Climbing in Red Rock Canyon, Best Crags for Kids

View of Wake up wall looking back toward the trail/approach.

Red Rock Canyon Climbing Areas

On our recent trip to Red Rock Canyon, we went. . . wait for it. . . . WITHOUT KIDS.  Yes, it was our first climbing trip together without kids in six years.  Throughout the seven days of climbing, we hit every remote sport crag we hadn’t yet hit (or so it seemed at the time).  It was quite liberating to pick an area with no regard to the length or difficulty of the approach.  Nor did we look at the exposure/cliffside drop offs that would be typical “no no’s” with kids.

That being said, we do have some idea of what would be the better crags for kids.  Of course, unless you are hauling the extra 20-40 lbs of kid and the extra 15 lbs of gear, you don’t quite understand how long an approach really seems with kids in tow.

As usual, our “kid friendly” suggestions have nothing to do with the quality or ratings of the climbs so much as the approach difficulty, length, and the kid friendly nature of the landing/staging area. These suggestions are all sport climbing areas specific to the first three pullouts of Red Rock Canyon Park and Calico Basin (combing from Vegas, the turn before the entrance to Red Rocks).  Note: we do not review any area that we did not visit, so if an area is not on this list, it may well be great. . . we just didn’t get there!

Best Crag with Kids:

1. Cannibal Crag – in Calico Basin. Short approach from the car. Bathrooms just down the hill. Relatively flat boulders at the landing area.  A small toddler might need hands on supervision but a young child would be fine.  Relative high density of climbs with various ratings.

2.  The Black Corridor – Second Pullout.  The lower area is flat and shaded with little room for kids to find trouble.  Great density of climbs with various ratings.  Approach on this is a bit of a challenge, but with an assist for kids, it is doable.  Only issue is the traffic (if high traffic day, too many people will make this area less appealing with kids).

3.  The Pier – Sandstone Quarry.  Caveat: There are bees in this area during certain seasons/times.  If you go via the correct approach, the approach is pretty basic.  High density of climbs in the 5.11/5.12 range.  The area, like the Black Corridor, is self contained and relatively flat.  Important: stay inside the Pier as there is a large fall at the downhill side.

4. Wake up Wall – Sandstone Quarry.  Relatively short, flat approach (easy).  Landing/Staging area is large and flat – great place for kids to explore.  Near the actual wall, there is a small “trough” between the wall and the landing area.  This drop is probably 5-8 feet deep, but would not pose a serious concern for most parents/kids.  Relative high density of climbs in a wide range from 5.8-5.12.

Worst Crags with Kids:

1. Panty Wall – Steep Drop off

2. Cut your Teeth Crag – Long LONG hike in, uphill.

Others Red Rock Canyon Areas Reviewed

Areas that will work with kids but may not be perfect, or good for non toddlers, or kids with moderate supervision.

1. Coco Wall – Calico Basin. Short approach, boulders and uneven landing/staging area.

2. Gallery/Wall of Confusion – Second Pullout.  Bouldery, somewhat long and bouldery approach. Some areas are flat and enclosed, some have a large drop off. Depends mainly on the kid. . .and where you are planning to climb (far left is better).

3. Mass Production – Sandstone Quarry.  Easy hike in with a bit of scrambling up hill at the very end.  The last 15 feet up are in the boulders against the rock. Toddlers and young children would have some trouble as there is limited flat ground and mostly larger scree and boulders at the landing.  The wall is completely on a hill, so all landing areas are also hilly/steep.  Fine for our five year old but our 3 year old might have been a danger to herself.

4. Sunny and Steep Wall – Craft Mountain, Calico Basin. Long hike in and some scrambling to get there.  If you can live with the approach the area surrounding the rock was flat and good for kids.  Numerous climbs of various ratings including some great routes from 5.8 – 5.12.

5. Conundrum Wall – Craft Mountain, Calico Basin.  Shorter approach than Sunny and Steep, moderate distance, mostly flat. Landing area is uneven and bouldery but there were some good places to hang out and no drop offs.

Remember that this is just a guide and in no way replaces your own reconnaissance, instinct, and decision making.

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About Laura Boniello Miller

Laura Miller is a internet marketing professional and a mother of two. Her interests include sport climbing, bouldering, reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. She believes that playing outdoors is integral to health and well being, and that if your kids aren't dirty, they haven't had enough fun.

Comments

  1. Alyssa says:

    Hey, this is totally helpful. We went there a few weeks back for the first time. Here is our TR from the Black Corridor. Awesome with kids! http://kidproject.org/2012/04/06/are-the-rocks-really-red-mom/

    1. Climb With Kids says:

      Alyssa, Thanks! If you have additional beta about other crags (in Red Rocks), I can do a part two (or you can guest post). Let me know!