Sport Climbing Adventures at Maple Canyon

Utah's Best Rock Climbing Destinations

Maple Canyon in central Utah is one of the state's best sport climbing areas.
Eric Horst grabs cobbles on Pipeline (5.11c) at The Pipeline in Maple Canyon. Photograph copyright Stewart M. Green

 

Climbing Area Description

Maple Canyon in the mountains of central Utah offers excellent sport climbing on over 40 cliffs from 30 feet to 300 feet high. The canyon’s rock is conglomerate, a sedimentary rock composed of unsorted cobbles that range from finger-sized to ones the size of a small car. Most of the routes are sport climbs protected by bolts. Almost 400 routes from 5.0 to 5.14 are found at Maple Canyon.

Major climbing cliffs

Box Canyon, Maple Corridor, The Schoolroom, Road Kill Wall, Petroglyph Wall, Engagement Alcove, Orangutan Wall, The Pipeline, Low Standard Cave, Rock Island, Trash Compactor, Oxygen Wall, Minimum Crag, Zen Garden Cragganmore, Damascus Gate, and The Pipe Cream.

Maple Canyon GPS Coordinates

N 39.55694 / W -111.68639

Climbing Equipment

Bring 12 to 20 quickdraws; 200-foot (60-meter) rope is best; helmet for climbing and belaying (cobbles fall off!); and kneepads for kneebars on routes harder than 5.12.

Location

Central Utah. Maple Canyon, on the east flank of the San Pitch Mountains above the broad Sanpete Valley, is south of Salt Lake City and Provo and southeast of Nephi and Interstate 15. Maple Canyon is 100 miles from Salt Lake City and 65 from Provo.

Finding the Climbing Area

From Salt Lake City and Provo, drive south on Interstate 15 to Exit 225 at Nephi. Drive east on Utah 132 for 14 miles to Fountain Green.

Turn right (west) on the south side of town and follow signs to Maple Canyon. The road heads west then south for 7 miles to the abandoned townsite of Freedom. Turn right (west) on the marked road and drive a couple miles to Maple Canyon.

From Interstate 70 and Salina to the south, drive north on US 89 and Utah 132 to Moroni.

Turn left (west) on the west side of town on the road marked Maple Canyon and drive west to Freedrom Road. Turn right (north) and follow signs to Maple Canyon.

The road into Maple Canyon becomes gravel at the canyon entrance. It is rough and dusty in places. The road may be impassable in winter and early spring. It is usually possible to drive to the campground until Thanksgiving.

Management Agency

U.S. Forest Service. Most of Maple Canyon is in Manti-La Sal National Forest. The lower east part of the canyon, including the popular climbing venue Box Canyon, is private property.

For More Information

Manti-La Sal National Forest
599 West Price River Drive
Price, UT 84501
Phone: (435) 637-2817

Restrictions and Access Issues

There are no current climbing restrictions or access issues in the Manti-La Sal National Forest section of Maple Canyon. Box Canyon is on private property and is currently open to climbing. Irresponsible use, however, could change that situation. Be a responsible climber and land user.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Always use the toilets at the campground area.
  • Park your vehicle in designated parking areas in the campground (daily parking fee charged) or park in pullouts. Make sure your vehicle is completely off the road.
  • Parking is a big problem on busy days, especially weekends. If you’re camping, leave your vehicle at your campsite. Carpool or walk to the cliff sectors.
  • Follow existing trails and climber paths to the crags. Avoid creating new trails or hiking across fragile vegetation including ferns.
  • Dogs are not allowed in Box Canyon. Pick up your dog’s business elsewhere and pack it out.
  • Pack out all your trash. Pick up after yourself and others to keep Maple Canyon pristine.

Climbing Seasons

May through October. Summers are great with plenty of shaded cliffs and generally mild temperatures. September and October are excellent but mornings can be cold in Box Canyon and on north-facing crags. Winter is cold and snowy—lots of superb ice climbs form up.

Guide Books and Websites

by Stewart M. Green (Falcon Guides 1998).

Currently being revised and updated by the author for release in 2012.
Maple Canyon Rock Climbing by Jason Stevens (1999). Out-of-print but available as an on-line PDF.
 

Camping and Services

Maple Canyon Campground with 13 sites is open mid-May through October. The campground has toilets, but no water. Water is available in Fountain Green and Moroni. Sites have tables and firepits. This is a fee area ($8.00). Other sites ($3.00) without services are between the forest boundary and the campground along the canyon road.

Primitive camping sites are available in the national forest and along the road below the national forest sign. Bring trash bags to pack all your trash out for the campground.

If you can plan ahead, book a campsite for $8.00 a night with a table, fire pit, flat tent area, and nearby restroom at ReserveAmerica.com. The weekends tend to fill up fast so reserve well ahead of time. If you want to chance it you can show up and find one of the first-come first-served sites for $3.00 a night; but they're usually filled with long-term climber-campers.

Climber Services

All services in Nephi, Mount Pleasant, Ephraim, and Manti. Limited services at Moroni and Fountain Green.

  • Telephone service, primarily Verizon, is available in parts of Maple Canyon including the campground area.
  • Laundry The nearest laundromat is in Mount Pleasant.
  • Water is available in all the towns.
  • Wifi The nearest place to pick up wifi for your computer is at the McDonald’s Restaurant in Ephraim.
  • Showers are available for a nominal fee at the Snow College Rec Center in Ephraim.

Climbing Shops and Guide Services

None are in the immediate vicinity of Maple Canyon. The nearest climbing shops are in Provo, including Mountainworks.