The Black Cliffs – Boise, Idaho - Atlas Obscura
Unusual adventures and hidden discoveries. Explore our 2018 trips now »

Boise, Idaho

The Black Cliffs

These black pillars of volcanic basalt seem to call mountain climbers with an unbreakable siren song. 

The Black Cliffs in Boise, Idaho are a range of towering columns of lava rock stretching up into the blue sky, providing a gorgeous view of the river below, and an ideal spot for adventurous climbers.

The Black Cliffs along the Boise River leading to Lucky Peak Reservoir are a popular place for rock climbing in the Treasure Valley of Idaho. Made of volcanic columnar basalt, the cliffs provide ideal handholds and footholds that seem to have been created to cater to climbers.

In the 1960s, local climbers began exploring and developing the cliffs. While training for alpine ascents, they proved that the rocks there were could be scrambled up safely. In the 1970s, a new group of locals began climbing at the Black Cliffs, establishing routes that at the time were seen as a challenging bit of climbery.

Today, there are hundreds of well-established routes of a variety of difficulties for climbers to enjoy. Its not often that an ancient volcano belches up such perfect formations, and combined with the angular black beauty of the rocks, it’s no wonder you can’t keep climbers off them.