Ferguson Canyon is located just south of the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon and is a gold mine for climbers during the summer with its north-facing walls that rise above the creek. These walls stay quite cool during the hot temperatures in the summer.
What Makes It Great
The rocks and minerals found in Ferguson Canyon are quite unusual. The granite is characterized by horizontal offset seams, large crystals and overlaps. Routes here are short, averaging 50 feet in length, but are steeper than most of the granite areas to the south.
Most of the routes in the Ferguson area can be top roped with the exception of the Teardrop Area and Bob’s Rocking Chair. Watchtower is the most popular wall by far, because this is the first buttress on the south side of the canyon with a high concentration of quality routes. One of my personal favorites is the Cathedral Wall, specifically the climb Skinny Len Crimps (5.11a). This is a face climb with three bolts, and the title of the climb is appropriate as the climb has very skinny crimps, and if you’ve crimped on granite, you already know while you can grip pretty well, it also tears at your fingers. It’s a great challenging climb to test out your crimping skills.
There are some great climbs for beginners on Ferguson and a good wall to bring the kids to let them try their hands at granite climbing. Dogs are allowed in Ferguson Canyon, but please clean up after them. Remember to clean up after yourselves, as well, and leave no trace in the area in order to keep climber access here.
A 60-meter rope is long enough for any of the routes along Ferguson Canyon. It’s all sport climbing, so if you don’t plan on top roping, bring your quickdraws, anchors, runners, and cordellette for setting routes. It can get pretty cool while you’re not climbing, so it’s a good idea to bring a light jacket. There are no places to get water, so don’t forget hydration, and bring plenty of nourishment if you plan on climbing for the whole day. Headlamps are recommended if you’re climbing as the sun starts to come down and the hike out may be during nightfall.
Who is Going to Love It
Climbers of every ability level will enjoy Ferguson canyon, especially during the summer. Climbers with dogs will appreciate being allowed to bring their four-legged friends along.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
In order to get to Ferguson Canyon from the intersection of Wasatch Blvd. and Fort Union Blvd. at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon, drive a quarter-mile south along Wasatch Blvd. to Prospector Drive (7535 South). Prospector is on the east side of Wasatch Blvd. Turn onto Prospector and drive up the hill to the south, past Quicksilver, then turn left on Timberline (7780 South) and park at a gate that blocks access to a dirt road on the east.
The dirt road leads up to a white water tower where it turns into a trail that descends down to the canyon bottom. The approach time for most climbs is about 20 minutes.
Parking is free and plentiful. Ferguson canyon is open 24 hours a day.