I’ve just finished an extended trip to Red Rock Canyon near Las Vegas. I found myself constantly searching for the same things on MountainProject. To save you the time, here’s a list of recommendations for good climbs to do. Climbs are roughly sorted by ascending difficulty.

Routes marked with an asterisk (*) are ones I have not done myself. The climbs I have done more recently have more detail. I’m including several hikes for options on rainy days.

Every climb is mostly shaded (by the afternoon) except where indicated. I have also excluded any truly scary climbing, and anything sort of scary is remarked on (I don’t like running it out).

Short Days

Each outing is four or fewer pitches. For a competent party, I would expect that each route would be possible from base-to-base within four hours.


  1. Dark Shadows (first 4 pitches, 5.8)
    Very positive climbing with excellent gear. Short approach. Rappel with two ropes. Do a single rope rappel at the end to reduce rope wetness.

  2. Olive Oil* (5 pitches, 5.7)
    An excellent introduction to multipitch climbing. This route may get some sun.

  3. Lotta Balls (3 pitches, 5.8)
    Excellent climbing up very unique balls. There is one somewhat heady runout.

  4. Black Magic (4 pitches, 5.8)
    This is right next to Lotta Balls and is supposedly similar. One could combine the two routes without much difficulty. My friend Max says there are some runouts on this climb as well.

  5. Y2K (4 pitches, 5.10a)
    Fun climbing on the world’s easiest 5.10a. There is a bolt and cam placement protecting the one hard move on the first pitch.


  1. The Gobbler (3 pitches, 5.10-)
    A very unique climb involving the best of slab, chimney, and face climbing. The move in the chimney is protected by a microcam and is not easy.

    You can combine this with Yellow Brick Road and Dream of Wild Turkeys to create an excellent linkup at solid 5.10 that avoids the annoying 4th pitch of the latter route. If you do this linkup, it will be a big day. The only annoyance is that you will have to climb a very short traverse pitch left to get onto Yellow Brick Road proper. You can setup a hanging belay at the base of the crack using some gear and one bolt.

  2. Black Widow Hollow (3 pitches, 5.9)
    For those who enjoy squeeze chimneys or those who want to ensure they are ready for Epinephrine. If you can do this route, the chimneys on Epinephrine will not bother you.

  3. La Cierta Edad (first 4 pitches, 5.10)
    Four excellent pitches also involving the best of slab, chimney, and face climbing, this time with some stem-box and easy wide climbing thrown in. Skip the chossy fifth pitch. On the fourth pitch, climb all the way to the right of a big ledge at the end to belay from two bolts. Bring double #2, double #3, single #4, and single #5 to sew it up. You can rappel down Unfinished Symphony with one 70 m rope.

  4. Triassic Sands (first 4 pitches, 5.10)
    One of the best routes in Red Rocks. Link the first and second pitches. (There is no fixed anchor for the first pitch and it leads to an annoying traverse.) Here, a technical crux involving a roof is followed by a dreamy 5.9 hand crack. On the fourth pitch, enjoy some beautiful climbing over roofs in an ancient sandy corner. Spectacular. Bring a #5 cam to protect the wide section on the first pitch, or run it out at 5.6 R/X. Bring triples in #2 and #3 and a single #4 to sew up the second pitch. You will need two 60 m ropes to rap. Pull to the right at the end to avoid a stuck rope. If this climb is busy, climb Sand Felipe, a single-pitch 5.10a (sport) to the left.

  5. Wholesome Fullback (3 pitches, 5.10) / Our Father* (top pitch only, 5.10+)
    Another gem! A very thin crack (microcams and small nuts) leads to a two bolt belay. Climb some cracks through an awkward flaring section to a hanging belay and finish via a handcrack. You will have to climb over or around an annoying pillar at the top (your choice). This pillar is the top pitch of Our Father. Rappel down with one 60 m rope and fire this amazing 5.10+ (green to yellow camalots). Be careful when pulling your rope! We got our rope stuck here once, and I had to lead the somewhat scary second pitch on Our Father.


