Rock Climbing at State Parks and Forests
There are few activities more challenging than rock climbing. Climbers have long used cliffs, rock outcroppings, boulders, and other rock formations for climbing purposes with virtually no restrictions on Pennsylvania state forest land.
State parks have permitted this activity only in those specific locations posted open to rock climbing.
Visitors should not climb other locations so as to not damage fragile habitats. Visitors must come prepared with their own equipment and use extreme caution.
DCNR Rock Climbing Guidelines (PDF)
Rock Climbing in State Parks
Listed below are the locations where rock climbing is permitted in state parks.
Zoom in on the map using the zoom tool on the left. Clicking on a park in the map will reveal an information box with a listing of amenities in the park and a link to the park homepage.
McConnells Mill State Park
Two climbing and rappelling areas at McConnells Mill State Park are available to properly equipped and experienced climbers:
The Rim Road Climbing Area is across the creek from the Old Mill. Limited parking is available along Rim Road, access the area from McConnells Mill Road, west of the covered bridge.
The Breakneck Bridge area more advanced and rugged.
Numerous accidents have occurred in this area resulting in serious injuries. Please exercise extreme caution when climbing or hiking in these areas.
Rappelling is prohibited from the bridges, rocky areas along park roads, or any other areas outside of the two designated climbing areas.
Ohiopyle State Park
Numerous climbing opportunities exist in Ohiopyle State Park:
All areas have a combination of top-roping and sport routes for climbers of all abilities.
The short entrance trails leading to the rock faces are blazed in blue. Inexperienced climbers should consider a guided trip with one of the outfitters in Ohiopyle.
Ralph Stover State Park
Cliff access is for technical rock climbing only
Climbing safety equipment is required in the High Rocks Climbing Area of Ralph Stover State Park. Your safety is your responsibility. The park does not maintain fixed anchors and hardware, cliff faces, or climbing routes for climber safety.
Cell service throughout the park is unreliable. In case of emergency, call 911 from cell or emergency phone located in parking area.
The cliffs and trails at High Rocks are a joint ownership by the state of Pennsylvania and Bucks County. Within Ralph Stover and Tohickon Valley parks, the cliff faces are made of a common Bucks County rock, red Brunswick shale, which formed along an ancient fault line. The scenic overlooks of the Tohickon Creek Gorge at High Rocks Vista offer fantastic views of the creek flowing below, which splits Ralph Stover State Park in two.
Ranging from 30 ft to 150 ft high and extending about ¾ mile long, High Rocks offers close to 100 climbing routes consisting mostly of top rope and traditional climbing. Some areas along the trail closer to the creek edge may be conducive to bouldering.
Placing additional fixed hardware or anchors is prohibited unless approved by park management.
Since High Rocks is one of the premier climbing areas in eastern Pennsylvania, the High Rocks parking lot at 150 Tory Road in Pipersville, PA is often full. Parking along Tory Road outside of the parking lot is prohibited and will result in ticketing and/or towing at owners expense. Trails to access the scenic overlooks and climbing areas start across the road from the parking lot.
Additional parking is nearby in the day use area of Ralph Stover State Park or at Tohickon Valley Park, which also provides an interconnected trail system leading to the cliff faces.
The day use area of Ralph Stover State Park at 6011 State Park Road, Pipersville, PA includes:
- Picnic tables
- Access to fishing
- Whitewater boating, when conditions permit
From the day use area, the cliff faces can be reached via a moderately steep, one mile hike on Stover Park Road and then High Rocks Trail.
State park educators offer occasional introduction to rock climbing courses open to the public. For more information about these and other educational opportunities at Ralph Stover State Park, visit the calendar of events.
Rock Climbing in State Forests
Rock climbing, rappelling, and bouldering is permitted on state forest land in areas where ecological, environmental, geological, archaeological, or historic resources or values will not be impacted to a significant extent.
Contact the state forest you plan on visiting for more information.