Johnson’s Shut-Ins

Johnson’s Shut-Ins

Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park is located within Arcadia Valley and part of the beautiful St. Farncois Mountains. This park offers one of the Midwest’s most scenic climbing destinations (with permit) from the day after Labor Day through the Wednesday before Memorial Day. This historic climbing area features over 60 traditional routes, many are Missouri classics. In 2021, BETA Fund partnered with Missouri State Parks to install top anchors at several converging routes improving accessibility.

Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park is located within Arcadia Valley and part of the beautiful St. Farncois Mountains. This park offers one of the Midwest’s most scenic climbing destinations (with permit) from the day after Labor Day through the Wednesday before Memorial Day. This historic climbing area features over 60 traditional routes, many are Missouri classics. In 2021, BETA Fund partnered with Missouri State Parks to install top anchors at several converging routes improving accessibility.

Directions

Johnson’s Shut-ins is located approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes south of St. Louis, MO. Once at the park, your first stop must be the visitor’s center located adjacent to the main entrance from Hwy N to secure your daily climbing permit.

To find the climbing areas, drive south from the visitor’s center until the road dead-ends at the parking lot for the swimming area. The trailhead is located at the south end of the parking area. Walk south for about 5 to 10 min. on the paved path paralleling the river which transitions into a boardwalk with scenic overlooks. There are two distinct climbing areas were the bluffs exceed 45+ feet in height. The first bluff is noted as the Upper Cliff with approximately 20 climbs. Continue along the boardwalk to find the Lower Cliff with approximately 40 climbs.

Guidebook

Climbing at Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park has a rich history dating back to 1940’s, if not earlier. Consult Jim Thurmond and Joe Reidhead’s, Rock Climbs of Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park (2014) for more information.

More Info

  • Your first stop must be the visitor’s center located adjacent to the main entrance from Hwy N to secure your daily climbing permit.
  • Rock climbing is only permitted from the day after Labor Day through the Wednesday before Memorial Day.
  • Call 911 for all medical emergencies.
  • Helmets are strongly recommended at all times for all climbers, belayers, and spectators.

Camping:
Camping is located within Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park by reservation and nearby at Arcadia Valley Outdoors.

Climbing Access History:
Climbing at Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park has a rich history dating back to 1940’s, if not earlier. Consult Jim Thurmond and Joe Reidhead’s, Rock Climbs of Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park (2014) for more information.