Skip to main content

Ship Rock

Area rep: Andy Thorsell

Land Manager: National Park Service

A popular and easily accessible crag, Ship sees a lot of action in the Spring, Summer and Fall. Piedmont climbers looking for relief from the heat turn to Ship's cooler heights and classic routes. Although there are a couple of bolted routes, Ship is primarily a trad climbing area. Solid rock, great lines and a decent collection of moderates (Boardwalk at 5.8 is classic), Ship is a great destination and can be paired with some of the nearby bouldering for a full on day of high country fun.


Ship Rock is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Boone. Access from the Rough Ridge parking area near milepost 303. Alternate parking is available South of Ship Rock on the parkway at the next available turn off on the left. Walking is nearly the same from both areas. 

From the Rough Ridge parking area, walk South on the Parkway for about 1/2 a mile. Follow the climbers trail that skirts right along the wall just after the bridge. The trail hits the wall near the Gumfighter / Borrowed Time area. For Harpoon, Lynn Cove Lullaby and other routes, go left. To access the Uppier Tier climbs continue to the right of the wall just below the Gumfighter area and head up through the rhodos. Go right for the often overlooked Hidden Wall and left and up through the chimney for the main upper tier.

What to expect

Traditional climbs on steep rock. You should be comfortable leading trad climbs and with the occasional run out. This is not a sport climbing area. Top rope routes are few and far between at Ship, this is primarily a lead climbing area. You need 2 ropes or need to do 2 rappels to get down from the Boardwalk rap station.

Access notes

Due to the fragile nature of the surrounding plant communities and the high impact this area receives from climbers and hikers, it is critical that all climbers stay on established trails and only descend via the fixed rappel stations. Do not access the top of Harpoon from the trail.