The sandstone cliffs at Bozoo are a true local crag. Overlooking the New River in Shanklin’s Ferry, WV, this sprawling cliffside has something for climbers and boulderers of all skill levels. Since Bozoo is off-the-beaten-path, it doesn’t see many crowds.
Although you can enjoy great climbing year round, almost all of it is on the south face of the ridge, making this area a great winter destination. Even if it’s cold and snowy, the fine-grain sandstone dries out and warms up fast. Once the leaves fall and the temperatures drop, local climbers come here to beat the crowds at other nearby destinations, like the New River Gorge.
What Makes It Great
Bozoo is special because it has really good climbing, but no crowds. And, the crag is super accessible—just a short hike from the parking area, past the sandstone boulders to a sprawling set of cliffs atop the ridge.
Whether you’re bouldering or climbing, every climber can find something fun. There are a few bolted routes, plenty of trad climbs, and the option to walk around and set up a top-rope—it’s very easy to just walk along the cliff either direction to access the top. A popular destination for outdoor clubs and Boy Scout troops, Bozoo is a great place to learn to climb or develop your skills.
The bouldering here is especially top-notch. There are a few named problems, but you can also walk along the face and look for chalk marks until you find something that interests you. The rock itself is pretty clean, and mostly free of lichen and vegetation.
There are several places to set up a hammock or have a picnic. Shanklin’s Ferry campground has parking for groups of any size, camping options, and a playground. After a hard day of climbing, you can even take a dip in the New River, with access directly west of the parking area—you can’t miss it!
Who is Going to Love It
Climbers of any skill level can find something to get on at Bozoo. This is a great place for experienced climbers to take first timers, and many of the routes are easy enough that novice climbers can feel the excitement of topping out on a cliff overlooking the scenic New River. For more experienced folks, there are several sport climbs,and options for trad.
Don’t let the idea of a local crag intimidate you—even the locals here drive an hour or more for this backwoods spot. Everyone is friendly and more than happy to show you the best routes on this beautiful sandstone.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Look up driving directions before you go, but don’t plan for your GPS to get you there. Once you turn onto Bozoo Road from 219, follow the signs towards Shanklin’s Ferry Campground. Cell phone service is spotty at best, although most people have service at the parking area.
Once you find Shanklin’s Ferry, keep driving past the campground kiosk and park at the far end of the field. There’s a nice fire pit at the edge of the woods, right on the trail that leads you towards the climbing area. Climbers can park for free; you only need to pay if you decide to camp—it’s $9 per day for groups of six or less, and an additional $2 per person for larger crews. In addition to Shanklin’s Ferry, there are many other camping areas nearby.
Don’t set new bolts, but the use of natural anchors in encouraged.