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Safe Harbor

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Safe Harbor North 
Safe Harbor South 

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Safe Harbor 

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Lat, Long: 39.9074, -76.3656 Map Incorrect?
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Administrators: Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Justin Johnsen on Nov 18, 2011
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BETA PHOTO: Safe Harbor South's walls parallel old electric li...
Areas north of dam are off limits MORE INFO >>>


Safe Harbor is a sport crag that was closed for most of the last 15 years. Though originally established as a runout (R and X) trad crag, it is now one of Pennsylvania's best sport climbing destinations. Most rock here is low angle with good friction, with a few steeper lines mixed in; like the classic steep arete Wonderama (5.12b) in Safe Harbor South. The walls of Safe Harbor all face west-southwest, giving it plenty of daylight - very inviting in cool weather. After dark, I've seen groups climbing by headlamp.

Safe Harbor North - that is, everything north of Safe Harbor Dam - is closed and off limits. Please respect this closure as arrangements are being made to officially open it in the near future. There is plenty to climb in the South until then.

Conestoga township now owns the land that Safe Harbor South is on, and access is free and open as of November 2011. Driving out of the crag on a Saturday evening, the Conestoga Wagon Restaurant looked pretty hopping, but as a "family" restaurant I don't think they serve "adult" beverages. Rock Hill Tavern looks like a good bet for recovery beer with dinner. Driving ten miles north to Lancaster will give you many choices.

There is no camping allowed at the crag. The nearest campground is Pequea Creek right down the road. Unfortunately, they are currently only open from April to October. Tucquan Park a few miles to the south might be open in the cool season.

Eric Hörst's Safe Harbor Climbing website has the latest information on climbing here. I recommend reading his overview of the crag before visiting. Eric also helps host a Safe Harbor Climbing Facebook group where you can network with other SH climbers.

Getting There 

From Lancaster, Pennsylvania, take New Danville Pike south to Conestoga (5 miles from Central Park, Lancaster). Turn right on Main Street (3 1/2 miles). When Main Street ends in a T-intersection, turn left of River Road, and you will drive through Safe Harbor Park.

If your party has more than one vehicle, leave them at the park, and carpool from there.

Continue on River Road south for over a mile. Turn right on the winding and rural Green Hill Road. After around a mile, the pavement ends. Follow the road right and downhill, following a flower preserve sign. You'll reach the tunnel shortly. Park your carpool on the side of the road on either side of the tunnel, making sure not to block traffic. There's enough room for many vehicles to park here.

On the uphill side of the tunnel off Green Hill Road, follow a side trail uphill next to high tension power lines. It will connect you to the old rail trail (with no rails left) where it crosses over the top of the tunnel.

If you end up on the lower rail trail, with rails and trains running on it, you're off-route.

Hike the rail trail north to the first sector of Safe Harbor South (around 1/2 mile).

148 Total Routes

['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',29],['2 Stars',102],['1 Star',15],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Safe Harbor:
Public Service   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     Sport, 80'   Safe Harbor South : b. Electric Co. Sector
Slab Master   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   Safe Harbor South : e. Super Slab Sector
Tradatrocity   5.9+ 5c 17 VI E1 5a     Sport   Safe Harbor South : h. Numero Uno Sector
Mental As Anything   5.9+ 5c 17 VI E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch   Safe Harbor South : j. Hydroman Sector
Safe Harbor Direct   5.9+ 5c 17 VI E1 5a     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   Safe Harbor South : b. Electric Co. Sector
Tenuous Odyssey   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch   Safe Harbor South : c. Tenuous Odyssey Sector
Demon In My Semen   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Safe Harbor South : i. Train in Vain Sector
Locomotion   5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch   Safe Harbor South : f. Autumn Arch Sector
Autumn Arch   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 85'   Safe Harbor South : f. Autumn Arch Sector
Electric Co.   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 30'   Safe Harbor South : b. Electric Co. Sector
Numero Uno   5.10c 6b 20 VII E2 5b     Sport, 50'   Safe Harbor South : h. Numero Uno Sector
Super Slab   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   Safe Harbor South : e. Super Slab Sector
Urban Daydreams   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Safe Harbor South : f. Autumn Arch Sector
Hydroman   5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch   Safe Harbor South : j. Hydroman Sector
Doppelganger   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- E4 6a     Sport, 80'   Safe Harbor South : f. Autumn Arch Sector
Sugar High   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- E4 6a     Sport, 35'   Safe Harbor South : b. Electric Co. Sector
Machismo   5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII E4 6a     Sport, 65'   Safe Harbor South : d. Machismo Sector
Blood Sugar Magic   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a     Sport, 35'   Safe Harbor South : a. Blood Sugar Magic Sector
White Stripes   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a     Sport, 65'   Safe Harbor South : f. Autumn Arch Sector
Wonderama   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ E5 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Safe Harbor South : f. Autumn Arch Sector
Browse More Classics in Safe Harbor

Featured Route For Safe Harbor
Leader is on Wonderama; climber to the right is on Locomotion.

