“beautiful basalt columns for climbing”
Paradise Forks (AKA The Forks) is a beautiful columnar basalt climbing area located about a half-hour west of Flagstaff. The area is in Sycamore Canyon at a point where the canyon is actually a Y-shaped confluence of drainages. There are two seasonal waterfalls and pools at the ends of the Y, and the point where the Y merges is the popular "Prow" area. The Prow, The Gold Wall, and the Davidson Wall offer the longest routes which are up to about 90'. One distinguishing characteristic of the area is that almost all routes are approached from above by fixing a line and rapping in. Also, there are exactly zero sport climbs at The Forks and just a handful of bolts (I can only think of 7: two sets of anchors in the choss at the White Wall, and the three on Australians At The Forks). The area really lends itself to trad climbing up beautiful, varied crack systems. Rock is bullet-hard, pro is typically bombproof, and friction varies from polished to grippy. Expect stout ratings. Nestled in a pine forest, the area is quiet, peaceful, and fairly pristine; please try to keep it that way. Paradise Forks is just southeast of the town of Williams, AZ, just off Interstate 40. From Flagstaff, with a low-clearance car (short stretch of good dirt roads), drive west on 40 for 27 miles to exit 167 for Garland Prairie Road. Follow this south over some railroad tracks for 8 miles. Turn right onto FS Road 109. Follow this for 3.3 miles to a left-hand turn into the parking lot. From Flagstaff, with a Subaru or better (more direct but more dirt road), drive west on 40 for 17 miles to exit 178 for Parks road. Head south over some railroad tracks (road turns into Garland Prairie), and follow this as it makes several 90 degree turns to skirt around a huge parcel of private land. After 13.3 miles, turn left onto FS Road 109. Follow this for 3.3 miles to a left-hand turn into the parking lot.
While I agree this is an incredible place for climbing, hikers and campers will also enjoy Sycamore canyon and the Forks. A word to the wise is to be prepared to bushwhack, and maintain awareness for mountain lion (a mammoth of a cat lives in that canyon).
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