The white cliffs above the Hayden Arch Bridge Road belong to the Bighorn Dolomite formation, all that’s left of the gigantic inland sea which once covered most of the central and western United States. The East Bridge Bands are a continuation of the crag that makes up the Bridge Bands. There are mid-range climbs here as well as some harder routes.
What Makes It Great
East Bridge Bands is a nice area to spend some time, especially in the winter. The cliff gets lots of sun in the early afternoon. There are some pretty adventurous routes here, but a few aren’t very well maintained. Some equipment has been replaced over the years, but not on all routes. East Bridge Bands is easy to access from the Hayden Arch Bridge Road with a slight ten minute walk to the base of the cliff. Although this is still a popular area, it’s slightly fallen out of favor by the newer, flashier Lower Granite area.
Dolomite, which is similar to limestone, is rather easily eroded so the rock itself can have nice pockets. That erosion process can leave the holds dusty, especially considering the winds that whip through this area. Consider taking along a small brush to clean off the holds. Also know that more than one climber has reached in for a hold and met with the sticks, pine cones, rocks and weeds that make up a woodrat or packrat nest.
Some nice climbs here include Hot Fudge, a 5.8 or 5.11A depending on the variation you take. The left side of the climb is the more difficult. Circus Roof is a 5.11A/B starting with a roof for 4-5’.
Who is Going to Love It
If you’re into dolomite or limestone then you’ll love East Bridge Bands. It’s only about a 10 minute walk from the car and the south facing slope makes for a warm fall, winter or spring climb. This is pretty much an adult-only area. The trail along the base of the cliff is narrow and not kid-friendly.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From Cody, take US HWY 14/16/20 west 4 miles to the Hayden Arch Bridge turn on the right. There are 3 parking spots before the bridge and another 2-3 after the bridge. After parking, find the trail just to the north of the bridge on the right hand side. Walk up to the old dirt road and take a left for 200’ to another trail on the right. This trail goes straight up the mountain to the cliff base. There’s a narrow path along the base that accesses the routes and makes for a good belay spot.