Moe’s Valley is the rusty, dangerous, nostalgic playground of bouldering areas. The sandstone is chossy and uncannily rust-colored, there is a dedicated corner for shitting in, dirtbikes and ATVs loudly orbit all the boulders, and sometimes teenagers show up to get real drunk and leave garbage everywhere. It is by far one of the best places this adventure has taken us to.
Located in St. George, Utah, Moe’s Valley is a travelling climber’s paradise. The Shinarump Conglomerate sandstone is soft and full of petrified wood and other old junk, which has allowed the elements to dramatically erode it into gymnastic and exciting boulder problems. The camping is free and spacious, the approach is relatively short, the setting is dreamworld space-terrain, and there are infinite first ascents waiting to be climbed. We fell in love with Moe’s, which makes my above description problematic.
Not enough people take care of the area, and while gross-outs like me don’t mind the squalor itself, we do mind when it causes restricted access or ecological crises. The desert is a delicate layer cake of horned lizards who shoot blood out of their eyes, mind-controlling parasitoid wasps who boast the second most painful sting in this world, and other highly evolved horrors of the earth. Humans, climbers, and drunk teenagers alike are all responsible for not destroying their intricately hostile battlefield. Do not walk on the cryptobiotic soil (if you don’t know what this is, FIND OUT, and stay on trails), please bury/pack-out yours and your dog’s feces, and don’t climb on wet sandstone because you will break it. If you do not take care of the area SITLA* will roast you over your own illegal campfire and feed you to your dog. Maybe they won’t. I wouldn’t risk it.
Below are some helpful guidelines for being discreet and living well out of your car or whatever in Moe’s.
Directions/Where to Camp: 37.069463, -113.623011 is where we camped, peacefully for all of March until we decided it was too hot to climb (which is saying a lot, we show up everywhere late in the season because we don’t give a shit about send temps) and ventured on to Priest Draw. Since Moe’s is so close to town there is even decent phone reception in the camping area, and it improves if you walk up the hill. The Sentinel Boulder is the closest to the camping at 37.069204, -113.627382, and following this trail will lead to the main area.
Water, Groceries, Climb Shop: There is a Smith’s on the corner of St. George Blvd. and N. Bluff St. with a gas station in the parking lot, water pump outside the gas station, and it is conveniently located across the street from The Desert Rat where you can purchase the guidebook and other climbing related necessities.
Internet: The Jazzy Java Rock ‘N Roll Grill two blocks north of the Smith’s on Bluff St. has internet, awesome burger specials, and also other, less important kinds of foods all served up within a cozy bloggy ambiance. In the same parking lot is the 3 Amigos Market, if you are looking for beef tendon or just better chips and tortillas than can be found at Smith’s. Perks! coffee shop is another option, and it is within walking distance of the laundromat if you don’t like watching all your clothes spin around and around.
Showers: The beta here is not quite so sweet as far as I know. The dirt in Moe’s is insidious and will coat your entire body and pads in no time. There is no riverbank for hobo-showering, but the Sand Hollow Aquatic Center has a $6 admission for non-resident adults. Since we live in a spaceship, we just dump a couple 5 gallon jugs into our water tank and take showers once a week in our shower cell. Sorry I can’t be more helpful here. If anyone has more suggestions or details, please leave them in the comments!
Rest Days: Does anyone actually use this section of guidebooks? We go for dirtbike adventures, which Moe’s is in a perfect location for, or we fix whatever piece of our house broke in the last couple days. Actually, while you are at Jazzy Java, you could download all 5 of the Monkey Island games and play those on rest days. Those are real good. The area has great mountain biking. Looking West from the camping area, there is a juniper tree on the hill that looks out of place. In the process of making our way towards that on foot one evening we found a flowy downhill trail that has nice banked turns. Zion is only about an hour away. Basically, the possibilities are as endless as you are restless.
Here are a couple of our favorite Moe’s Valley climbs to get you excited!
Eli’s manhandles Pink Lady v6:
Me battling the Jabberwock Arete as well as my own clothing choices:
*Moe’s Valley is SITLA , State of Utah Schools and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, land. Although SITLA has classified Moe’s as an Open-Space area, exempt from future development, we still need to protect this asset of the community. Tyler Webb and Seth Giles, authors of Moe’s Valley Bouldering Guide, have set some very important guidelines for the valley:
• Stay on the trails when possible and encourage others to do the same.
• Do not drive into Moe’s Valley. It is annoying, and it damages the soil.
• Do not leave any trash. If you carry it in, carry it out.
• Please restrict camp-fires to established fire pits. Follow BLM guidelines for Fire Restrictions based on increased hazard.
• If you must burn pallets, please clean up the nails when ashes are cool.
• SITLA has very little power to enforce responsible use. If you see someone acting irresponsibly, please stop them.
• Do not climb on wet sandstone. It will break and ruin the problem for everyone. (Entire footnote stolen from here. Thanks!)