Earlier this summer, I traveled to Colorado to do some rock climbing. I met up with two of my lifelong friends (Tyson/Derek). Tyson suggested that we go to Turkey Rocks; a climbing area near South Platte, Colorado. After we learned about all the classic moderate climbing in the area, we were really excited to check it out.
We called the local US Forest Service station to inquire about the dispersed camping. We learned that you must camp in designated areas marked along the road. They also thanked us for inquiring about current fire restrictions. During our stay, fires were allowed. However, this is not always the case.
We loaded up the truck with our gear and started making our way from Denver to Turkey Rocks. The drive down into South Platte was relatively quick from Denver. However, the road up into the mountains was slow going. A vehicle with 4WD and clearance would be ideal, but during the summer, it’s probably not required.
On arrival, we found an awesome campsite near the Turkey Rocks trailhead. We set up camp, had a bite to eat, grabbed our climbing gear, and made our way up to the Turkey Rocks Trailhead.
The Turkey Rocks approach trail is a great trail. If you keep the pace up, you will work moderately hard for about 15 minutes to reach the top. The formation sits at about 8200ft and the trail ascends fairly quickly through a series of switchbacks.
At the top, we explored several of the formations but ended up climbing mostly at Turkey Perch. Turkey Perch is an awesome little crag. The formation is loaded with high quality 5.7-5.9 cracks, the base of the formation is comfortable, and all descents are walk-off. We ended up climbing the following routes listed below. (Routes designated with asterisks ** were my favorite leads)
- Easy Chimney
- Reefer Madness **
- Dash and Thrangle
- Gobble Up | (Video)
- Honky Jam Ass Crack
- Left Handed Jew ** | (Video)
- Bloody Englishman | (Video)
The rock quality at Turkey Rocks is superb. The cracks are splitter and the overall atmosphere of the place is pretty special.
We did experience two large thunderstorms during our 4-day stay. I was leading Dash and Thrangle as we noticed some weather rolling in from the southwest. By the time we finished the route, we were scrambling to get down the mountain. The thunderstorms approached quicker than expected and the lighting was a little too close for comfort.
All in all, we had a really great trip. There’s nothing quite like pooping in holes, showering in rivers, being in the mountains, and sending pitches with your boys.
- Call the USFS South Platte Ranger District to inquire about fire restrictions if you plan on camping. It’s the right thing to do!
- If you have to restock your supplies, there really isn’t a “close” supermarket to do so. This includes ice. So, if you’re spending multiple days out there, pack everything you need if you don’t want to spend a day resupplying.
- Designated campsites along the road in do have fire rings.
- There are no bathrooms. Bring a shovel and some wag bags.
- If you use Google Maps to navigate, you may find yourself in the Turkey Rock Ranch Estates. Which, is a no-no. Apparently, they aren’t too fond of climbers. It’s best to follow the instructions listed on Mountain Project or in the Guidebook.
- Keep an eye out for storms.
- Pack out all trash and waste.