A nice spot to climb in Ohio, especially for those who enjoy toprope climbing.

If you are new to climbing, someone who really enjoys toprope climbing or if you live in west central Ohio and are looking to climb somewhere within a reasonable driving distance, John Bryan State Park is a great option. Equipment is not provided and all climbers are encouraged to use safe climbing practice

When you pull into the entrance of the park you will pass a camp office and then will want to take a slight right into the parking lot to park. From the parking lot you will want to head left toward the park and picnic area. Look for a picnic table located near the entrance of the woods and you will find a trail map (about 100 yards from parking lot). Take the North Rim Trail. 

Along the North Rim Trail are 6 designated climbing sites and each site offers 2-3 sets of bolts, making a total of 18 climbable routes. The sites are designated by color. From west to east they go red, blue, green, pink, black, orange and yellow. The routes are around 25-35 feet high and range from 5.3-5.12. Some of the bolts are harder to find than others. Check all side trails to look for bolts. Most of the side trails lead to areas that you can visibly see bolts, other trails are overgrown and hide the bolts.  

Once you have chosen a spot you would like to climb and have set up your anchor system you will need to find a trail that will take you down to the rock face. There is typically a trail off to the right anywhere from 10-30 feet after each climbing site. These trails do not have specific names. Once you find a trail to go down, follow the rock face until you reach the area with your rope. After you finish climbing be sure to leave the area just as clean as you found it. 

If you are not familiar with setting up toprope anchors this article is very helpful: http://www.climbing.com/skills...

You can only toprope or rappel at the John Bryan State Park, no bouldering or lead climbing is allowed. 

The John Bryan State Park is not a place to go if you are looking for multi-pitches or long routes. It is much smaller compared to something like the Red River Gorge or New River Gorge. 

If you make a full day of climbing and don't feel like driving home, you have the option to camp at the John Bryan State Park Campground. The campground is located directly behind the parking lot you park at and is more or less a giant field with several campsites. Each campsite is fairly large and has a picnic table, fire pit and grate. After a long day of climbing, it is not a bad place to pitch a tent and relax by a fire! If you plan to camp on the weekend it is best to make a reservation, the campground fills up quickly. There are not many campsites for hammocks.

This link offers more information about the climbing, as well as the route ratings (click difficulty at the bottom for route ratings) :http://www.johnbryan.org/rock-... 

Map of climbing routes: https://parks.ohiodnr.gov/Port...

Pack List

  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Sunscreen (some rock faces get a lot of sun)
  • Climbing gear (rope, rope bag, harness, shoes, chalk bag, belay devic, plenty of webbing and carabiners, helmet, etc.)
  • Camping gear if you choose to camp
  • Camera
  • Hiking boots and comfortable shoes to wear while belaying
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Activities Camping, Hiking, Fitness, Rock Climbing
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly


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