Located just south of the quaint town of Taylor’s Falls and only 45 minutes away from the Twin Cities, Interstate State Park is a local favorite for the avid climber. With no bolted sport routes, the park offers traditional climbing and bouldering routes.
What Makes It Great
The best part about climbing at Interstate State Park is the beautiful landscape. If you’re all pumped out, it’s an easy walk down the trail for amazing views of the St. Croix River Valley. Nothing is better than spending the afternoon climbing your heart out and then watching the sun set over the horizon.
Who is Going to Love It
Though there are the classics, new problems are being made every year by the imagination of young intrepid climbers. To stay up to date, make sure to visit the Interstate State Park mountainproject page for more information.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
It is required to acquire a climbing permit and carry it at all times while in the park. Don’t worry though, the permit is free of charge and can be picked up at the park office.
Depending on what kind of route you’re looking for, the climbing portion of the park is split into three designated areas. The most popular climbing destination is the Minnesota Strip, which contains a high concentration of quality trad routes ranging from 5.5 to 5.11. Follow the signs to the boat landing, once the road dead ends, walk 20 yards to the right to find the start of the Minnesota Strip. The first prominent crack you see is one of the areas oldest and well-loved routes, the 5.7 Piece of Cake trad climb. Perfect for a new aspiring climber or even a seasoned veteran, the Piece of Cake is a good place to start your climbing regime.
Adjacent to the Minnesota Strip, the Keyhole Area is named for the 5.6 Keyhole trad climb that is located just below the scenic overlook. To reach the top, walk around the overlook to the right and wrap around the base until you see a few large boulders bulging from a rocky ledge.The ledge is the top of the Keyhole rock face. Since its creation, climbers have developed two more routes: Keyhole Direct (5.9) and the Keyhole DirectDirect (5.11a). Both start in the same place as the original Keyhole, but the 5.11a uses smaller holds and requires graceful footwork up the rock face.
Nearest to the parking lot and the most publicly visible, the Pothole Area has bouldering and the occasional short lead problem. There is no specific spot to find all the routes, just explore the pothole hiking trails and look out for white chalk bordering the cracks. A classic bouldering problem can be found in the Slicksides pothole. Look for the V0-1 vertical crack covered in chalk. Be mindful of the large rock jutting from the bottom of the route. This rock is called ankle breaker for a reason, so if possible bring a couple crash pads with you before you try out this problem. If a V0-1 is too easy for you, just left of the vertical crack is the Lunge or Plunge. A 5.12/V4 that offers pinch holds and a mega-dyno with a thank god jug as the finishing move. Since you’re in the tourist area, it’s not unusual for a large crowd to applaud you when finishing this route.