Joe's Valley Bouldering : Utah's Gift to the Climbing World
May 9, 2016
By: Ann Whittaker
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--nothing will compare. Behold! 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, right?
So what makes this place so great anyway? We'll prove it:
• 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).
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.
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
8 Routes to Try
01. The Angler | V2 | Riverside Boulders
Words commonly used to describe the route: aesthetic, easy, tricky start, classic, beginning crux
02. Amtrak | V4 | Riverside Boulders
Words commonly used to describe the route: awkward start, tricky, scary topout
03. Feels Like Grit | V6 | Riverside Boulders
Words commonly used to describe the route: arete, classic, cool, reachy
04. Low Tide | V6 | Riverside Boulders
Words commonly used to describe the route: slaps, tension, underclings, fun, fantastic
Note: route can only be done when river is low
05. Raiden | V6 | Raiden Area
Words commonly used to describe the route: steep, jugs, crimps, footwork
06. The Kraken | V4 | Raiden Area
Words commonly used to describe the route: classic, highball, crimps, beginning crux, pockets
07. Wills of Fire | V6 | Right Sign Area
Words commonly used to describe the route: fun, gaston, fingerlock, seam
Note: 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 Area
Words commonly used to describe the route: gorgeous, tension-filled, fine, greatest problem, sidepull
More info on Mountain Project
Joe's Reservoir Campground | 49 Sites | Fishing, Boating
Single unit: $10 / night
Double 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, Utah
Sometimes 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, Utah
Smack 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.
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 calzones
Fatty'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!