Photo of the Tower itself.
Beautiful sport climbing on amazing clastic flow (or welded tuff, I am not sure, see the below comment!). In my opinion, this is the best sport climbing in New Mexico. Note that the guidebook that exists for this area is certainly worth the purchase, it has great topos and directions to the climbs and areas.
Keeping Enchanted Tower Clean: PACK OUT YOUR POO!
This is an important topic that is worthy of discussion with more climbers visiting enchanted tower. The area surrounding enchanted tower is a beautiful one and I'm sure everyone agrees, we would like to keep it that way.
An ever increaing amount of human waste is being found surrounding the camping area and even at the base of the crags (disgusting!). The idea of a pit toilet has been discussed. However, for various reasons, it sounds as if this is currently not an option.
The use of Wag Bags or RestStop2 bags are an ideal solution! Or, and alternative might be a bucket with a lid and plastic kitchen garbage bags. Put the bags in the bucket like you would a regular garbage bin, do your business in the bag, tie it up and put the lid on. You can even add litter or some other liquid absorbing media.
Used Wag Bags or RestStop2 bags can be disposed of with regular trash, such as a dumpster as you pass through Datil on your way back to Albuquerque.
For more on this, please see the discussion below or here:
Enchanted Tower: Are we our own worst enemy?
For many years climbers enjoyed privileged short and easy access to Thompson Canyon and the Enchanted Tower via a crossing through a private ranch south of the Tower. Unfortunately, continued abuse of this privileged access by both climbers and other land users forced the ranch caretakers to close this access. As of April 2013 the standard access to the Tower is via what used to be known as the "alternative" access. The directions here reflect this new standard.
Access to the Enchanted Tower is via a long, rough road through Thompson Canyon/Davenport Lookout. High clearance highly recommended. The following directions are provided by Jason Halladay, May 2013.
From the intersection of Highway 60 and Highway 12 in Datil, NM, drive 9 miles west on Highway 60 to a signed turn at the dirt Forest Road 6. Turn right on Forest Road 6 and drive 2.8 miles north on FR6, past the now-defunct Mojave Academy buildings, to Forest Road 59. To this point the road is good dirt road. Turn right on FR 59.
The road quickly gets steeper and rougher as it ascends to the Davenport Lookout. Just before the Davenport Lookout, below a large tower, take the road to the right that quickly descends into Thompson Canyon and turns into Thompson Canyon Road. The distance from FR6 to Thompson Canyon Road is 2.9 miles.
Continue on the occasionally-rough Thompson Canyon Road, past The Land Beyond, for 4.5 miles to The Enchanted Tower area.
From Highway 60 this approach takes 45 to 60 minutes. High clearance is highly recommended. A Subaru Outback or similar will do OK with careful driving.
Previous, privileged access that is no longer open:
This information is left here for historical purposes. As of April 2013 this access is no longer a viable option. Please do not attempt to use this access and further damage the reputation of climbers. This access was lost due to many issues including:
- Parking on the private land blocking the road maintenance equipment
- Littering and/or throwing lit cigarette butts onto the grass
- Breaking down or otherwise seeking assistance from the ranch caretaker at late hours
- Accessing forest land during Stage III fire restrictions
- Shooting at cattle and cutting fences
- Improper disposal of human waste
- Wear on the road due to excessive driving speeds on ranch land
- Arriving after dark despite sign clearly stating no entry after dark
Access to Enchanted Tower via the dirt road off HW 60 is granted by the ranch manager and can be revoked! Please be courteous:
PRIVATE ROAD RESTRICTIONS
This road is private property for the next 1.5 miles. Please respect the restrictions below. If you do not, permission to use the road will likely be revoked.
Timing - This road is closed for through traffic at all the following times:
- [From 1 September to 30 January]
- All public holidays (including adjacent Mondays and Fridays); and
- The owner may temporarily close it at other times. Please respect temporary signs.
Use of road – When using the private road:
- You do so at your own risk. It is not maintained and, for example, is unsuitable for passenger cars.
- No RVs or other heavy vehicles are permitted.
- Leave gates as you find them (open or closed).
- [Remove all waste, including human waste].
If going from Albuquerque, head South on I-25 to Socorro, NM. From there go west on Highway 60 for about about 1 hour. Pass through the town of Datil, continue 5.3 miles (and 0.9 miles past mile marker 73), and turn right past the guardrail.
Go on a dirt road, through the gate, and head past a field to your right and the slope of a mountain on your left.
