An obvious wall of clean basalt lies 17 miles south of Caliente on SR317. The cliffs are just off the road. The road is graded dirt and can get washed out. The climbing is both sport and trad. There are beautiful corners and clean, blank face climbs with bolts. The rock is similar to Crawdad Canyon UT. and/or Paradise Forks AZ. This is a remote area with no facilities. There is no guidebook and photos of the area are very rare. Climbing can be had year round although winters can be cold and summer gets hot! Watch the weather as the road can get washed out anytime of year.
Find your way to Caliente, NV and head south on SR 317 for 17 miles. There is also a dirt road heading NE off of 93 (Kane Springs Rd.) that will take you to Elgin and SR 317; from there a short drive N will get you to the cliff. I recommend at least a 4x2 with some ground clearance. The latter route is shorter but can take just as long and there are no services (bring a gas can). The GPS location is a guess based on the map.
42 Total Routes
['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',11],['2 Stars',19],['1 Star',10],['Bomb',0]
Browse More Classics in Rainbow Canyon
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Rainbow Canyon:
Featured Route For Rainbow Canyon
Air Farce One 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- E3 5c NV
: Rainbow Canyon
AF1 takes the nice curving arete-feature just left of the long right-facing corner crack in the center of Rainbow Canyon. Begin up that climb and then bust left to the first bolt and balance and reach your way up a series of thin edges on nice rock. The position on this one is great....[more] Browse More Classics in NV
BETA PHOTO: The center of the main wall with many fine cracks ...
BETA PHOTO: looking North from atop one of the shorter routes.
BETA PHOTO: Looking South from middle of the wall.
BETA PHOTO: The best part of the wall. Middle to south section...
Kershaw-Ryan campground, a couple of minutes from ...
Rainbow canyon in fall color. See the climber at t...
Matt's having a good time at Rainbow Canyon.
|Comments on Rainbow Canyon
|By Dirty Gri Gri, or is it GiGi?|
Nov 1, 2006
Fran, thanks for posting this area! Freakin awesome! Jonny and I drove out there yesterday, and checked it out. Some of the paved road (by the routes) has been damaged (washed out) by floods; was still okay to drive on though. Loved the dirt road through the beautiful desert, and Caliente had a cool little market to get provisions.
From: Sacramento, CA
Nov 9, 2006
A nice area with some spectacular cracks. Lots of bolted anchors are nice. There are also a ton of sport routes mainly in the hard 10 and up range.
If anyone knows the correct names and grades of these routes, I would like to know.
|By Michelle Locatelli|
Apr 16, 2007
I must say I was surprised to find a mini guide to Rainbow Canyon. Strange names for some mighty familiar routes. About 65% of the routes were put by me and Richard Harrison, 30% by Gary Fike, and the remaining 5% by others, including Bob Finlay and John Middendorf, two of the area "pioneers". Much assistance was given by Gary's wife Tanya and Richard's daughter Lisa.
All the routes are named and each has a great story to go with its first ascent. We put much sweat and money into the project, hoping to create a peaceful area for locals. So we resisted putting out a guide book. The area was also a sensitive riparian corridor before the big flood and we thought it best to keep it low key. We have had problems with plagiarism (some just trying to make a buck), false info and taking of credit where it wasn't due by some visitors to the cliffs. So at long last we have decided to put together a correct guide for Rainbow. The area is very special; a great mixture of cracks and chimneys, superb technical face climbing and awesome aretes. Please enjoy the routes, keep the place clean and spend some money in nearby Caliente while you're there.
|By Jorge Calhoun|
Sep 3, 2007
Thanks Michelle and everyone else that found this spot.
|By Michelle Locatelli|
Jul 22, 2008
The new guidebook is nearly complete and should be available in Sept.08. I will most likely sell it via the internet. There are 110 routes at Rainbow !
|By Michelle Locatelli|
Mar 11, 2009
The Rainbow Canyon guidebook is completed and ready to print. I should have copies available in a week. Since it is a first edition, I am running just a limited amount.I'm hoping for useful feed back(rating consensus,missing info) so I can refine the next edition.If you are interested in buying one, let me know and we can set that up.
|By Brig J.|
Mar 21, 2009
Week's over, pay up. Waaaaaaant that book, just name the price. Hope you have beta on all the trad stuff.
On one hand, I'm sorry to see this piece of paradise go public, it's been a well kept little secret. On the other hand those that developed it deserve recognition and the rest of us want BETA! Thanks Michelle for busting ass for the few that do now climb here.
|By Jon O'Brien|
Apr 24, 2009
This place looks awesome! Is that guidebook available?! I'll pay top dollar! I've got some unborn children to offer up if money's not your fancy, LOL...
Nov 23, 2009
Is your guide book sold anywhere locally? We would like to see rainbow canyon over thanksgiving weekend but I'm worried that if I order it online today, it wont come in time.
From: Las Vegas
Sep 6, 2010
The dirt road is in really good shape right now. Any passenger car will have no problems.
Also, Michelle's guidebook is sweet. The hand drawn pictures are amazing.
Apr 12, 2011
Neat new area-crack and face climbin' right together, who'd a thunk! Routes feel very mixed, interesting. Good pro- still some minor loose rock here and there, but nothing a few more ascents won't fix- belay with a helmet and you won't even have to pay attention at all!
|By Kurt Howes|
Nov 11, 2013
We really enjoyed this wall. Some super high quality lines! Better suited for the intermediate to advanced climber. East facing. Grades are on save a couple sandbags, perhaps because a 1980's 11.a feels like 2013 12.a. An acquaintance said he climbed here in the 80's. The trains are a treat. Road is quite good now. Thanks Michelle et al.