This Bridge in Oregon is the Unlikely Location for a Popular Climbing Route

by | May 30, 2024 | Adventures, Climbing

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When most people think about climbing in and around Redmond, the first thing that comes to mind is the famed Smith Rock State Park, which has been a destination for climbers all over the world since the early 1980s. However, if you drive just a few miles south on the 97 to the Maple Avenue Bridge, you’ll find a unique climbing spot that has a decidedly different vibe.  

Close up of climber
Close up of climber, City or Redmond website

It’s called the Maple Bridge Arches, and though there’s currently only one climbing route here, it’s definitely worth the trip just to experience this unusual location. The route is installed on one of the arches of the bridge using holds donated by local companies, Entre Prises and Metolius. And not to worry, it’s all been checked out and cleared by a structural engineer, so it’s super safe. It’s also been named one of the “world’s coolest climbing structures” by Climbing Magazine!

climber on route
climber on route. Julie Swanson, AllTrails

The route is 100 feet long, sits 60 feet off the ground at its peak, and is rated 5.12b (for those of you not in the climbing world this is considered challenging, largely because the entire route is overhung). It’s also only open to lead climbing (a more advanced style where the climber has to clip and set the rope as they progress up.) It starts at a 45 degree angle and slowly decreases to a 15 degree angle as you ascend, but the climber still has to hold their body weight the entire time. There are good holds, similar to the kind you'd find in a climbing gym, but it still takes a lot of strength and technique to complete it. 

Ribbon cutting
Ribbon cutting ceremony, City of Redmond facebook

The concrete bridge was first built in 2007 but it wasn’t until 2015 that this distinctive climbing route was added, much to the delight of the local climbing community. The idea to put in a route here was largely a grassroots effort spearheaded by local climber Ian Caldwell in 2014, and it quickly earned the support of the city and other local businesses. 

bridge from Dry Canyon Trail
bridge from Dry Canyon Trail, Elton Rivera Google Local

Another great thing about the Maple Bridge Arches is it’s super easy to get to. The bridge goes right over the Dry Canyon Trail which you can access by parking at the Paul Hathaway Memorial Park then taking the stairs down below the bridge. The area is open every day from dawn to dusk, so if you wanna try it out yourself or just watch more experienced climbers ascend up its steep slope, head out there today!

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Written By Diana Flowers

Diana is a writer living in Portland with her delightful son and crotchety cat. Growing up in the area, family vacations were often to nearby destinations reachable by car. She has since expanded that love of local road trips and has been all over the great state of Oregon and throughout the Pacific Northwest, frequently pairing backpacking trips with exploring new towns and regions.

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