  1. The Nightcrawler (first 4 pitches, 5.10+)
    Although this may not actually be a short day given the huge approach, this is a beautiful climb that many regard as their favorite in the park. Climb a straightforward 5.7 to a two-bolt belay. Then climb a flaring chimney, placing small and somewhat suspect gear in flakes until you can get into the corner. Finish across a pumpy traverse for an excellent 5.9 pitch. Pitches 3 and 4 follow sustained “excellence” (as one MountainProject user described it) through a right facing dihedral system. Many gear placements and bolts protect this for an awesome G-rated experience. There is a very hard move near the top of pitch 3 involving a strange mixture of face and crack climbing. Look around carefully for all holds (I will let you figure that one out yourself!). Pitch 4 eases off a bit.

    Bring two 70 m ropes, but climb this route with a single 70 m rope and rappel the way you came. On the last pitch, lower one person or have them rappel on a single strand. Have this person tie together the two ropes. Pull up the two ropes and make a standard two-rope rappel. Legend has it (from MP) that there is a way to rappel other routes with a single 70 m, thus dispensing with this nonsense, but I haven’t tried it. Bring doubles to #2, a single #3 and #4, and triples in 0.1-0.5 (at least if you want to place a lot of gear). Alternatively, you could gradually push up a #4 on the left-hand wide crack at the bottom of pitch 3 and bring less gear.

  2. Gin Ricky (1 pitch, 5.10+)
    This is only a single pitch, but it’s an amazing one, and the awesomeness goes on for 180 feet to make for a wonderful outing. The middle third is very solid 5.10+ with mostly tips climbing in a corner. The crux comes right after an awkward stance with a good left foot in the corner and an annoying right palm on the wall.
    Use the same trick as I described for The Nightcrawler or resign yourself to climbing with two ropes. The two bolt anchor at the end of the corner makes for an uncomfortable hanging belay. Bring a single rack to #4 and triples from 0.1-0.5.

  3. Spring Break (1 pitch, 5.11d) / Mister Masters (1 pitch, 5.9+)
    This involves a short flat approach to Sunnyside Crags in Icebox Canyon, followed by some hard leading or top-rope heroics (your choice) in the sun. Climb Mister Masters (a good first lead for someone wanting to break into 5.10) and traverse left to setup an anchor at the top of Spring Break. From here, you can top-rope Spring Break along with two other ~5.12- routes. There is a two bolt anchor over Spring Break but there are no other bolts, so you will need gear for directionals. Onsighting these climbs would be very impressive. The gear placements are there, but very tricky.


  1. White Rock Loop (6.1 miles, 1135 feet of elevation gain)
    This is a leisurely half-day outing that departs from the White Rock trailhead. You will circle around White Rock onto Rocky Gap Road. Follow the road down, checking out the Petroglyph Wall on the right. Walk on the paved road for a bit, and come back to the parking lot by following a well-marked trail on the left.

  2. Turtlehead Peak (4.7 miles, 1991 feet of elevation gain)
    This is a 2-3 hour outing that departs from Sandstone Quarry. There is no real scrambling involved and you will see excellent views of Las Vegas. The trail is heavily beaten in and it would be hard to get lost. Look for light-colored blazes on the rocks when coming down. There is a fair bit of elevation gain on this hike, so it would be a good workout.

Big Days


  1. Cat in the Hat* (6 pitches, 5.6)
    This is a great introduction to multi-pitch climbing that is often busy. This climb gets sun.

  2. Frogland (5.8, 6 pitches)
    The standard Red Rocks introduction to bigger routes that get to the top.

  3. Tunnel Vision* (6 pitches, 5.7)

  4. Purblind Pillar (6 pitches, 5.8)
    A great outing involving mostly easy climbing. There are a couple 5.8 moves that are largely bolt-protected. An easy walk-off leads down.

  5. Armatron (6 pitches, 5.9)
    This route gets sun. Enjoy a very unique plate pitch! You my also want to consider the Sweet Thin variation* (7 pitches, 5.9) that starts at the top of third pitch of Armatron.

