Emigrant Lake offers sunny single pitch cragging up sandstone cliffs overlooking the reservoir.


With an unobstructed SSW aspect and a short approach, the 30ft to 80ft cliffs at Emigrant Lake offer easy, year-round climbing. The cliff band is located within the county park recreation area featuring overnight camping and a water park. Most routes are bolted for lead climbing, with only a handful requiring trad gear. The top anchors are bolted, and with an easy scramble to the top of the cliff, most routes are easily top-roped. Note that Aqua Wall is seasonally under water as the reservoir level fluctuates. Watch out for poison oak!

Access issues

Day use fee is $4 (as of 2013). No day use is allowed after sunset, including climbing.


The cliff band is located at the north end of the reservoir. Follow driving directions to Emigrant Lake County Park. Once inside the park, cross the bridge over the spillway and park at the trailhead at the far end of the RV park. A 10 minute walk down the trail brings you to the cliff band. When the water is low, you can also just walk along the beach, which may lessen your exposure to poison oak along the trail.

Where to stay

RV camping is available within the park year-round. Tent camping is only available during the summer months. Check the county park webpage for specific dates and fees:


History timeline chart

The reservoir was constructed in 1924 and expanded in 1960. The cliff saw active development during the early 1990s by a small cadre of local climbers and was for a while home of the hardest sport climb in southern Oregon.

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Selected Guidebooks more Hide

Author(s): East Wind Design

Date: 2021

ISBN: 9780999723357

Color 3rd Edition:
Providing an in-depth look at many premier rock climbing sites within a relatively convenient drive from Portland, the color 3rd edition of Northwest Oregon Rock helps you ascend to the next degree.
  • Informative beta details 800+ routes at over 75 different rock climbing sites across Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington, including both sides of the Cascades
  • Climbing sites include Chimney Rocks, Horsethief Butte, Enola, Pete's Pile, Bulo Point, Area51 and the summit of Needle Rock, among other crags and alpine pinnacles
  • This definitive reference guidebook will help you focus on your next climbing goal with rich details, effective route beta, detailed ink topos and photographic maps

Author(s): East Wind Design

Date: 2019

ISBN: 9780999723326

Featuring the best bouldering sites in the Columbia River Gorge, Gorge Bouldering Select captures the essence of its core areas with valuable details and photographs as your guide to scale the rocks.

Bouldering sites featured include Larch Mountain Boulders, Alpenglow Boulders, Hamilton Boulders, Horsethief Butte and Empire Boulders

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