Joe’s Valley is one of the premier bouldering destinations in the world. It has a long history as a mecca for climbers and continues to be an excellent destination with challenging problems and stunning scenery. This guide will help you plan your trip by providing you with all the information you’ll need, from where to stay, what time of year is best, food/water availability, and so much more.
A Brief History of Climbing in Joe’s Valley
Joe’s Valley is just outside Orangeville, Utah, and is split into three main areas; New Joe’s, Left Fork, and Right Fork. Climbers from Salt Lake City started coming down to this area in the mid-90s after hearing some boulders were to be climbed. They were blown away by what they found.
At first, the town’s locals were unsure and sometimes concerned about who these dirty-looking hippies were. At the time, climbing was even more of a fringe sport, and folks like Jason Kehl, one of the pioneers of this area, didn’t seem safe to the conservative LDS locals.
The area blew up with climbers after Ben Moon did the first ascent of Black Lung V13, and Joes ended up in all of the climbing magazines. Stephen Jeffreys, one of the area’s leading developers, knew that they needed to connect with the locals to protect access to this fantastic spot and let the locals know who climbers really are.
Born was the Joes Valley Climbing Festival, whose goal was to bridge the gap between these communities. Now you will find climbing gear at the Food Ranch and a unique little coffee shop called the Cup of Joes (more on these later). Locals welcome climbers with open arms now thanks to the work of the Festival and pioneers of this area.
When To Go
The best time to visit Joe’s Valley is in the Fall. Temps are crispy, and the road up to Dairy Canyon will be dry. Spring is also an excellent time to go, but sometimes there will still be snow on the ground the higher in elevation you go.
Where To Stay
There is camping in both the Right Fork and New Joes. Thanks to the work of local coalitions, there are now pit toilets in both of these areas. As of today, camping is free but subject to change in the future.
There are quite a few AirBnB’s in the towns right outside of Joe’s; Orangeville and Castle Dale, so if you are looking for a comfy stay, these are a good option!
Food Ranch: A crowd favorite and closest to the climbing (15min). Some of the best donuts you’ll ever have! They also carry chalk, tape, salve, and have rental pads.
Stewarts: A larger grocery store with a great selection of vegetables and other healthy foods. 20min from the climbing.
There is free water fill-up and grey water dump just south on the 57 from the junction of the 57 and 29.
There are a couple of places to shower near Joe’s.
Orangeville Welcome Park has coin showers.
Food Ranch has $5 showers.
Emery County Aquatic Center has $4 showers but also offers a punch pass.
Food and Coffee
Food Ranch: Great hot bar!
Cup of Joes: Local coffee shop built in the front room of a local house right to Joe’s from town. Great coffee and amazing people.
Palenque Mexican: This place is open early for breakfast and closes late – call them for the most up-to-date hours.
Fatty’s Pizza: A great place to eat after a long day of climbing. Reasonable prices and a wide variety of options!
R Pizza: This place has good pizza. They are famous for the giant pizza you might’ve heard of.
There are so many good climbs in Joe’s it is hard to narrow it down, but we will go over a few in each grade bracket.
The Angler V2 is probably the most famous climb in Joe’s Valley. It sits on the edges of the creek in Left Fork. Great views with a somewhat tall top out. A must-do.
Chex mix is a super fun V3 in the Boysize Area in Right Fork. Little steep with hero jugs!
Self Service V4 is one of the best climbs in New Joes. It is punchy and offers some enjoyable and exciting moves.
Kill by Numbers V5 in Left Fork is also a must-do. It is very steep, basically a roof that followers a sloper rail on the right and the best crimp/finger buckets on the right.
Wills of Fire V6 is also in Left Fork. It’s on a tall, impressive wall. This climb has a couple of beta options with a bit of finger jam to get through the crux. Tall enough to get your heart racing but not quite a highball.
Bring the Heatwole V7 is one of the best V7s, in my opinion. It sits on the right up a steep hill in Left Fork. Bring a knee pad!
No Substance V8 is one of the most beautiful climbs in Joe’s Valley. It sits right off the road in Right Fork and follows a sloper rail and some super bitey crimps on the face.
There are so many excellent climbs. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Rest Day Activities
There are lots and lots of dirt roads to explore in this area. And San Rafael Swell is one of the most captivating landscapes in the region. Bring a bike! The reservoir is also a very popular fishing spot, but make sure you buy a fishing license.
You can also drive up to Price to see a movie or check out some thrift stores.
Things To Bring
Joe’s is in the high desert, so even though the temps may be perfect during the day, they can get quite chilly in the evening. Bring warms clothes and a puffy.
All the essential climbing gear; crash pad, chalk, chalk bag. Make sure you have tape. Some of the crimps are a bit sharp. I would also suggest a knee pad. Even though there are a ton of kneebars, there are a few.
I always bring my bike and a fishing pole for rest day activities!