driving suggestions to city of rocks from vancouver, BC


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Trad climber
vancouver, bc
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 25, 2013 - 02:32pm PT
I will be heading out to City of Rocks from Vancouver, BC in June and hoping to glean some route tips from anyone who is either from the area or has driven around there.

I am looking for scenic byways mainly and am hoping to stop off in Yellowstone on the way through.

Does anyone want to draw me a google map of the roads they would take?

This kind of thing would be great (photo not mine, from the Grand Tetons)

Credit: supafly


Social climber
Missoula MT
Apr 25, 2013 - 04:19pm PT
Hello Supafly,

Here is my 2 cents on a route that you might like to take to City of Rocks & back home (all mileage from Google Map):

Vancouver, BC to Gardiner, MT = 888 miles
Gardiner to Jackson Hole (thru YellowstoneNP) = 152 miles
Jackson Hole to City of Rocks =248 miles
City of Rocks to Pashastin = 653 miles
Peshastin-Everett-Home = 348 miles
Peshastin-Twisp-Sumas,WA-Home = 354

Total mileage about 2460 miles.....

In Montana on I-90 you will pass thru Missoula(59801=ZipCode), Butte(59701), & Bozeman(59715) to Livingston(59047), then Gardiner(59030) (I know that there are ST Forum Taco-ites from at least Missoula, Butte, & Bozeman that post here; plus buy/check-out Falcon Guides:Rock Climbing Montana). Also check out Mountain Project: http://www.mountainproject.com/

I have in the past driven the Vancouver to Gardiner to Jackson Hole portion on different trips (scenic & gets you to YellowstoneNP quickly). I have never been to COR. Ellensburg to Pashastin is not a drive that I have done, but it should be scenic. I have driven east to west on Hwy 20 in North Cascades National Park (http://www.nps.gov/noca/index.htm, nice scenic drive). Liberty Bell Mtn is at the pass on Hwy 20.

Hope this helps,

GLee (Greg Lee)


Trad climber
Auburn, CA
Apr 25, 2013 - 05:17pm PT
Canadians still allowed to drive in US? I thought we were at war due to the fishing boat...

Trad climber
vancouver, bc
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 25, 2013 - 06:17pm PT
Thanks Greg! That's great info.

I'll get google maps out and see what I can throw together.
Captain...or Skully

Apr 25, 2013 - 06:37pm PT
Just outside Butte on the East side is World Class bouldering, too. Homestake Pass. Killer Diller.
BTW, I'd follow that route, too. It works.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Apr 25, 2013 - 06:42pm PT
Right side of road except for passing, keep beers out of sight, no more than ten miles over speed limit on freeways, all signals and lights in proper working order......watch out for Pronghorns.

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
Apr 25, 2013 - 06:56pm PT
Do get in some hot potting if the water levels allow at the Boiling River right outside of Yellowstone. There are other, lesser known areas, but for easy ....

And you may be tempted to take a peak at some of the North Cascade climbs or a super easy approach to climbs on Rt 2 just west of Leavenworth. You have to stretch your legs sometimes.....


45th Parallel Bridge and Boiling River
A sign north of where the road crosses the Gardner River marks the 45th parallel of latitude.

A little distance south of the sign, a parking area on the east side of the road is used by bathers in the "Boiling River." Bathers must walk upstream about a half mile from the parking area to the place where the footpath reaches the river. This spot is also marked by large clouds of steam, especially in cold weather. Here, a large hot spring, known as Boiling River, enters the Gardner River. The hot and the cold water mix in pools along the river's edge. Bathers are allowed in the river during daylight hours only. Bathing suits are required, and no alcoholic beverages are allowed. Boiling River is closed in the springtime due to hazardous high water and often does not reopen until mid-summer.


Flank of the Bighorns
Apr 26, 2013 - 10:37am PT

Greg's route above is great.
A slight alternative would be to head south from Bozeman and enter the park at West Yellowstone. This would give you additional cragging opportunities in the Gallatin Canyon.

Have fun!


Apr 26, 2013 - 11:08am PT
I was going to make the same suggestion as WyoRockMan. Another option, if you stick to the originally suggested route, you'll go right by Frog Rock (Bozeman Pass) E. of Bozeman, which has some pretty nice limestone.

Trad climber
vancouver, bc
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 26, 2013 - 01:29pm PT
Thanks for all the suggestions, the route is being planned!

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
Apr 26, 2013 - 01:40pm PT
Forget about all those routes. I suggest you take the I-5 straight down, come west to San Francisco, enjoy the view of the City from the Bay Bridge, and then swing south to my house, pick me up and take me to COR with you.


Social climber
north vancouver, B.C.
Apr 26, 2013 - 01:54pm PT

Right side of road except for passing, keep beers out of sight, no more than ten miles over speed limit on freeways, all signals and lights in proper working order......watch out for Pronghorns.

I agree with Jim, don't speed. I did and this is what happened, Although it was one of the most pleasant experiences I've ever had receiving a ticket. The officer chatted with me for at least 20 minutes about different climbing areas and scenic areas to visit. Very friendly experience although costly.

Credit: harryhotdog

Trad climber
vancouver, bc
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 17, 2013 - 05:26pm PT
Another quick question about this drive, is it worth detouring via Wenatchee down highway 2 instead of heading to Seattle and heading down the 90?


Credit: supafly

or this

Credit: supafly

Trad climber
Butte, America
Jun 17, 2013 - 05:52pm PT
Great suggestions on all of the Montana stuff--I would add that if going from Livingston to Gardiner, check out the different types of rock geology to climb on in the Paradise Valley...

...good stuff (dolomite, basement rock, Cowan Gneiss) with little to no approaches :-)


Supafly, you can't order one on the link, but I will send you a complimentary copy ASAP if you send me your address; my email on here is good.

edit: if if wouldn't make to you in time, I can arrange for your copy to picked up at the local outdoor shop in Livingston.
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
Jun 17, 2013 - 10:39pm PT
Whatever gets you to campsite 24 by Thursday night.

Trad climber
Kalispell, Montana
Jun 18, 2013 - 12:35am PT
I would drive the Salmon river down US93 in Idaho. Lots of cool old cabins and homesteads along the river, like the photo you listed. It winds its way and tons of undesignated camping along the river. Get off the interstate man.


Jun 18, 2013 - 07:15pm PT
Yes, if you want scenery take Highway 2 from I-5 to Wenatchee, much prettier than I-90 and not much longer. You get to drive by Index (walls and Mount) which are a highlight for me.

Also very scenic to go over Highway 20 (Washington Pass) instead but that will add some more driving time. That would be my choice to cross over the Cascades if you had the time.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jun 18, 2013 - 07:23pm PT
is it worth detouring via Wenatchee down highway 2 instead of heading to Seattle and heading down the 90?

Most certainly! For Pacific Northwesterners Wenatchee is the only certified
alternative to Bakersfield. Do not miss it! BwaHaHaHaHa!
Dr. Christ

Mountain climber
State of Mine
Jun 18, 2013 - 07:33pm PT
My suggestion is not to drive. Squamish is far superior to City of Rocks.
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