A GREEN link means that there are adult and kid climbs in that area. Click on it for more information so you can know if it will work for your family. A YELLOW link means there are no kid climbs but you can bring the family along as you climb. The areas are then rated from 1-5 cheerios (1 being the worst area to take your family and 5 being the best). A RED link means that it is essentially a no go. Click and find out the reasons why so you can make your own decision.
What You Should Know
From our experience, Maple Canyon is the best place in Utah to take kids to go rock climbing. The area is gorgeous and one of our favorite places to go camping as a family. The climbing here is world class because of the unique conglomerate rocks and awesome formations. There are also lots of fun activities to do with kids when you aren’t climbing. Maple Canyon is a little more than an hour drive from Utah County and about two from Salt Lake County.
Billy the Kid:
Billy the Kid wall is an excellent place to take kids to do some climbing. Climbs for adults are lacking, but every other aspect of the area is great for kids. Its also right next to some areas with more advanced climbs like Pipe line and Orangutan.
Fast Food Joint:
Fast Food Joint is located right next to the road with a small creek between the crag and the road. Its not well known so there is almost never anyone there. Its a great place to take beginners or kids of all ages to climb themselves.
The School Room:
Easy climbs mixed with hard climbs. Perfect landing and easy approach. Great for kids.
A few easy climbs for kids, and some good ones for adults. The approach is mellow, its basically right after the School Room. Its landing is also not quite as good as the School Room.
Kids love to play in this canyon and it has a great selection for harder climbs for adults but only one actual kid climb.
This is a great place for you to climb hard and still bring your kids a long to watch and play.
Great array of harder inverted climbs. Its a safe area for kids to play and pretty close to Billy the Kid Wall which has some great kids climbs.
The Orangutan Wall
Good intermediate climbing for adults. The beginning of some of these climbs are easy and can be done by children as well.
Zero Approach, belay a few feet away from your car. But routes are less than exciting.
Early Crag Wall
The landing is a hill that would be rough to set up for kids or babies.The approach got steep too. Too bad because it would of had some easy kid climbs. Now if your kids are older (5+) then it would work I think.
The only potential danger here is that it is conglomerate rock which is a controversial subject in and of itself for climbers. The risk with this rock formation (basically lots of rounded rocks of all sizes cemented together in a matrix) is the potential of loose rock falling and injuring a climber or bystander and failure of placed natural protection (bolts).
I provide this as a warning, a factor to be considered. My family has enjoyed many climbing trips on conglomerate crags without issue. I’ve never seen or pulled anything off the wall and we have felt entirely confident bringing our families to these areas. I have actually pulled things off on other types of rock formations – so go figure. I see these crags filled with families who must think the same as we do. But I also know that there climbers that would avoid these areas because they see the risk as greater. Please be wary and vigilant of the possible risks.
Additional Family Activities
Maple Canyon has three non-flushing bathrooms and about 16 official sites in the National Forest Area that you can reserve here. You will need to reserve them way ahead of time because they are always full. There is no running water so bring your own. If you are terrible planners, like us then rest assured there are other primitive sites you can use.
If you have 4WD you can go past the last campsites and there are a few places off the trail there. We’ve never had to do this and I know the road is gnarly.
There are also a few first come sites that are lettered, not numbered, before the first bathrooms. These are also almost always all taken.
In addition to everything already mentioned, there are many primitive sites from when the road first goes from paved to dirt up to this point. This is on private property and so all these sites already have a fire pit put together and a wooden donation box so they can improve the area. Our favorite area is right next to Box Canyon. Our kids love it and its always been open… I hope that doesn’t change now that I’ve written this…
Fair Forests are apparently a new thing popping up around Utah where visitors decorate an area with creative rocks, fairy houses, wind chimes, wood sculptures, etc. that are all arranged to look like fairies had a hand in it. We stumbled across one in Maple Canyon.
This one was pretty simple the first time we found it, a path decorated with painted rocks with one saying ‘Fairy Forest’. When we came the next time it was a lot less obvious that we had found one. I’m not sure if someone had destroyed some of it or not. Nonetheless, our little girls thought it was the coolest thing and enjoyed looking for fairies. You can really make a great activity out of this if you bring things to decorate and leave in the fairy forest for the fairies.
How to get there: Walk through the group campsite to the crag that you can see just a few feet away. Walk along the crag up canyon (just a few feet) and follow it as it turns right. Now, you’ll be walking up a small canyon trail that is just past the group camp site. Continue up the trail no more than a few minutes and look for painted rocks and other signs that you are there.
Low Standard Cave
This cave is kid friendly. Its a short hike and also has some hard climbing for adults. You can find information about this on pg. 219 of the Guidebook. Kids love caves so you should definitely at least take a walk there with your littles.
The Huge Cave
We haven’t done this ourselves and it is not kid friendly but I’ve met many hikers that came to Maple specifically for this. Click on the link for a description that was provided by Utah Outdoor Activities.
Box Canyon Hiking Trail
Box canyon is not only frequented by climbers, but hikers too. Click on the link for a description of the trail provided by Utah Outdoor Activities.
See this Canyon on our Map