Safe Harbor is a sport climbing area along the eastern banks of the Susquehanna River. The cliff was created from a railroad cut in 1906 but the train route is no longer in use. Safe Harbor was closed to climbing for about 15 years, but the South Walls were reopened in 2011 and the North Walls in 2014. The walls are mostly slab, creating technical routes. Both the North and South sections of Safe Harbor face southwest, making it a sunny winter spot and a hot summer spot.
What Makes It Great
Safe Harbor has over 200 sport, trad, and top rope routes. They range from 30 to 150 feet tall. The most popular walls are in the southern section of Safe Harbor. The walls are usually named after the classic routes. The first three walls you reach by hiking in from the south are Blood Sugar Magic, Electric Co, and Tenuous Odyssey. The routes at these walls range from 5.6 to 5.13 and are mostly thin bouldery slab climbs.
Next, the climbs start to get taller at the Machismo and Super Slab Sectors. As the wall names suggest, Machismo (5.11c) and Super Slab (5.10d) are the classics at these walls. Moving past these walls, Wonderama Sector is one of the best walls at Safe Harbor. This wall has 65 to 85 foot climbs like Static Cling (5.11b), Autumn Arch (5.10b) and Wonderama (5.12b). At the remaining three walls, the routes range from 5.7 to 5.12 and are between 40 and 60 feet tall. The Northern walls of Safe Harbor are not as popular but they are taller.
The most popular area here is the Cemetery Wall. The best climbs at this wall are Ruby Red Slippers (5.11d) and the 140 foot, two pitch route The Nose (5.11a).
Who is Going to Love It
The route difficulty at Safe Harbor ranges from 5.6 to 5.13. The best south walls for a beginner are The Electric Co and Hydroman Sectors. at Safe Harbor North, beginners will have fun at Cemetery Wall. For the advanced climber, check out Autumn Arch Sector in Safe Harbor South and The Euro Wall in Safe Harbor North. If you are looking for some less traveled adventure routes, go to the walls past the Cemetery Wall in Safe Harbor North.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
To get to Safe Harbor, follow directions for 5200 River Road Conestoga, PA. When you reach River Road, you can turn right for Safe Harbor North or left for Safe Harbor South. For the southern walls, continue south on River Road for one mile then turn right on Green Hill Road. Continue past the end of the paved road and park on either side of a tunnel. Make sure you aren’t blocking traffic.
Find a trail that starts from the uphill end of the tunnel. Follow this trail north for a half mile as it links to a larger trail and brings you to the cliffs. For the northern walls, follow River Road north for 1.5 miles and turn left on Observation Site Road. Continue and park just before a gate. The climbers trail continues past the gate on the right and makes a steep descent to Cemetery Wall.