Elevated Nature for the Experienced

Blog Category
Discover Nature Notes
Published Display Date
May 14, 2024

Rockwoods Reservation in St. Louis County has a long recreational history in St. Louis, offering a taste of the Ozarks in the suburbs west of downtown.

Several miles of trails wind through forests, by springs and caves, and scenic overlooks with limestone bluffs.  A recent partnership offers a new recreational opportunity with elevated nature for experienced adventurers. 



Sport Climbing


Through a conservation partnership with BETA FUND, climbing routes were developed in a bluff in an old limestone quarry.  A lot of work was involved to clear away brush and loose gravel to create climbing routes and access. The bluff is east facing with morning sun and afternoon shade.  It is open all year but is not staffed with guides. Please note these routes are at the 109 Bluff are intended for use only by competent and responsible climbers who know how to climb, clean, and belay properly. Proper training is essential before using 109 Bluff at Rockwoods Reservation.  For those new or interested in climbing, contact BETA FUND.

Climbing offers physical and mental benefits as well as an elevated view of the surrounding nature.  There is a certain amount of stamina required for climbing.  There are various climbing gyms to build up muscle and strength as well as other fitness preparations to be ready for a climb. There is risk in most recreation, and climbing requires safety and responsible practices to prevent accidents and have an enjoyable time.  Below are some guidelines form BETA FUND for climbing at Rockwoods Reservation:

  • Call 911 for all medical emergencies.
  • Loose rock is present. Use extreme caution and climb on designated routes only.
  • No access is allowed on top of the bluff due to steep, leaf covered slopes, and loose rock.
  • Helmets are strongly recommended at all times for all climbers, belayers, and spectators.
  • Do not sling trees or other natural features.
  • No installation of fixed hardware.
  • Use climbing chalk to protect the limestone from polishing due to natural oils in your skin and sweat.
  • Use natural bristle brushes to clean holds of dirt, debris, and excess chalk. No wire or stiff bristle brushes allowed, as they carve into the rock and degrade holds.
  • Use caution during warmer months and be aware of snakes, ticks, and area wildlife.
  • No bathrooms available at 109 Bluff. Plan accordingly.
  • Leashed dogs are allowed by MDC, but not recommended at 109 Bluff.
  • Rockwoods Reservation Climbing Bluff faces east with morning and mid-day sun exposure, dropping into the shade in the afternoon.
  • Climbing is only allowed at Rockwoods Reservation Climbing Bluff. Do not climb in any other areas of Rockwoods Reservation.
  • Parking is limited and overnight camping is not allowed.
  • See the warning below.

See routes, warnings, directions, and more information at BETA FUND.

Discover more about Rockwoods Reservation and the variety of recreational opportunities, programs, and events at this suburban oasis.


By climbing at Rockwoods Reservation Climbing Bluff, I have read, acknowledged, and agree to the following:

I AM SOLELY RESPONSIBLE AND PERSONALLY ASSUME ALL RISK OF SERIOUS INJURY OR DEATH TO MYSELF AND/OR OTHERS ARISING OUT OF MY USE OF 109 BLUFF. I understand that climbing is an inherently dangerous activity that can result in serious injury or death arising from hiking, climbing, loose rock, equipment failure, environmental conditions, misuse, and other risks and hazards associated with rock climbing and outdoor activities. Wearing a helmet does not eliminate the dangers associated with any activity, but in certain instances, a helmet can reduce the risk of permanent injury or death. Helmets are recommended and I understand that if I choose not to wear a helmet I do so at my own risk. The 109 Bluff is intended for use only by competent and responsible climbers who know how to climb, clean, and belay properly. Proper training is essential before using 109 Bluff.

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