Devil's Backbone

Backbone State Park

Western Central Plains, Iowa

Start Exploring
Devil's Backbone


  • Climbing gear is needed for this adventure.- Devil's Backbone
  • A-Wall (5.10a).- Devil's Backbone
  • Drive In Wall is about 70 feet tall.- Devil's Backbone
  • Try trad climbing on cracks for a fun challenge.- Devil's Backbone
  • Easy-access anchor points for top-rope routes.- Devil's Backbone
  • Various grades and difficulties can be found at Drive In Wall.- Devil's Backbone
  • Practice your crack climbing skills.- Devil's Backbone
  • Various grades and difficulties can be found at Drive In Wall.- Devil's Backbone
  • Stairway to Heaven (5.7).- Devil's Backbone
  • Picnic tables and grills are located nearby.- Devil's Backbone
  • Climb on!- Devil's Backbone
  • Bring the whole crew, including adventure dogs!- Devil's Backbone
  • - Devil's Backbone
Overview + Weather
Easy access to routes. Picnic tables and grills nearby.
Can be busy. Technical skill and gear required.
Western Central Plains, IA
Pets allowed: 
Recommended Equipment:
Harness / rope / anchors, Helmets
Alpine climbing NCCS rating: 
Grade V
Net Elevation Gain: 
70.00 ft (21.34 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
0.00 mi (0.00 km)
Trailhead Elevation: 
1,042.00 ft (317.60 m)
Current Local Weather:
Adventure Description

Adventure Description


Backbone State Park was Iowa’s first state park and is a popular spot for outdoor enthusiasts. The park is home to a plethora of fun rock climbing routes on the tall limestone bluffs nicknamed Devil’s Backbone. Backbone State Park is a favorite of climbers in the area who can also take advantage of the nearby amenities.

Six Pines Trail allows for easy access to set top-rope anchors, and trad climbers will be happy to find cracks running up the length of Drive In Wall. Grades vary in difficulty from 5.7 to 5.12b with challenges for the whole climbing crew regardless of skill level.

After a long day of climbing visitors can go for a swim in Backbone Lake and settle down for the evening at the group campsite. The park is also home to modern cabins available for rental, 21 miles of hiking trails, and excellent trout fishing. The mountain biking path joins the Northeast State Park Bike Route, a 130-mile bike trail that connects Backbone State Park, Wapsipinicon State Park, and Pikes Peak State Park. Whether you’re on a day trip to climb at Backbone State Park or are staying the whole weekend to take advantage of all the outdoor activities the park has to offer, you’re sure to enjoy climbing in Iowa’s first state park!

Picnic tables, grills, restrooms, and potable water can be found a short walk from the most popular climbing area, dubbed Drive In Wall due to its close proximity to the road and south parking lot.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It
12 Members
Who's Done It
2 Members
Submission by
8 Adventures Explored
7 Adventures Published

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info