Coopers Rock State Forest - Climbing

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Summary

Home to hundreds of boulders, this area along the rim of the Cheat River Gorge is a bouldering paradise.

Written by

Joe DeGaetano

Distance

0.0 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

133.1 miles

Difficulty

3 of 5 diamonds

Coopers Rock State Forest has bouldering problems that range from basic scrambling all the way to challenging V12s.

Time To Complete

4 hours

It’s easy to get in and out of Coopers Rock if you want to work on a specific project, but you will more than likely want to spend a full day or even a full weekend here.

Seasonality

All Seasons

You can climb year-round at Coopers Rock State Forest, but fall has the best weather for bouldering. Summers are hot and humid and spring can be wet. During the winter months, the front gate to Coopers will be locked, so you’ll have to hike about 2.5-miles to get into the park.

Dog Friendly

On Leash Only

Fees Permits

No

Review

Intro

With Seneca Rocks and the New River Gorge, climbers undeniably have it pretty good in West Virginia. But did you know that West Virginia also has one of the finest bouldering areas on the East Coast?

Cooper’s Rock State Forest is nearly 13,000 acres and has hundreds of boulders along the rim of the Cheat River Gorge, just east of Morgantown. There is a wide range of problems from easy scrambling to V12s, and even a few bigger cliffs that are worthy of bringing the rope and rack.

What Makes It Great

One of the greatest things about Coopers Rock is its accessibility. Other than in the winter, when the front gate is locked and the only way in is a 2.5-mile walk down the main road, you just drive in and park near the area you where you want to climb. Within less than a couple minutes’ walk, you can be at the base of a 5-star boulder with a day’s worth of other boulders within striking distance. This accessibility makes Coopers a great place for climbers with young kids, climbers looking to hone in on specific projects scattered in different areas, or anyone who wants to maximize their climbing time.

For the climbing connoisseur, the bouldering here is something special. The rock is a unique form of sandstone only found in the Allegheny Mountain region. It closely resembles the famous world-class gritstone found in the Peak District of England. This 40-grit texture creates amazing friction, and allows climbers to hold onto very round and bulbous holds. In fact, the rock at Coopers has been described as “...climbing a huge roasted marshmallow that is as coarse as sandpaper.”

Besides the amazing rock quality and quantity, the scenery at Coopers Rock is some of the best in the state. Imagine bright orange, porcelain white, and opaque gray boulders highlighted by the deep green of the rhododendron and mountain laurel. There are also spectacular overlooks where you can get a great view of the Cheat River and the surrounding gorge it has carved out.

Who is Going to Love It

Any climber, from the very beginner to the mutant strong, can have a great day at Coopers Rock. Climbers with young kids will appreciate the nearly non-existent approach to the many established problems. Climbers looking for a unique type of rock will enjoy the rare gritstone found here.

If you want to spend a few days at Coopers, the nearly 50 miles of trails within the forest are excellent for mountain biking and/or trail running on rest days.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

Coopers Rock is right off Interstate-68, Exit 15. It is about 13 miles east of Morgantown, WV. There is a campground and several parking lots at the different areas throughout the park.

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Location

Coopers Rock State Forest

39.656662, -79.787134

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