  6. Johnny Vegas* (4 pitches, 5.7) / Solar Slab* (9 pitches, 5.6)
    These climbs get sun. Despite the easy grade, this is a lot of climbing, and many new parties epic.

  7. Ginger Cracks (7 pitches, 5.9)
    This climb gets some sun. Roughly the same difficulty as Armatron, but with a rappel descent, rather than a walk-off. Many bolts protect the climbing. Be careful while rappeling down Power Failure with 60 m ropes, as there are many loose rocks in the bowl above, and parties may be below.

  8. Jubilant Song (8 pitches, 5.8)
    A backcountry outing (big approach) away from the crowds. This climb gets sun.

  9. Hot Flash* (10 pitches, 5.8)

  10. Crimson Chrysalis (9 pitches, 5.8+)
    For some reason, this climb is constantly being attacked by waves of new parties. I suggest avoiding it until you are fast and can start late. This climb is very shady and cold.


  1. Frigid Air Buttress (7 pitches, 5.9+)
    This climb gets sun. A very nice route I did a long time ago.

  2. Prince of Darkness* (6 pitches, 5.10) Reportedly, this climb involves the same crimping and toeing motions on small edges for a long way. Still, it involves an amazing position on a beautiful brown wall.

  3. Sour Mash (6 pitches, 5.10-)
    An excellent entry into multi-pitch 5.10.

  4. Dream of Wild Turkeys (7 pitches, 5.10-)
    Slightly harder than Sour Mash (debatable), this is also a great entry into 5.10-. The fourth pitch is very long and culminates in a hard slab move right before the anchor. I don’t personally care for this pitch. Be careful when pulling your ropes, as this pitch likes to eat them.

  5. Black Orpheus* (8 pitches, 5.9+) / Eurydice* (1 pitch, 5.10b) I attempted to do this route, but my laziness in not bringing up a good picture made me miss the base by a couple hundred feet. There is no cell service back there! This climb gets plenty of sun. Consider the Eurydice finish.

  6. Rainbow Buttress* (8 pitches, 5.8+)
    A big undertaking with an involved approach, physical climbing, and complex walk-off. I haven’t done this yet.

  7. Epinephrine (13 pitches, 5.9)
    The classic long route in Red Rocks. Grunt your way through hundreds of feet of chimneys. It is generally easier to climb where the chimney is wider, but harder to place protection. Bring doubles to #4. On the start of pitch 3, do not go up the squeeze chimney on the left. On pitch 4, save a #3 and #4 for the crux at the end. The bolts are about ten feet to the right on the outside of the chimney. Pitch 5 is probably the hardest chimney pitch. Pitch 6 is much easier (and more run-out).
    The upper pitches are listed at ~5.9, but are much easier (at least for the gym-trained, which by now must be nearly all of us). You can get to the top in about four pitches from the top of the black tower, depending on how creative you are willing to be with anchors and how much simul-climbing you want to put up with. After pitch 12, I highly recommend shortening the rope and simulclimbing to the top. You will need to go around to the right on a catwalk to get to the famous tree at the end of the route.
    The descent is straightforward in daylight (though many have had epics). From the tree, hike across to the right and then uphill for about 15 minutes until you get to the Black Velvet Summit. Numerous cairns mark the way as you go up and down various peaks along the ridge. Several large cairns (about hip height) mark the descent. Follow it to the col with Whiskey Peak and rejoin the descent from Frogland. If you do not see cairns, you are in the wrong place! There is cell service at the top (and on the upper pitches). As a last resort, you can download an app that shows your position on a GPS track that follows the descent. You can get this from the MountainProject page for this climb.

  8. Unimpeachable Groping (7 pitches, 5.10)
    This is a mostly bolted romp up many beautiful edges. This climb gets some sun. There is a slightly scary start that involves climbing up a tree. Rappel with two 60 m ropes down Power Failure (beware of loose rocks and parties above and below).


  1. Inti Watana (12 pitches, 5.10)
    A cool route that goes most of the way up Mount Wilson. (You can link it into Resolution Arete for an even bigger day, but it seems to be quite chossy and I haven’t done it.) There is some fourth-class climbing on the approach that has bothered some people. The climbing is mostly easy (and heavily bolted), with the crux coming on the second pitch.

