Elizabeth Furnace Climbing

Kids Climbing at Elizabeth FurnaceElizabeth Furnace, VA Climbing Area

Elizabeth Furnace, VA is a a great place to take the kids for a mid week stop along a longer family vacation, or a great day trip for those that live within an hour our two.  There are a good number of routes immediately off the road, making the hike from the parking pullout only a hundred yards or so.  The climbing is far enough from the road that kids aren’t going to be in danger of running out in the street, but close enough that you can see the road just behind you and slightly down hill.

There are a number of climbs in this area, the first being a sporty 5.8 that is a perfect beginning top rope. . .Even our 3 year od made it more than halfway up (see photo above).  Information about the rest of the climbing area can be found in the latest (soon to be published) Mid Atlantic Climbing Falcon Guide by Eric Horst.

When to climb at Elizabeth Furnace

Seasonally, it makes sense to climb in the fall/winter/spring, if you can catch it dry.  Summer is roasting, but the nearby creek is likely accessible for a quick dip in the water (we didn’t try it). In addition, you want to avoid the weekends, if possible, as the high density and easy accessibility make this a great area for weekenders.

The main climbing area is right off of the road, and there is another, less accessible area.  We didn’t go there, and I can’t recall the name, but it is also highlighted in the Mid Atlantic Climbing book coming out soon.

What else to do in the area

I say that this is a great stop along a larger trip, because you aren’t going to want to make this your primary destination – climbing or otherwise.  It’s a great stop along the way, but you’ll find more for the kids, the climbers, and the family outside of Elizabeth Furnace.  Only an hour or so south is Masanutten Resort, a water park, outdoor fun area with a kids and adult ropes course, and some hiking right along the mountain ridge.  In addition, you are about a half hour from Shenandoah National Park and the scenic drive.  Hiking and climbing opportunities abound in the park.

Finally, you can also make a short stop at Luray Cavern, an underground cavern with stalactite and stalagmite rock formations.  It’s an interesting tour, though there’s only one way in and one way out, so you’re doing the whole thing with the toddlers/kids in tow and their interest only seems to last about halfway/three quarters of the way through.

Shenandoah National Park

If you are planning a visit to or through the Shenandoah National Park, Elizabeth Furnace is a great stop (from the north) along the way.  It’s an easily accessible sport climbing area with a bit for everyone. . . Shenandoah National Park is a gem of a destination for nature lovers, so I recommend making sure to build time in for hiking your way around the park while on your trip!

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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.