Continue down the dirt road towards the ranch house, and turn left at the metal gate just before the ranch house. Sign in there. After entering the gate, drive on the dirt road for about ten minutes. The tower will be obvious. There is camping on the left and a day lot to your right, in front of the tower. Out of courtesy to those who are camping, please park in the day lot if you are day tripping.
East to West, or right to left as you see them from the road.
- The Giants Molars
- Frog Prince: Many good routes from 5.10b to 5.HARD
- Rapunzel Wall: Nice beginners wall. This and Mother Goose wall are great for beginning leaders. Bolts can be a bit high and the cruxes are at the start.
- The Enchanted Tower: The namesake of the place; beautiful. Routes from 5.11b to 5.13a.
- Humpty Dumpty Wall
- Sleeping Beauty Wall: Nice selection of 10s and 11s.
- Captain Hook's Grotto
- Midnight Pumpkin Wall
- Ugly Duckling Boulder
- Pogue's Cave Area: A number of great 10s and 11s.
- Mother Goose Wall: Largest selection of beginner routes at the tower. Again, a good wall for the aspiring leader.
- Renaissance Wall: Only three routes on this wall, one being the hardest at Datil at 5.13+.
- The Land Beyond: Continue driving down the road to this one. About 1.5 miles west, past the main tower area. A few 10s but a great selection of .11 and .12 routes.
- The Enchanted Tower-Pockets Full O' Fun by Eric Fazio-Rhicard & Guy Agee (2003, E Squared Enterprises)
- Online Guide:
- Dr. Topo also has an online PDF guidebook. Go into the website (www.drtopo.com/) and go into the miniguides section, and click on New Mexico.
- Rock Climbing: New Mexico by Dennis Jackson
Browse More Classics in Enchanted Tower
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Enchanted Tower:
Featured Route For Enchanted Tower
Tony on the Tower.
A view of the Tower from the road
The creatively-named "Very Large Array" near Datil...
Double rainbow over the Tower - Aug. 31, 2008.
As you pass through Magdalena, you may want to con...
Amos on the Tower
|Comments on Enchanted Tower
Mar 10, 2006
In a conversation with Adam Read (Tower first acensionist and geologist at NM Tech) Adam stated that The Tower is actually a clastic flow and not welded tuff. I write this just for info and not to argue anything. Maybe if Adam ever reads this he can comment further.
From: Morrison, CO
Jan 30, 2007
Anyone been out to the tower recently? I'm curious about the road conditions with respect to all of the snow we've gotten.
|By Steven Crisp|
Dec 11, 2008
My buddy and I took a spring break tour down south with the intentions of going to Mexico. We took a wrong turn at Albuquerque, and ended up in enchanted tower. Some of the coolest pockets, crappy road entry, and a New Mexico sunset kept us there for another week...Worth every second of it. The caves are rifle like but not rifle grade. Very few people and a lot more routes to be discovered but not bolted. Amazing!
|By Devin C.|
Dec 17, 2008
I was wondering if anyone climbs here during the winter months. I saw that is at 8000 ft I'm looking at hitting this place up in mid january but with all the snow lately Im kinda worried if its worth it?
|By Jason Halladay|
From: Los Alamos, NM
Dec 18, 2008
Hey Devin, I've not heard of anyone climbing here in winter. In a typical winter you'd probably need to snowshoe or ski on the road beyond the ranch house. I'm not sure about this but it certainly wouldn't surprise me. Then, of course, that would lead to parking near the ranch house which wouldn't be cool with the owners.
Also, the routes generally face west which would mean some very chilly climbing for much of the day until the sun came around.
If you're in the area in January, the climbing closer to Socorro Area would be a much better bet.
That said, I live quite far north from the Tower so I'm by no means an expert.
|By Devin C.|
Dec 18, 2008
Thanks for the info Jason. I'm also from Los, but go to school in las Cruces so I was hoping to hit up the tower on my way down in jan. but Soccoro probably would be a safer bet. Hopefully the snow will clear enough that i can climb a bit while I'm up here.
Jul 9, 2009
I called the number listed above(520-326-1449) to see about the gate code,this isn't the number to stoneage gym, its to the lady who publishes the datil guide. She said there isn't a lock onthe gate anymore.
|By Jason Hundhausen|
From: Bozeman, MT
Aug 17, 2009
augie: Could not agree with you more. TP is all over the place. At a very minimum, dig deep and burn the TP (make sure the fire's OUT!) or, an even better solution is to bring Wag Bags and take it out with you - there are tons of nice, convenient trash bins on the highway back to Magdalena to drop it off in. See this discussion for more: Enchanted Tower: Are we our own worst enemy?
|By Anthony Stout|
From: Albuquerque, NM
Aug 19, 2009
This is a good and necessary discussion.
