Use this Region Guide to easily find and compare Crags.

Table of contents

1. Iowa 59 routes in Region

Mostly Unknown

Long/Lat: -93.547006, 42.116513

1.1. Backbone State Park 24 routes in Crag

All Unknown

Long/Lat: -91.557650, 42.615980

1.1.1. Twin Crack Area 3 routes in Area


1.1.2. Drive In 6 routes in Area


1.1.3. BB East 15 routes in Area


1.1.4. The Barrel 0 routes in Area

1.1.5. Second Bench Buttress 0 routes in Area

1.1.6. Catacombs 0 routes in Area

1.1.7. Cakewalk 0 routes in Area

1.1.8. BB West 0 routes in Area

1.1.9. BB South 0 routes in Area

1.2. Picture Rocks Park 27 routes in Crag

Mostly Unknown

Long/Lat: -91.083167, 42.206533

Unique Features And Strengths:

The park has about 50 bolted climbs on overhanging pocketed Devonian Limestone. The bulk of the climbs are in the 5.10-5.11 range, which makes the crag moderate by Iowa Standards. Also, it has been recently rebolted, so the bolts are fresh, and because it is heavily climbed there is the minimum amount of loose choss. Pictured Rocks is a good choice for people who are just getting into sport climbing, or who want to get out and catch a quick pump.

Classic Routes include Tarzan, Virgin Lemonade, Superfly and Flash.


Follow the signs for Camp Courageous, off of 38s south of Monticello Iowa. Keep going past the camp and down the road into the park. The climbs are for the most part located off of the well developed trail that departs on the other side of the picnic shelter.

Access Issues:

The land is owned by the state of Iowa as a hunting preserved, but they have handed over administration of the land to the Jones County Conservation Board. There is a bolting committee that is trusted with making sure the hardware is in good condition.


The climbs are for the most part close to the parking lot and easy to find. The two exceptions are Chicago wall that is around the other side of the bluff leading up to the boat ramp, and Windy Point which is a 20 minute walk north along the top of the bluffs.

Where To Stay:

You can no longer camp in the park, however, there are camp sites at other parks in Jones County.


Pictured Rocks is a very heavily used park, that is popular for trout fishing, canoeing, deer hunting, picnicking and hiking. Be nice to people you meet, and clean up after yourself. The Jones County Parks people have been accommodating to us, so be a good citizen in return.

In Iowa, we don't drape ropes off of everything that we want to climb, as the scene is not crowded, and you rarely have to wait. If you are going to top rope a route several times, and it is equipped with sport shuts, hang your own draws to minimize wear and tear on the hardware.

Finally, stay on the established trails, don't do things that will kill trees like wrapping webbing on them that will damage the bark. The rangers don't want you slacklining.


Pictured Rocks was probably the first sport crag developed in Iowa. Most of the development took place in the 1990's. The only printed guide to the area was Sean Kinzel's "Wild Iowa" guide book.

1.3. Pilot Knob State Park 1 route in Crag

All Unknown

Long/Lat: -93.556449, 43.252468

1.4. Des Moines 0 routes in Crag

1.5. Yellow River State Forest 0 routes in Crag

1.6. Palisades Kepler State Park 0 routes in Crag

1.7. Maquoketa Caves State Park 0 routes in Crag

Unique Features And Strengths:

Magnificent trails on the surface, and many caves to explore.


Closed to climbing.

Access Issues:

"Climbing or rappelling is not permitted at the Ledges State Park, Boone County; Dolliver State Park, Webster County; Wildcat Den State Park, Muscatine County; Mines of Spain Recreation Area, Dubuque County; Maquoketa Caves State Park, Jackson County; Elk Rock State Park, Marion County and Stone State Park, Woodbury and Plymouth counties."


Respect the closure to climbing.

1.8. Ledges State Park 0 routes in Crag

1.9. Bridge Pillars 0 routes in Crag

1.10. Lime Creek 0 routes in Crag

1.11. X - Girlfriend 0 routes in Crag

1.12. Bush Creek Canyon 0 routes in Crag

1.13. Ice Cave Boulder 0 routes in Crag

1.14. Pulpit Rock 0 routes in Crag

1.15. Hillside 0 routes in Crag

1.16. Hoot Bluff 4 routes in Crag

All Sport

1.17. Indian Bluff 0 routes in Crag

1.18. Chimney Rock Cliffs, Bluffton 1 route in Crag

All Unknown

1.19. Siewers Spring State Park 2 routes in Crag

All Unknown

Long/Lat: -91.775784, 43.270563

1.20. Wyalusing 0 routes in Area