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Cow Creek Canyon / McGraw Ranch trailhead

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Pulpit Rock Massif 
Rabbit Ears Rock 
Sheep Mountain Rock 

Cow Creek Canyon / McGraw Ranch trailhead 


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Location: 40.4306, -105.5007 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Kurt Johnson on Dec 21, 2001
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Pulpit Rock, per RMNP folks.

This may be some of ...
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Description 

Cow Creek Canyon is the valley directly north of and parallel to Lumpy Ridge which offers a more secluded alternative to other more popular crags in the Estes area. While the trail to Bridalveil Falls (3 1/2 miles up the Valley) sees quite a bit of traffic, hardy anyone comes here to climb, and odds are you'll be the only party on the canyon's main crag - Sheep Mountain Rock. Two other less notable formations offer climbing here: Rabbit Ears Rock and Kellog's Crag, which hold less than a handful of one-pitch routes each. The climbing here is similar to that found on Lumpy but with much less rock and therefore only a few exceptional routes, but it's still a worthy endeavor for those looking for something new in a beautiful and secluded setting.


Getting There 

From Estes Park, drive down Devil's Gulch road past Lumpy Ridge as if you're heading to Glen Haven. After about 4 1/2 miles at a major right-hand curve in the road, turn left onto a dirt road marked "McGraw Ranch Rd." and follow it to the old McGraw Ranch (which incidently sits below a large crag [Pulpit Rock, according to RMNP folks] whose name or climbing history I've never heard anyone discuss) which is now owned and being renovated by the Park Service. Parking is limited to the left side of the road just before the ranch, and on busy summer days can get a bit crowded. Hike west along the dirt road that runs through the ranch (although with the current renovation, there might be signs directing you to a detour) and follow it up the valley as if you're heading towards Bridalveil Falls where it eventually turns into a trail. In the distance you'll be able to see the eastern flank of Sheep Mountain Rock, located on the north side of the canyon about 2 miles up the trail. The other 2 crags are found on the the south side of the canyon at 1.5 and 2.3 miles respectively.


Cell phone reception 

From some checking, it seems you can get a Verizon signal here, but you can't get a AT&T or Cricket signal here.


Climbing Season


43 Total Routes


['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',8],['2 Stars',21],['1 Star',11],['Bomb',1]
['<=5.6',3],['5.7',7],['5.8',15],['5.9',3],['5.10',12],['5.11',3],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Cow Creek Canyon / McGraw Ranch trailhead:
Gimmerton Corner   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 3 pitches, 350'   Sheep Mountain Rock
Browse More Classics in Cow Creek Canyon / McGraw Ranch trailhead

Featured Route For Cow Creek Canyon / McGraw Ranch trailhead
Topo.

Anatomically Incorrect 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a CO : Estes Park Valley : ... : Pulpit Rock
This is a good line with a moderate runout in one section in the middle. It has some neat patina'ed rock in that section.Start up and around to the left of Shroom Groove, Tiptoe Through The Tulips, etc. by maybe 100 feet. Start in an obvious crack (shared with Wight Wing Wadicals that goes up to a tree ~20 feet up. Continue up to a slanting ledge. Move left of the offwidth bulge onto nice knobs and edges. This line stays left to gain a hanging crack. Continue up to the ...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Local Information for Cow Creek Canyon / McGraw Ranch trailhead
Photos of Cow Creek Canyon / McGraw Ranch trailhead Slideshow Add Photo
Interesting rock. <br /> <br />One drainage further north.
Interesting rock.

One drainage further north.
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By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
Dec 22, 2001

The hike to Sheep Mountain Rock is long and annoying enough that it's a good idea to try to do a least a couple of routes (all the routes are only about 2 and 1/2 pitches). Since the routes see very little traffic, guidebook descriptions should be taken with several grains of salt, as we found out. A nice, uncrowded place to climb though. Sheep Mt. is closed much of the year for raptor nesting.