  2. Eagle Dance (11 pitches, 5.10 A0)
    This is an excellent route up the Eagle Wall. I suggest following the “wily climber’s approach” suggested by Kevin Dahlstrom on MountainProject. It works well, involves mostly third- and fourth-class terrain, and gets you there quite quickly. I brought one alpine aider for the roof pitch. You can rappel with a single 70 m rope.

  3. Texanephrine (14 pitches, 5.10+)
    This is a linkup of Texas Hold ‘Em, Texas Tower Connection, and Epinephrine. It replaces the chimney climbing with mostly very good face climbing. This climb gets morning sun. There is a section of 5.8 R climbing on the second pitch. The 5.10d pitch is described as “fists” on MountainProject, but is really more like sinker hands, followed by delicate face climbing (protected by old bolts and small gear). The traverse at the end is scary for the follower. Link the traverse pitches to avoid a bad belay. You can either continue up Epinephrine, rappel Epinephrine (if everyone is out of the way), or bail before the traverse by rappelling down Velvet Tongue (and its friends). You will need two ropes for rappelling. The Velvet Tongue rappels are best done with two 70 m ropes, rather than two 60 m ropes (though the latter does work).

  4. Fiddler on the Roof (7 pitches, 5.10+ PG13)
    Beautiful heads-up climbing past the great roof. Climb The Gobbler then traverse right. Bring a rack to #2 and two ropes to descend. The climbing on the slabs above the crux traverse pitch can be scary, but is probably safe.

  5. Levitation 29 (9 pitches, 5.11c)
    Probably the most popular hard route in Red Rocks. It’s also on the Eagle Wall. I’ve only followed it once, and it was a long time ago, so I don’t have any good information to add right now.

  6. Texas Hold ‘Em (9 pitches, 5.11c)
    My current project (and way harder than Levitation 29). I haven’t made it past the 5.11c pitch yet, but I think I’ve worked out the beta. There is a hard move right at the beginning of this pitch that leads to a nasty fall on the anchor if you blow it, so I recommend using a screamer or equivalent. There is another crux halfway into a long rightward traverse, followed by a very reachy move left from a stance underneath a roof. Make the Velvet Tongue rappels I described for Texanephrine to descend.

  7. Cloud Tower (6 pitches, 5.12-)
    I’ve only followed this once, but there are only two seriously hard pitches and they seem tractable. Many #3 camalots are needed for the top pitch.

  8. The Original Route* (14 pitches, 5.12-)
    My dream route. I’m still working my way up to this one.


  1. Bridge Mountain (15 miles, 4717 feet of elevation gain)
    This is a long hike that ends as an alpine climb. There is some route-finding involved (many details are available elsewhere). There is a lot of scrambling on third-class terrain and serious stretches of fourth class terrain. Confident people will solo the fourth-class terrain at the top, but many people turn around. You may encounter wet rock or snow at the top. I would suggest bringing a short rope and a light rack to make this an excellent practice run for real alpine objectives.
    You will see a cool arch, pool, and hidden forest! This is the best hike in Red Rocks.

Rainy Days

It rained quite a lot while I was there, so I checked out a couple of spots. Both of these places involve limestone climbing, so it’s safe to climb on after rain.

Lime Kiln Canyon

This beautiful canyon is just over the border in Arizona. There are moderate multipitch sport climbs like Office Party to do and plenty of hard sport to do. I found the rock to be too sharp for my taste, but this is a pleasant diversion for a few days when climbing in Red Rocks is not an option. Bring a stick clip.

Arrow Canyon

This cool canyon is 45 minutes away and is probably better as a hike than a climbing destination. It’s impossible to figure out where anything is, even with the “guidebook,” and the quality of the routes seems to vary wildly. It is, however, a cool hike, with fossils in the riverbed and amazing views. You will need a sturdy 4x4 to get down the road (or just walk). It’s much worse than the Black Velvet dirt road.