Palisades State Park - Climbing

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Palisades State Park offers more than 100 routes and almost 50 boulder problems along Split Rock Creek in eastern South Dakota.

Written by

Abbie Mood


0.0 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

335.4 miles


3 of 5 diamonds

Palisades State Park has a variety of routes and boulder problems from beginner to advanced (5.4-5.12).

Time To Complete

4 hours

With more than 90 routes, there is enough to do here to keep you busy for a half day or a full day.


Spring, Summer, and Fall

It can get muggy and buggy in the summer because it's next to a river.

Dog Friendly


Fees Permits


The daily fee is $4 per person or $6 per vehicle. An annual pass is $30 for the first vehicle, $15 for the second.



Palisades State Park, in eastern South Dakota, is becoming well-known to local climbers for its Sioux quartzite formations. Thanks to its location along Split Rock Creek, the area was once home to a flour mill, powered by a water wheel on the creek. There are four hiking trails in the park that take you along the cliffs and formations. The climbing options here range from easy scrambling to 5.12 roofs.

What Makes It Great

Palisades State Park, in southeastern South Dakota is a unique place - it's an impressive gorge smack dab in the middle of the prairie. Split Rock Creek has carved the gorge through a band of Sioux quartzite, making for cliffs on each side, and some great climbing right off the water. Part of what makes it great is that it's the only crag in the area, but also because there is a variety of routes for any level climber. While there isn't a ton of friction on the rock, you will find crimps, slopers, and crack systems to test the skills of beginners on top rope and seasoned trad climbers alike. reports the best routes, voted on by climbers as: Slandeross (5.12) , Debuant Farmers (5.12), King Olof (5.10) , Glimmer (5.10+) , Never Say Never (5.10) ,and Henry Aaron (5.7), and the best boulder problems are Contrivance (V5) , Necessary Contrivance (V4) , I Seam Stumped (V3) , Lithium CT (V2), and Head Hunters (V2).

Who is Going to Love It

Most of the bouldering and climbing is more beginner level, but there are some 5.12s at the Palisades. The rock has crimps and slopers, and has a ton of crack systems. It's rarely crowded, so it's a great place to climb with a friend or two in peace. It's also a great place to go with a crew since there is something for pretty much everyone.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

Palisades State Park is located at 25495 485th Avenue in Garretson, South Dakota.

Drilling, bolting, and chipping are prohibited. For a complete list of the rules and regulations around climbing at Palisades, read this brochure before you go.

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Palisades State Park

43.6901, -96.5147

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