Wonderama 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ E5 6b  PA : Safe Harbor : ... : f. Autumn Arch Sector
The striking arete right of the large Autumn Arch corner. There were a couple of decent rest spots to shake the pump out of your right arm - that is getting most of the workout on this overhanging arete....[more]   Browse More Classics in PA

Photos of Safe Harbor Slideshow Add Photo
Safe Harbor routes often require varied techniques to ascend. This route Body Drama (Safe Harbor South) 5.11b/c offers a little bit of everything including a gnarly heel hook and mantle. There are alot of popular climbs that get swamped but there are also alot of quality, fun, technical climbs that dont see much action. Body Drama is one example.
BETA PHOTO: Safe Harbor routes often require varied techniques...
Looking upstream at Safe Harbor Dam from the south.
BETA PHOTO: Looking upstream at Safe Harbor Dam from the south...
The super classic Hydroman 11b (Safe Harbor South). Mental as Anything 9+ on the far left of the main face and Body Drama 11c/d or 12 just around the corner on the left.
The super classic Hydroman 11b (Safe Harbor South)...
Heading up into the corner of Autumn Arch
Heading up into the corner of Autumn Arch
Safe Harbor South houses several fine, fun moderates like this one There Goes the Hood 5.7 in the Hydroman Sector.
Safe Harbor South houses several fine, fun moderat...
Comments on Safe Harbor Add Comment
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By minquatrails
Sep 6, 2012

Any info on when SH North will open?

By Larry S
Sep 7, 2012

minquatrails - I think there has been some discussion of this over on the facebook page for safe harbor. If you ask there you usually get a quick reply from Eric Horst. I think the summary is the town is supposed to acquire the land sometime soon, but they don't have a usable bridge from south to north, so once they do that will need to be built, otherwise the only access is from a trailhead 4 miles north.

By indiegirl
Sep 12, 2012

where do you camp when climbing at safe harbor?
how does safe harbor compare to west point, ny?

By PaulFish
May 6, 2013

Holy Slab Batman!!

Safe Harbor is an awesome sport climbing location - with easy access to camping and town, this area makes for a wonderful weekend trip with friends. There is so much to do! You better make this a two day trip!

Be prepared though to blow your feet trying to stand on tiny crips along the slab routes here. Bring a comfortable climbing shoe (if there is such a thing) and make sure to warm up.

Also! If you pick up Green Hill Rd (to get to crag parking) from the south, you're going to have a bad time. The road is trashed and your puny cars wouldn't be able to make it without some damage to the undercarriage. Map of what entrance I'm talking about: goo.gl/maps/XEhA7

Anyway, take some time to meet the locals climbing here; their passion for this crag is palpable. Everyone is so friendly and has a story to share.


By Adam Marcus
From: Arlington, VA
2 days ago

Caution: Although there is a parking lot at the north end of the Safe Harbor South crags (on the east side of Powerhouse Road just before it crosses the Conestoga River), climbers should *not* park there! The hike from that lot to the crags crosses private property and access is still a sensitive issue. Additionally, the trail is badly eroded and a bit treacherous, and if you miss the trail you'll end up on active train tracks.

Also: According to Eric Horst, the North crags *are* open. Here's a message from him with directions: SH North crags are open, but the main climbing area (Cemetry Wall) has no direct access yet. So the instructions to visit SH North….is to park at the north-end Trailhead of the Manor Twp rail trail, located on River Rd just north of Turkey Hill dairy. An almost 5 mile hike or bike ride is required to get to Cemetery Wall, although you will pass occasional scattered route development along the way. Direct access to Cemetery Wall (from Observation Road above the crag) currently crosses private property. Thus, we can’t encourage climbers to enter this way…although some surely do. I’ve met with Manor Twp numerous times and they are working on an easement across the private land that will allow climbers to use this more direct approach—this may come to fruition later this year.