The idea of wag bags = a good one in my opinion. When I get around to it, I will include a link to this discussion and add some comments to the area description.
|By Jason Halladay|
From: Los Alamos, NM
Aug 19, 2009
Great idea about adding some info to the main page about Wag Bags and/or Restop 2 bags, Anthony. I never go to the Tower without them and bring enough for my friends. Super convenient to use (easier than any other option, really) and there is a public dumpsters area right in Datil so there's really no reason to not use these there. Let's spread the word and encourage the use of these bags at ET.
|By Jason Hundhausen|
From: Bozeman, MT
Aug 20, 2009
I would like to think that most (some?) people that climb at the Tower are interested in keeping it clean. WagBags/RestStop2 bags are an ideal solution - aside from the expense and having to go purchase them, which may deter some. For those not up to such a monumental challenge, an alternative is to use a bucket (2-gallon?) with a lid and plastic kitchen garbage bags. Put the bags in the bucket like you would a regular garbage bin, do your bizness in the bag, tie it up and put the lid on. You can even add litter or some other liquid absorbing media to the bag if you're wanting to get fancy, or just do that half outside the bucket. Works like a charm and sitting on the bucket can be pretty comfy for the more enduring (pumpy, in climber terms) efforts...
Sep 2, 2009
Thanks Jason, perhaps that information on the introduction page will help. I think donated wag bags would help too. ON another note, perhaps we could encourage people to camp at the datil well campgound as well? I know this has become the preferable alternative to some ABQ climbers and it makes some sense. The toilets are already there and they are only 15 minutes away. Maybe a mention of this in the intro as well. I am sure that some people would rather do this than pack out their poo. Or at least I hope so.
|By Anthony Stout|
From: Albuquerque, NM
Sep 4, 2009
Augie - Probably not. I would much rather camp at the tower campground than at Datil well, as I am sure the majority of climbers would as well. Nothing like being right at the crag when you wake up in the morning. There are few places that is an option.
If you have never used one of those wag bags it's really not all that bad. Seriously. Everything is quite contained. I recommend giving it a whorl.
Tom brought up another good option, the luggable loo. It's a 5 gallon bucket with a lid on it. I also found that you can pick up bags for it at Wall-Mart. They can go into the trash can on your way home. The nice thing is it's all contained into a bucket and you just dump the bucket out.
|By Tom R|
From: Denver, CO
Sep 7, 2009
Just gave the Luggable Loo it's maiden voyage to the Tower. I wish I had bought one of these years ago. It's more comfortable than squatting and more convenient than digging a hole. The lid snaps down to hold a wag bag firmly in place and the bag is easy to change. I paid $16 for the bucket and lid. Bags are a bit expensive ($2.95), but they are biodegradable. I plan on putting a sicker on "Lou" (I've named him) from everywhere he goes, but I could not find any stickers in Datil or Magdalena. If anyone knows of a sticker representing the area, I would love to get a hold of one.
|By dnoB ekiM|
Sep 18, 2009
What is the "Season" a the tower? It is not noted above.
|By Dave Wachter|
Sep 19, 2009
Season is all through the fall and spring. Particularly good in the fall, when temps are perfect, winds low, and leaves turning.Fall's particulaly good for sending.
From: ABQ, NM
Nov 16, 2009
Depending on the weather Datil could be good, though you will want to climb in the sun for sure. Remember that Datil is somewhere around 8,000 feet, but if the sun is out and the wind is calm.
I know people who have climbed at the tower in December but it is more of a local thing since you can just go when the weather allows. You would definitely be taking a chance with a road trip in November. Also most routes only receive afternoon sun, so unless you are wanting to get on the two routes on the Renissance wall your days will be short.
If you do go I would recommend being willing to move to Socorro, Alamogordo (Tunnel) or Last Chance where it is easier to climb in the sun.
|By Willie Mitchel|
Mar 18, 2010
I read the mention of packing out waste and thought id share a product I use. Its called a Biffy Bag and it is far superior to the Wag Bag and Reststop systems. It does not require a bucket or commode and comes with everything you need in a little package. It has a triple sealed puncture proof containment bag which prevents all odor and chance of leaking. WONDERFUL product I recommend to everyone. The rammifications of human waste are seriously effecting these beautiful areas we love so much so I ask everyone to address this matter more seriously.
|By Tim Kuss|
From: Durango, CO
May 1, 2011
Just wondering if anyone more local to the Tower than me has considered replacing all the time bomb bolts and hangers that exist on nearly every route there? Beware. Many recalled SMC hangers. Many lower grade Redhed style bolts. Rusty. Crap. Never mind the missing hanger on Rumplestiltskin.
|By J. Albers|
May 2, 2011
I would second Tim Kuss' comment about hardware updates. I noticed more than a few bolts (on Shipwrecked for e.g.) that are from the mid-nineties and should really be replaced.
