Rock Climbing in Mormon Lake, Arizona
Grey basalt outcroppings thrust among the ponderosa pine forest surrounding Arizona’s largest natural lake. Mormon Lake in northern Arizona is less than 30 miles south of Flagstaff and set in the heart of the Coconino National Forest.
Climb the volcanic formations or head to nearby areas where sandstone and limestone formations give a variety of climbing terrain.
Canyon Vista Campground lies 20 miles due north of Mormon Lake with trails leading into the southern part of Walnut Canyon. Take the Vista Loop Trail out of the campground to reach the cliffs on the northern end of the campground known as the Pit, where the south-facing rocks invite year-round climbing.
Bolted routes are visible as you approach. The campground closes during the winter, but parking spots outside the gate allow access to the climb.
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Do You Know Jack?
Jack’s Canyon lies 35 miles east of Mormon Lake, with sheer limestone walls riddled with pockets and areas of sandstone. The canyon has about 300 routes characterized by rims of stone that look like blocks and provide overhanging routes.
Jack’s Canyon has a primitive campground with a pit toilet at the trailhead and trails leading to different climbing areas in the canyon. Enjoy sun-drenched climbs against south-facing canyon walls during winter months and tuck into a shaded side canyon in the summer. Paved roads leading to the canyon are open year-round.
Along the Moose’s Butte
Head west to Sedona where you’ll find areas to climb among red sandstone cliffs. Navigate the maze of forest roads from Mormon Lake and cross under Interstate 17 to connect with Schnebly Hill Road for a scenic descent into red rock country with a dozen climbing routes along the way.
Ascend more than 150 feet up red rock fingers for a 360-degree panoramic view via the Skyline route or 300 feet at Pope’s Dick on Moose’s Butte. Moose’s Butte has other climbing routes — some of which require a 45-minute hike to reach — but all gain you views of Sedona landmarks such as Midgley Bridge, the red canyonlands and the town of Sedona.
Riding the Storm Out
When winter weather makes getting out to natural areas difficult, climb indoors at one of Flagstaff’s two indoor climbing gyms. Downtown Crag is nestled in Flagstaff’s historic downtown area and has more than 7,000 square feet of varied climbing walls catering to every ability level, from novice to expert.
Main Street Boulders, also centrally located, has over 2,000 square feet of terrain to tackle. Take classes to enhance your climbing abilities, plan a team-building group climb or hire a guide to help you find new outdoor areas in the Mormon Lake area.
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