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Rock Canyon

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Uncle Tom's Cabin 
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Wasp, The 
West Squaw Mountain 
Wild, The 
Zoo, The 
Zoobie Ridge 

Rock Canyon 


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Location: 40.2655, -111.621 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Andrew Gram, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Richard M. Wright on Jul 24, 2003
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BETA PHOTO: Rock Canyon - Lower

1. Black Rose
2. [[1057397...

Description 

Rock Canyon is one of my favorite climbing areas when visiting Salt Lake. It is pretty well developed now and hosts a slew of bolted and trad lines.

Overall, the climbing is significantly easier than that at American Fork Canyon. Rock Canyon holds numerous bolted routes in the 5.5 to 5.13 range and trad from 5.6 to 5.12 with the balance easier than 5.10.

There are routes sprinkled around on both sides of the canyon so it possible to chase the shade or the sun, as need demands. All of the parking is at the mouth of the canyon, so be prepared to hump.

One day, several years ago, we hiked the canyon from the mouth to the top of the plateau and it was really a gas, and did not detract from the climbing at all. It is easy to find yourself the only team at a crag, and while the vista does not come close to rivaling American Fork, the isolation can be satisfying. There is climbing adjacent to the parking, and one can take a leisurely approach just moving up canyon during the rest periods.

The rock is divided primarily between yellow and reddish quartzite closer to the mouth of the canyon, and gray limestone farther up canyon. See here for more information on the canyon's geology.

Best trip: bring a pair of ropes, a dozen draws, the trad rack, a bottle of wine, your significant other, and hiking shoes.


Local Beta 

Mountainworks is the local climbing shop.

The Mountainworks crew have put up many of the routes in the local area, and Mountainworks is therefore the place to go for route recommendations and beta beyond that which appears here.


Getting There 

Rock Canyon is quite a long way south of Salt Lake City and is just east of Provo.

From the north (Salt Lake City) drive south on I-15 and exit at 800 N in Orem (exit 272). Drive east until 800 N ends; take the exit right onto University Avenue. Continue south on University Avenue until 2230 N (the 7th light signal). Turn left and drive east through a residential neighborhood until the road starts to curve right (south). Turn left on N. Temple Drive (the Mormon Temple is visible just before you turn). Continue east on N. Temple through a 4-way stop sign. As the road curves to the south (right) the Rock Canyon parking will be directly ahead.

From the south exit from I-15 at University Avenue in Provo (exit 263). Continue north on University Avenue until 2230 N (the first light signal after passing BYU's football stadium on your right). Turn right and follow the rest of the directions, above.


409 Total Routes


['4 Stars',15],['3 Stars',131],['2 Stars',198],['1 Star',62],['Bomb',1]
['<=5.6',42],['5.7',44],['5.8',57],['5.9',51],['5.10',104],['5.11',78],['5.12',27],['5.13',3],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',2],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',1],['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 Rock Canyon:
Red Slab   5.6 4c 14 V S 4b     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 70'   Red Slab
Call of the Wild   5.6 4c 14 V S 4b     Sport, 1 pitch, 30'   The Wild
Main Crack   5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   Ed and Terry Wall
Flakes   5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 110'   Ed and Terry Wall
Cosmic Space Dust Lazers   5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b     Sport, 3 pitches, 300'   Layer Cake
Green Monster   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 100'   Green Monster Slab
Jawa Jam   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 115'   Galaxy Area : Tatooine
Call it a Knight   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 110'   Ed and Terry Wall
Leia's Leash   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 135'   Galaxy Area : Tatooine
Chupacabra   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   The Wild
Pink Canoe   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   Black Rose
Battleship   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- E2 5b     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 30'   Tinker Toys
Shadow and Flame   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 200'   Trilogy Buttress
Edge-n-Scary   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ E3 5c     Trad, 2 pitches, 110'   Ed and Terry Wall
Squawstruck   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ E3 5c     Sport, 22 pitches, 1900'   Squaw Peak
Black Magic Woman   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- E3 5c     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   Black Rose
Simple Simon   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 30'   Super Bowl Wall
The Bulge   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- E3 5c     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 35'   The Appendage
Blood Ruby   5.11d 7a 24 VIII E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 35'   Treasure Island
Learning to Fly   5.11d 7a 24 VIII E5 6a     Sport   The Balcony
Browse More Classics in Rock Canyon

Featured Route For Rock Canyon
Surveying the difficulties ahead.

