Tumwater Canyon — Castle Rock

Photo By Matt Leonard

Best time to go: Spring through fall

How to get there: Heading west from Wenatchee on Highway 2, drive through the town of Leavenworth. Tumwater Canyon begins at the edge of town and runs for about nine miles west on Highway 2. Castle Rock is 2.7 miles west of Icicle Creek Road.

Highlights: Tumwater Canyon, and specifically Castle Rock, has been deemed as the “historical heart” of Washington rock climbing, with the first multipitch technical rock climb dating back to the late 1940s. A short approach and high-quality rock solidify its standing as one of the most popular climbing spots in Washington. Fully developed route-wise since the mid 1980s, most of the routes here are well-protected. They’re also continually being updated with new hardware. Castle Rock and Midnight rock offer longer trad climbing while Clem’s Holler and crags surrounding it offer sport climbing.

Lowlights: Some routes in Tumwater Canyon close seasonally (April through July) for raptor nesting. There are also some endangered plant species growing in cracks and near crags so do your research before establishing new routes. Information can be obtained at the Leavenworth Ranger Station. And as Leavenworth’s most popular crag climbing destination, summer weekends are often crowded at Castle Rock. The din of cars moving on Highway 2 may also take away from the experience.

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