Questa has developed a noteworthy reputation for its traditional rock climbing with several well-known ascents that include granite, basalt, and cobble bouldering climbs. Plan a day of climbing in the breathtaking Rio Grande Gorge in the pristine Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument, tackle the multi-pitch Questa Dome in the Latir Wilderness Area, or get a quick fix at the close-by Roadside Distraction in the Carson National Forest.
Many climbs are in remote areas with limited cell-phone reception and without readily available emergency services. Always respect private property. Be aware of changing weather conditions, take plenty of water, plan well and be safe.
Where to Climb
Carson National Forest:
The Questa Dome
This dramatic 500-foot white granite dome has excellent multi-pitch climbing routes, located in a remote mountain setting in the Latir Wilderness area of the Carson National Forest. The Dome faces south and can be warm in the summer, the best times to climb the Questa Dome are early in the day, in the spring and fall.
Once at the Del Medio Trail head (see directions), hike for 15 minutes up the El Rito del Medio trail, and you will start spotting good climbs on your left. The trail follows close to El Rito Creek for another half hour, you’ll see the Dome on your right.
Directions to the Questa Dome from the Questa traffic light:
Take NM-522 north for 8 miles turning right/east onto County Road B-042, El Rito Road. Continue to the end of the road taking the fork to the right onto a dirt road (do not drive straight as that is a private residence). Without 4WD park here. With 4WD continue uphill to the forest road and turn right at the T-junction; go 0.2 miles and park in the pullout at the Del Medio trailhead.
The hundred-foot-tall granite crag cliff is right along NM-38 just 3 miles east of Questa. If you want a quick climb and don’t have time to venture into the wilds, or if like an audience, this is the place for a few hours (or more) of adventurous climbing.
Directions to Roadside Distraction climb from the Questa traffic light:
Take NM-38 east for 3 miles (toward Red River); as you enter the rocky canyon look for USFS Ranger District Office and park across the road from it in the large parking pullout on the left/north side of NM-38; this is where the climb starts.
The Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument
The Wild and Scenic Wall is a favorite climb in the Wild and Scenic Area of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, it is known as The Candy Store for being a sweet climb. It starts at the bottom of the Rio Grande Gorge and offers the best basalt climbing in the region.
To reach the climb, once within the Monument, pull off at Bear Crossing, the first trail head on the right, park here and take the short but steep trail down to the Rio Grande (reserve some energy for the hike back up). Late summer or fall, when the water level is low is the ideal time for this climb as you need to rock-hop across to the west side of the river at the second set of rapids or continue upstream to the small beach and wade across. The Wild and Scenic Wall is directly across from the beach.
Directions to the RÍo Grande Del Norte National Monument from the Questa traffic light:
Head north on NM-522 for 2.6 miles; look for signage for the Village of Cerro and the National Monument. Turn left/west onto NM-378 into Cerro; drive 3.5 miles through the winding community and just past the last residence a large sign marks the entrance to the Monument. The well paved road through the Wild Rivers section of the Monument is approximately 35 miles round trip.
Mountain Skills Rock Climbing Adventures Climbing Guides
Climbing information and qualified, experienced Climbing Guides to help you find the best routes.
Headquartered in Arroyo Seco, between Questa and Taos
Taos Mountain Outfitters
Climbing information and area guidebooks with technical information can be purchased here.
Located on the Taos Plaza
113 N. Plaza
Taos NM 87571
Questa Visitor Center
1 NM-38 (at the traffic light)
Questa, NM 87556
USFS Carson National Forest Questa Ranger District Office
184 NM 38
Questa, NM 87556
Wild Rivers Visitor Center in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument
Managed by the US Bureau of Land Management
Questa, NM 87556