Living in Boulder has countless benefits. There is a coffee shop, trail run, or climbing gym on every corner, but most importantly, the Front Range is littered with boulders and sport crags. If you’ve only got an afternoon to spend climbing, there are a handful of spots within a fifteen-minute drive or short hike. The list here is certainly not exhaustive, but these three locations have some great rock and quality lines.

  1. Flagstaff

Flagstaff is an epicenter for bouldering. Some love it, some hate it, but if you are looking for roadside boulders, this is the place to go. The rough granite at Flagstaff can be a bit sharp, but makes for an overall great day of climbing. Some classics include: Valhalla (V7), Beer Barrel (V0), and the entire Cloud Shadow area, located just behind the prominent Capstan Boulder. Overall, Flagstaff is a fun place for those new to climbing as well as those looking to push their limits on quality rock close to home.

Jim Holloway bouldering at Flagstaff Photo Credit: Bob Horan,

Jim Holloway bouldering at Flagstaff
Photo Credit: Bob Horan,

  1. The Satellite Boulders

Nestled near the base of the Third Flatiron is a small cluster of granite boulders. The rock here is not quite as sharp as Flagstaff and can easily fill a day (and more!) of climbing without shredding your skin. During the summer, temperatures here are not conducive to hard climbing, so I recommend checking out these boulders early morning or late afternoon. However, the Satellites are home to a wide array of climbs ranging in difficulty from V0 to V12, and, even if you don’t plan on climbing, this is always a great place to hike and meet some climbing locals.

Classic Climb: "Fleshfest" Photo Credit: Misha Zavalov,

Classic Climb: “Fleshfest”
Photo Credit: Misha Zavalov,

  1. Boulder Canyon

All hail Boulder Canyon. For those looking to sport climb, trad climb, or boulder, it is hard to beat the rock quality and approach times in the Canyon. Though boulders here can be a bit sparse, there are plenty of excellent problems located mostly along the creek (also home to great tubing, sunbathing and fishing). Sport climbing in the canyon is spectacular and, as there is climbing on the north and south side, you can usually find a shady spot to escape from blazing summer temperatures. Climbing here involves a steep, short approach up trails throughout the length of the canyon, but the great views and classic lines make it well worth the effort.

Aerial Shot of Boulder Canyon. Photo Credit: Dave Fiorucci,

Aerial Shot of Boulder Canyon.
Photo Credit: Dave Fiorucci,

Rainy Day Bonus Spot – The Hobo Cave

Hidden just beneath Flagstaff is the Hobo Cave. This place is not anywhere to write home about and probably won’t make you famous on Instagram, but, the climbing is all beneath a small roof usually stays dry even on the rainiest of days. The Hobo Cave can be a bit tricky to find, but follow Gregory Trail a short distance from the road and you should see the dark, mysterious cave just to the right of the trail.

For all of these locations, more detailed beta and directions can be found on or in Colorado Bouldering: Front Range by Phillip Benningfield and Matt Samet.