What makes rock climbing in El Dorado County so unique? Besides the gorgeous scenery of Lake Tahoe, Desolation Wilderness, and the Sierra, you’ll find many high quality and classic climbs, including multipitch trad, sport routes and toprope crags. In addition, there’s a wide variety of climbs, ranging from moderate slabs to expert crack climbs.  

Bouldering

In addition to roped climbing, there are many great bouldering areas within El Dorado County. Some notable areas include Sugarloaf, Phantom Spires, Wrights Lake, Loon Lake, Lovers Leap, Pie Shop, DL Bliss, Echo Summit, Luther Pass, and Christmas Valley. 

Foothills Region

Auburn Quarry

Near Cool, CA and accessed by hiking back along the south side of the Middle fork of the American River, this is a popular local sport climbing crag
Climbing: Sport
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Cosumnes River Gorge

A wide variety of grades and styles near the town of Placerville along the Cosumnes River. A good crag with top roping and good for beginners. The swimming holes are a great way to cool off, but be careful of dangerous high water in the spring. 
Climbing: Sport | Trad | Bouldering
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Highway 50 Corridor

Highway 50 runs up the American River Canyon and is the route traveled when driving from Placerville to Lake Tahoe over Echo Summit. Along the way, there are several notable climbing areas. 

Sugarloaf

Considered the closest climbing to Yosemite, Sugarloaf is a 400-foot granite spire just above Kyburz. It’s got a variety of climbs for all levels, and its low elevation and south-facing aspect make it ideal for winter climbing.
Climbing: Trad | Sport
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Phantom Spires

Located north of Kyburz, these pronounced, exposed rock formations make for great climbing from late fall to early summer. 
Climbing: Trad | Sport
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Phantom Spires

Lovers Leap

Perhaps the most legendary climbing destination in El Dorado County and one of the premier climbing destinations in California, Lovers Leap is a massive monolith near the town of Strawberry. Visible from Highway 50, Lover’s Leap is a dramatic landmark on the way to South Lake Tahoe. You’ll find many multi-pitched moderate to advanced routes on highly featured rock offering steep, fun climbs. The Main Formation and Lower Buttress offer a variety of climbs, while the Hogsback area offers many moderate trad routes for aspiring leaders. Most routes are multipitch with a walk off at the top. There is also some bouldering at the base of Lovers Leap. Strawberry Station is a great general store with an attached gear shop. Lovers Leap Guides is a great guide service in the area which has been operating for many years. 
Climbing: Trad | Sport | Bouldering
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Annabel Maguire on the last pitch of Corrugation Corner 5.7 main wall, Lovers Leap


Aidan Maguire on Rehab 5.11b, Lovers Leap

 

South Lake Tahoe/Meyers

Echo Lakes

Known more as a hiking spot than a climbing spot, Echo Lakes boasts a variety of advanced climbs off the beaten path. Most of the routes are found on Lower Echo Lake, visible from the PCT. It’s not entirely about the climbing here. The gorgeous blue lakes, stark granite, and forests of Desolation Wilderness make for a stunning backdrop.
Climbing: Trad | Sport | Bouldering
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Berkeley Camp Rocks

Atop Echo Summit, just below Berkeley Camp, is a set of 40-60 foot walls with 10 or so climbs (5.6-12b). Some sport routes may have the ability to setup a toprope before hiking or rappelling to the base of the climbs. 
Climbing: Sport | TR
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Meyers Slab

This recently developed area offers well-bolted, moderate low-angle slab climbs to test your friction technique. About halfway up Echo Summit, at the big hairpin turn with the avalanche gun tower, there are several single pitch climbs as well as a few multipitch climbs higher up. Divided Sky (5.7) is a 3 pitch slab climb great for new leaders working on multipitch protocol and rope management. MU (5.9) is a slightly steeper climb right next door. There are even some 5.0-5.4 routes in the area for kids or first time climbers. 
Climbing: Sport
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Pie Shop

Located in South Lake Tahoe off Sawmill Road in a residential area, this is a popular spot. You’ll find lots of single pitch climbs and bouldering routes on classic Tahoe granite. Fun fact: it was named for a nearby bakery that’s no longer around. The popular and expansive bouldering area is just off the road before you reach the Pie Shop climbs.
Climbing: Trad | Bouldering
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Luther Spires

A steep hike off the Tahoe Rim Trail from Luther Pass takes you to a crag with several spires with steep, high quality rock with bolted sport routes.
Climbing: Sport
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Emerald Bay

90 Foot Wall

Busy, but convenient toprope area that’s a short walk from Eagle Falls Trailhead at Emerald Bay. You can easily set up a top rope at one of the many anchors at the top of the cliff with climbs from moderate to advanced routes. 
Climbing: TR | Trad
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Eagle Lake

Another mile up the trail from the Eagle Falls loop is Eagle Lake, home to some great trad climbing and a few sport routes. 
Climbing: Trad | Sport
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Space Walk (5.11c), Eagle Lake

Mayhem Cove

Advanced sport climbing routes with amazing views of Emerald Bay
Climbing: Sport
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Helpful Resources

tahoe climbing guide

Guidebook

South Lake Tahoe Climbing

by Chris MacNamara

This is the definitive guidebook for the Tahoe area and covers all the areas mentioned on this page. 

lovers leap guides

Courses and Guide Service

Lovers Leap Guides

Founded in 2003, the most popular and experienced climbing guide service at Lover’s Leap. Guides are AMGA trained, knowledgeable, and fun! The head guide is certified by the AMGA as a Rock Instructor and offers courses on how to trad climb, multipitch climb, and self-rescue. 

Gear

Sports LTD

Full inventory or climbing and other outdoor gear located in South Lake Tahoe near Stateline. 

Gym

Blue Granite Climbing Gym

South Lake Tahoe’s only full-scale rock-climbing gym offers rope climbing, bouldering, fitness equipment, yoga and climbing classes. Located on Hwy 50 near the Y as you head into South Lake Tahoe from Meyers.