Located 20 minutes north of Worcester and an hour west of Boston, this crag in Leominster State Forest offers a varied concentration of traditional rock climbing routes within a reasonable drive of many Eastern and Central Massachusetts climbers. Facing east-southeast and situated on a hillside, many of Crow Hill's cracks and faces often seep longer and wetter than other New England areas. The climbing season at Crow Hill begins in March, if it's a dry winter, or as late as June, if it's a wet spring.
The cliff's faces and features are comprised of gneiss, offering a grainy texture unique from the typical Northeast trad haunts (i.e. Cathedral, Gunks). A handful of easier routes at the north and south ends (called Practice Face and End Crags, respectively) are often busy. The crag's 5.8s are among the best in The Commonwealth, including Intertwine, Tarzan, and Diagonal, but the local classic is Cromagnon, a 5.10 crack that teaches toproping newbies how to jam, and how to swing.
The Midstate Trail runs along the clifftop, and locals residents of the Fitchburg area frequently hike and scramble around the crag, so brain buckets, vigilance, and common sense are wise complements to your rack, rope, and bug dope.
A climbing permit (free) [used to be] required of each climber by the state forest to legally climb at Crow. [A climber used to] obtain this at the park HQ prior to climbing, and renew annually, by showing harnesses and ropes to a ranger. Now it is climb at your own risk.
From Route 2, take the Route 31 exit (west of Fitchburg) and travel south. A couple miles past the hotel and utility facility, the park headquarters appear on the right. Farther down the road, pass a pond with swimming area (comfort facilities, seasonal, $5 per car to park and swim). From the roadside pond parking area (not always open), a trail climbs perpendicular to the road, meeting the cliff base in 5 minutes.
A more reliable (typically prefered) parking situation is available about 1/4 mile further south on the right (dirt lot, aka "Climber's Lot"). From this lot, walk up the (closed to autos) gravel road about 10 minutes. From the road's terminus, a trail climbs through a break in an old stone wall to a fork, where signs offer guidance to the top of crag (via End Crags, left) or base of crag (right).
L->R of the walls
Map of Leominster Trails
Leominster trail maps.
32 Total Routes
['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',8],['2 Stars',14],['1 Star',8],['Bomb',0]
Browse More Classics in Crow Hill
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Crow Hill:
Featured Route For Crow Hill
Cro-Magnon 5.10 6b 20 VII- E2 5b MA
: Leominster Area
: ... : Fisherman's Wall
Awesome and pumpy, this is the inviting, vertical hand crack that starts up the tallest portion of the wall but arches left to end the journey early. The start is guarded by a steep boulder problem without pro leading to a pod with a shiny silver bolt on what looks like a chockstone about 15 feet up. There are three variations to this start, but most people opt to enter from the right on big, chalked holds. After clipping the bolt (gear can easily substitute), move up on a few slopey holds be...[more] Browse More Classics in MA
Sep 1, 2011
The free climbing permit appears to no longer be necessary for climbing at Crow Hill. Park staff told us yesterday (August 31,2011) that it is now simply "climb at your own risk."
From: Hopkinton, MA
Nov 23, 2012
Looks like I left some gear on Lizard head. I think a number 1 BD stopper with an oval wire gate on it, and a number 8 I believe, the orangeish one. Would be great to get it back.
May 20, 2013
Found some gear at the anchor for Intertwine. Respond with description, and I'd be happy to get it back to you.
From: Townsend, MA
May 29, 2013
Mike I messaged you about the gear, but if you didn't see that it was two DMM lockers, Mammut pear, some blue cord. Let me know if that's what you found.
|By Brett Maguire|
Jun 12, 2013
Gear happily retrieved from Mike. Three cheers for climbers being awesome people.
|By Andrew Bennett|
Oct 12, 2013
Total shot in the dark. I left a yellow number 2 OP link cam in the crack by greens corner last night. If anyone finds it there is a six pack in it for you.