams Bottom Campgrounds are close by on Hwy 279.
River Road Dihedrals
Bureau of Land Management sites Goose Island and Granstaff campgrounds are close by on Hwy 128.
The National Parks
Arches National Park
Canyoneering and rock climbing activities in Arches National Park will be actively managed and monitored according to the “August 2013 resulting Climbing and Canyoneering Management Plan”. It is the responsibility of the visitor to be aware of new regulations and updated Superintendent compendiums.
While establishment of new routes will be allowed, installation of new fixed gear on new and existing routes will require a free special use permit. In order to minimize resource impacts, the park will actively seek input and assistance from the climbing and canyoneering community in assessing the suitability and quality of new fixed gear placement proposals, and replacement of existing fixed gear.
For details about group limits, obtaining required permits and regulations use the following links.
Canyonlands National Park
Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park has the best quality rock and some established climbing routes. Permits are only required when staying overnight in the backcountry.
Climbing is prohibited into cultural resources, on arches or natural bridges of Canyonlands or the Orange Cliffs Unit adjacent to the MAZE District of Canyonlands. No altering rock by any means. Power tools are prohibited. Colored or Non Marking Chalk is required in the Parks. Be familiar with Regulations and exceptions.