Bouldering at Hueco Tanks State Park
Texas › North Mountain Parking Lot
Added by Sarah Williams
Uniquely beautiful desert landscapesLimitless quality boulderingPainted rock art from ancient peoples that once lived in Hueco Tanks
Hueco Tanks is comprised of 3 mountains and 1 spur (a lateral offshoot of a mountain). North Mountain has the most dense bouldering but access requires a reservation. East and West Mountain also offer amazing climbing, but you are required to have a guide to gain entrance to those mountains.
The park is enormous and can offer an endless variety of climbing, whether you're staying for one weekend or several weeks. Equipped with a guidebook of the park, you will easily be able to find phenomenal climbs of all levels. It's easy to find beginner's problems right next expert-level problems, so that your whole group can enjoy a climbing trip at Hueco. The best place to start is the warm up boulders near the parking lot on North Mountain (see map).
Only 70 people are allowed access to North Mountain per day and to gain access you must call Texas State Parks and Wildlife Department in advance. If you plan on climbing in late fall-winter, campsites will fill up very quickly and spots for the North Mountain become available 3 months in advance, so make sure to plan ahead and keep in mind that you can only book 3 days in a row. There are also 10 first-come-first-served spots available for North Mountain each day. If you plan on coming to the park without a reservation on a busy day, be sure to get there very early to wait in line.
To access East Mountain, West Mountain, or East Spur, you must have a certified guide. You can call the park, visit the Hueco Rock Ranch, or go online to find a guiding service. Guides typically run about $25/day/person.
For camping, you must call Texas State Parks and Wildlife Department in advance. If you have a Texas State Parks Pass (which runs $70/annually), your whole car will get into the park for free, and you can get a discount on camping. Just outside of the park is the Hueco Rock Ranch, run by the American Alpine Club, which offers camping with showers, bathrooms, wi-fi, fire pits and slacklines.
- Climbing shoes
- Crash Pad
- Camping equipment (optional)
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Hiking, Rock Climbing
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If you want to a get guide for East or West Mountain check out http://www.bluelizardclimbingandyoga.com/ They do guided climbing, rock art, and yoga tours on the mountains. They're great guides, super knowledgeable about the area and will take awesome pictures!
Most favorite outdoor bouldering spot
Hands down the best spot to boulder. I've been climbing for 8 years now and traveled to several places that include Yosemite, Bishop, JTree, Smith Rock, and the Yukon Territory in Canada, and this is it for bouldering. I absolutely love how all of the routes I've tried resembled that of gym climbing, which is a luxury. The flakes provided excellent holds that were both challenging and fun because you'd have to remain technical with your feet work. Plus, the aesthetics of the route was ideal. A wide variety of things to climb out here on grippy stone. At first, I thought it was lame to have a limited number of people per day and that you'd have to pay a guide to go to places, but after going through the trip, it's worth it. It saves you a lot of time when you have a guide for East and West Mountain, and I highly recommend Colin Barnes if you're looking for a good guide. He's not only an experienced climber but he takes you to where you want to go to. He's really easy going, friendly and is great with communication via email. I don't know what other guides charge, it could be the same amount, but he charges $20 per person per day. (may have changed now) That $20 will get you out of paying the park entrance fee of $7 per person per day. Park entrance fee is $7 per person per day. Depending on the number of days you're staying there and the number of people you're with, it may be just worth it to get the annual park pass. I know that sounds ridiculous especially if you're flying out there and won't be planning to come back that same year, but you save a lot more money that way. To check for guided tours and signing up for one, go to Wagon Wheel Coop's link: http://www.wagonwheelcoopt.com/inside.php North Mountain is super popular and it is unguided. To be able to climb at North Mountain, you may want to reserve passes a month or two in advance because weekends are packed. Once you reserve your passes, you need to be at the park HQ before 10 a.m. or else your passes will be surrendered to the people lined up at the entrance wanting to get into North. So, make sure you get there before 10 a.m. or else you will have to wait in line. Also, you will have to watch a 15 min. film that talks about the park and conservation efforts. **It's about 40 min. from the El Paso airport, so plan for transportation time to the park** We were lucky to see one or two pictographs on the rocks when we were climbing. History on the rocks! Overall, a highly recommended place to climb and hike. Fees left and right, but they're doing a great job at regulating and preserving the history there. I plan to be there same time next year.
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