Black 5.11d 7a 24 VIII E5 6a  UT : Wasatch Range : ... : The Adjective
Technical face climbing on excellent dark limestone. The holds are fun and tiny. ...[more]   Browse More Classics in UT

News and Events For Rock Canyon
Photos of Rock Canyon Slideshow Add Photo
Faces in Rock Canyon
Faces in Rock Canyon
View of Rock Canyon from Cool World.  Photo by Skyler Holman.
View of Rock Canyon from Cool World. Photo by Sky...
Zoomed in view of faces
Zoomed in view of faces
A denizen of Rock Canyon.
A denizen of Rock Canyon.
Butterflies drinking at the edge of the creek.
Butterflies drinking at the edge of the creek.
North side 2/13/11
North side 2/13/11
Rock Canyon mouth - Trilogy Gully <br /> <br />1. <a href='/v/bad-bananas/106018456'>Bad Bananas</a> <br />2. <a href='/v/super-bowl-wall/105817841'>Super Bowl Wall</a> <br />3. <a href='/v/the-wasp/105846317'>The Wasp</a> <br />4. <a href='/v/trilogy-buttress/105853667'>Trilogy Buttress</a> <br />5. <a href='/v/acdc-wall/105974993'>AC/DC Wall</a> <br />6. <a href='/v/the-jobsite/105947305'>The Jobsite</a> Left <br />7. <a href='/v/the-jobsite/105947305'>The Jobsite</a> Right
BETA PHOTO: Rock Canyon mouth - Trilogy Gully

1. [[106018456]...
Rock Canyon mouth - North Side <br /> <br />1. Heroin Hut (bouldering) <br />2. <a href='/v/bad-bananas/106018456'>Bad Bananas</a> <br />3. <a href='/v/super-bowl-wall/105817841'>Super Bowl Wall</a> <br />4. <a href='/v/the-wasp/105846317'>The Wasp</a> <br />5. <a href='/v/the-jobsite/105947305'>The Jobsite</a> Left <br />6. <a href='/v/the-jobsite/105947305'>The Jobsite</a> Right <br />7. <a href='/v/trilogy-buttress/105853667'>Trilogy Buttress</a>
BETA PHOTO: Rock Canyon mouth - North Side

1. Heroin Hut (bou...
These are most of the areas on the south side of the canyon. There are some other areas that have routes that haven't been redpointed yet. If I'm missing something, let me know. If something is mislabeled, let me know. I've been to all of these areas except the Bosko Wall. Photo taken from the summit of Squaw Peak.
BETA PHOTO: These are most of the areas on the south side of t...
Ahhh... Rock Canyon...
Ahhh... Rock Canyon...
Climbing areas in Rock Canyon (upper canyon limestone). Not every single wall with routes is on the map; there are lots of walls with routes still in the works. But this is a relatively complete map.
BETA PHOTO: Climbing areas in Rock Canyon (upper canyon limest...
Birds eye view of lower and upper (respectively) Rock Canyon with most of the climbing areas marked.
BETA PHOTO: Birds eye view of lower and upper (respectively) R...
Brett and Christian on the first pitch of <em>Squawstruck</em>. October 3, 2009.
Brett and Christian on the first pitch of Squa...
Perspective view of trilogy gully, lower, and upper Rock Canyon (respectively) with most of the climbing areas marked.
BETA PHOTO: Perspective view of trilogy gully, lower, and uppe...
Perfect fall day looking out from the top of pitch one on Squawstruck.
Perfect fall day looking out from the top of pitch...
Evening in Rock Canyon.
Evening in Rock Canyon.
Black Rose, Red Slab & Ed and Terry Wall
Black Rose, Red Slab & Ed and Terry Wall
BETA PHOTO
180 degree panoramic view of the north side of <em>Rock Canyon</em>.
180 degree panoramic view of the north side of
Mouth of Rock Canyon.  Ed and Terry above the Red Slab.
Mouth of Rock Canyon. Ed and Terry above the Red ...
Map of Rock Canyon climbing areas (lower canyon quartzite). Not a perfect map, but good for getting a general idea of where things area.
BETA PHOTO: Map of Rock Canyon climbing areas (lower canyon qu...
The upper walls...who will finally get the drive to put a route up there?
The upper walls...who will finally get the drive t...
An avalanche covered the trail behind us a couple minutes after we passed by this area. If I remember right, it came down the gully that the Balcony is in. Feb 09.
An avalanche covered the trail behind us a couple ...
The famous tower!
The famous tower!
This is a view of the major lower canyon crags as seen from the top of Squaw Peak.
BETA PHOTO: This is a view of the major lower canyon crags as ...
Fall colors around Dr. Teeth
Fall colors around Dr. Teeth
<a href='/v/rock-canyon/105739292'>Rock Canyon</a> from high on <a href='/v/trilogy-buttress/105853667'>Trilogy Buttress</a>.
Comments on Rock Canyon Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 7, 2013
By John J. Glime
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Sep 25, 2004