From: El Paso, Texas USA
May 10, 2011
I HAD A BLAST....but
I wasn't impressed with the 30 year old SMC bolt hangers. Also clipped some odd questionable chains with hundreds of rusted washers and lowering on a single ancient carabiner is so 1980's.
I'd be willing on donating hangers etc. to locals if need be. I'll even help do the work. This place is so cool it needs attention.
|By Bob Broilo|
From: Socorro, NM
May 13, 2011
Regarding the hardware, there was a motivated local named James Hunter who was doing updates. He was focused on the anchors and fixed many of the sketchy older jobs. He has since moved away. Getting replacement gear is not a problem. The motivation to fight the crowds at the tower for the same old routes when there is so much other stuff to do, is. For the Socorro folks anyway. Also there is the ongoing effort to mitigate the effects of the many people who camp and poop there, which also generates many complaints from visitors. Why so many people need to drive onto the virgin grass and make a new fire ring, I will never understand.
Back on subject. The tower rock is soft and I imagine some of those old, small bolts are beginning to get weak. Especially those at odd angles near cruxes (for example, i wonder about that second bolt on Blessed and Blissed when I see a dozen falls on it a day, that would be a grounder).
I work a few minutes away and sometimes go to the tower on weeknights after work. It is usually much less crowded then. I lack a drill and experience though. So I will try to drag the guy who has been updating hardware at Box out and maybe we can fix some of this stuff. I have a few routes left to redpoint there.
The main problem at the moment is the impending temporary forest closures due to fire danger. Cibola NF now at Stage II restrictions, so hope for rain!
|By ted geving|
May 24, 2011
I did not realized a majority of the routes needed some anchor replacement until friend told me the crux bolt for red/white queen is hanging out of the rock partially. Last time was at the Tower was the early 90's.
After having talked with people who have way more bolting experience than I do, it is my understanding that the Glue-ins are the best option for anchor replacement.
Not sure how much time and money I have got to contribute to this over the summer as I am already committed to other activities. I could loan out a my turbo charged hilti to a responsible and motivated individual as all it is doing is collecting dust right now.
Oct 14, 2011
Is the gate open to the tower still as of 10/13/2011?
|By Bryan Pletta|
Nov 3, 2011
The last I heard in early October was that there was a closure sign on the road. If the road is posted as closed, please respect the closure and use the Davenport Canyon access. NM CRAG and the Access Fund are currently in discussions with the landowner to clarify the landowners intention with regards to access through Thompson Canyon and will post details here once final word is received from the ranch owners.
|By Peter Olson|
Apr 23, 2012
Is the gate open? Has anybody been to the Tower in the last couple days?
|By Joseph M.|
From: Tucson, AZ
Aug 22, 2012
I am planning on heading out to the tower for Labor Day Weekend. Will the gate be open or should I plan to access the canyon through the other road? Thanks for the help!
From: ABQ, NM
Aug 23, 2012
You should plan on going the other way since the request of the land owner is that it be closed between September 1st and January 30th. Even if the gate is unlocked you should still go around, remember there are people living there as well and they don't want to always have to be locking and unlocking the gate to get in and out themselves. So just because the gate is unlocked does not mean that it is open and if you go in that way and expect to get out you may find it locked on your way out.
|By Mark J|
Mar 24, 2013
Any new word on access March 2013?
|By the schmuck|
From: Albuquerque, NM
Mar 30, 2013
My understanding that the access road is no longer open. We were there 3 weeks ago, and the gate was unlocked. A friend went by last week, and the gate was locked. When I called the gym and asked about the situation, I was informed that the gate is indeed permanently closed, but may be ocassionaly open at the owners' whim.
|By Brian Prince|
From: morro bay, ca
Apr 23, 2013
Type "Davenport Lookout, NM" into google maps for directions on the alternate (now standard) approach. High clearance is nice but not necessary. It takes about an hour if I remember correctly and I think it's always open unless the FS closes it for fires.
Apr 29, 2013
Found a grey/black duffle bag with wheels sitting on the side of the dirt road this weekend (4/28/13). It had one pocket open with a few things scattered, it appeared to have fallen off or out of a vehicle. It has women's clothing and other stuff in it. If you are missing your bag let me know and you can pick it up at Stone Age Climbing Gym. If you're not in ABQ you can call the gym and ask for me and we can arrange shipping. (505) 341-2016