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Joe's Valley Bouldering: Utah's Gift to the Climbing World

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

Come ye climbers of the world, gather 'round and settle in for a story about the land of bouldering that's better than a fairytale...because it's real life in Utah. There's a remote land just 18 miles east of Orangeville, Utah that will ruin everywhere else you go--and nothing will ever compare (#sorrynotsorry). And so we give you... Joe's Valley.

In return, we simply ask that you practice LEAVE NO TRACE principles to keep this place pretty and enjoyable. Pack out your trash, stay on the trails, etc. Take care. Joe's Valley needs to stick around for your kids' kids' kids, right?

So what makes this place so great anyway?

• Sandstone boulders with a texture that's grippy enough to keep you moving through a route, and keeps your skin relatively unscathed--think of it as a spa exfoliation treatment while you're getting a healthy dose of v2-v13.

• Most approaches are only a few minutes. Easy access heaven.

• Landings are perfectly flat (almost).

• Joe's Valley Reservoir is right there when you need some water therapy and shade.

• Orangeville's grocery store, the Food Ranch, not only stocks groceries (obviously), but they've even got some of the things you may have left in your other duffle bag o' gear (chalk, guide books, and energy drinks galore).

Climber sending of Baldwin Bash, a very short, but powerful problem found up in Dairy Canyon. (Photo courtesy of Andy Wickstrom.)

Don't Miss : Joe's Valley Fest

Joe's Valley Climbing Fest takes place every fall, and hosts competitive climbers of all skill levels from all over the globe. Join the good folks of Orangeville and Castle Dale to celebrate the history and community that make this amazing place possible. Learn More Here.

Climber near the top of the delicate slab climb, Michaelangelo, located in the Right Fork. (Photo courtesy of Andy Wickstrom.)

How to Get to Joe's Valley

Salt Lake City to Joe's Valley

It's like heading to Moab...but then you don't.

• Head south on I-15

• Then continue on to Hwy 6 towards Price

• From Price, take UT-10

• Take Hwy 29, pass the Food Ranch

• Turn right at the Y and continue up the canyon for other climbing locations or Joe's Valley Reservoir

• If you're looking for New Joe's, turn north on Hwy 57 or continue up the canyon

ADD THE SCENIC ROUTE: THE ENERGY LOOP (Huntington-Eccles Canyons National Scenic Byway)

• From Hwy 6, take Hwy 89 towards Manti

• From Fairview, take Hwy 31 to the town of Huntington

• Turn south at the intersection of 31 & 10

Climber figuring out the footwork on the tricky, but classic boulder problem, Kill By Numbers, in Left Fork. (Photo courtesy of Andy Wickstrom.)

8 Routes to Try

01. The Angler | V2 | Riverside BouldersWords commonly used to describe the route: aesthetic, easy, tricky start, classic, beginning crux

02. Amtrak | V4 | Riverside BouldersWords commonly used to describe the route: awkward start, tricky, scary topout

03. Feels Like Grit | V6 | Riverside BouldersWords commonly used to describe the route: arete, classic, cool, reachy

04. Low Tide | V6 | Riverside BouldersWords commonly used to describe the route: slaps, tension, underclings, fun, fantasticNote: route can only be done when river is low

05. Raiden | V6 | Raiden AreaWords commonly used to describe the route: steep, jugs, crimps, footwork

06. The Kraken | V4 | Raiden AreaWords commonly used to describe the route: classic, highball, crimps, beginning crux, pockets

07. Wills of Fire | V6 | Right Sign AreaWords commonly used to describe the route: fun, gaston, fingerlock, seamNote: This landing is messy. Make sure your spotters are paying attention to avoid any broken ankles in the pile of sticks and logs at the bottom.

08. Beyond Life | V10 | Right Sign AreaWords commonly used to describe the route: gorgeous, tension-filled, fine, greatest problem, side-pull

More info on Mountain Project.


Joe's Reservoir Campground | 49 Sites | Fishing, BoatingSingle unit: $10 / nightDouble unit: $18 / night

Huntington State Park (45 minutes to the north)

Millsite State Park (45 minutes to the south)

Hotels, Motels & B&B's

Castle Valley Ranch | Emery, UtahSometimes camping is over-rated--especially when you pass the age of 30, and all you really care about is getting a good night's rest because your body doesn't recover as quickly after a day of crimping and pumping. If you stay at Castle Valley Ranch, you'll definitely have to take advantage of their fly fishing and horseback riding tours. Climb for a couple of days, and then kick back on the river.

San Rafael Bed & Breakfast | Castle Dale, UtahSmack dab in the middle of the Manti La Sal Mountains and the San Rafael Swell--situated for adventure all day every day. And cozy to boot.

Cox Lodging | Where Joe's meets the San Rafael Swell. We'd call it an adventure hub.

Food (Glorious Food)

We already told you about the Food Ranch grocery store. Use it. Here's some of our other food venues in the area:

R Pizza Place : Pastas, pizzas, salads and amazing calzonesFatty's Pizza & Grill : Pizza, burgers, sandwiches, salads and desserts

What to Pack


Joe's Valley is at about 7,000 feet above sea level--which means it's in the high desert where temperatures can vary greatly within 24 hours. Days can get really hot while nights are a bit chilly. Layers, layers, layers. You might be in shorts and a tank top during the day, but you'll want a fleece when in the shade or when the sun goes down. Winters are snowy--not much climbing to do, but Utah always surprises even the locals with warm spells mixed in throughout the winter months. Always check the weather.


• Climbing shoes

• Crash pad (bring 2 if you can)

• Chalk bag

• Chalk -- use as little as possible. This place is well-used, but we don't want it to show.

• Bags to carry out your trash...LEAVE NO TRACE!

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We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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