Ruckman's guide, etc. shows that you can drive up the canyon. No more. There is now a parking area with bathrooms and a gate 10 minutes from the mouth of the canyon.

By Alma Madsen
From: Lehi, UT
Jun 17, 2009

Just to let everyone know, I've been putting together more printer friendly and compact route guides for rock canyon (using the awesome Beta photos from you all) and I decided to post them for everyone to use. You can find them at sites.google.com/site/mountainprojectpdfs/. I find them handy for printing out and throwing in my outdated AFC/RC book.

Keep in mind this is a work in progress, and suggestions are welcome.

By TobinPetty
From: Boise, ID
Aug 28, 2009

I agree with the previous comments regarding the fine development of routes in the canyon. I've been living in Alaska for the past 3 yrs and have admired many of the lines from afar. Upon returning to the lower 48 Rock Canyon will be one of my destinations! Thanks to the Utah Valley crews.

By Tristan Higbee
From: Thailand
Jan 23, 2010

Crisco and I climbed a fun mixed route today in the canyon. Not sure if it's been done before. We named it (tongue-in-cheek) the Higbee Gully. If the Knights can name a bunch of routes after themselves, why can't I? :) It's not super hard or hardcore by any means, and I wouldn't be surprised if it's been done before (especially in summer) but it was a fun adventure. There's a little TR and some pics on my blog here.

By Christian "crisco" Burrell
From: PG, Utah
Jan 24, 2010

I'm glad Tristan included the lie he told me to get me out there. But it was strangely fun. Worth doing and we hope DK has to add it to his list of things to do! :)

By Peter Dodge
From: Duluth, MN
Jul 26, 2010

Is there any free camping around Rock Canyon? If there isn't, where is a good, close-by campground?

By Tristan Higbee
From: Thailand
Jul 27, 2010

Yeah, there's free camping throughout the canyon. The closest ones to the parking lot are probably a few hundred feet in. They're not officially designated with numbers and picnic tables or anything, just clearings with a fire ring (though open fires aren't allowed in the summer) that you'll see on one side of the trail or the other. There's a bathroom at the parking lot.

The next major canyon to the south, Slate Canyon, has camping, too, and you can pitch your tent pretty much wherever. That canyon gets a lot less traffic. There is paid camping in Provo Canyon (north of Rock Canyon). The sites there have water hookups, etc.

By JP BRINK
From: Northglenn, co
Apr 19, 2011

Anyone out there know if anyone has put together a guide book for this area yet??

By jtwalter
From: Orem, UT
Apr 21, 2011

It's dated but, yes, there is a guide book.

Rumors are that Darren Knezek has a new one in the works.

By Tristan Higbee
From: Thailand
Apr 21, 2011

The Ruckman guide is good if you're interested in going to the Balcony, the Projects, or the Bosko Wall, none of which are covered in much detail here on MP. Otherwise, Mountain Project has far better (more up-to-date, accurate, and complete) info.

By will archer
From: Boston, MA
Aug 31, 2012

Stopped here planning to camp for a night on a roadtrip a few weeks ago and camping as well as overnight parking is no longer allowed, but I'm not sure how well it is actually enforced. Fun climbing area though.

By kboofis
Oct 6, 2013

How crowded is this place usually?

By John Ross
From: Wasatch Front, UT
Oct 7, 2013

@foxbox this is a pretty active canyon. As for the trail, hikers, and a few runners and mountain bikers are common early to late, even some in the dark. As for the climbing, the popular areas (Red Slab, The Wild, The Jobsite) get especially busy on holidays and weekends. But with hundreds of routes in the canyon to choose from, even on crowded days there are plenty of quality climbing routes to be found. If multi-pitch is at all interesting, there are some really good ones. The good news is (and keep this a secret), there are many days when you can just about pick a wall and have it all to yourself.