El Potrero Chico

Translated as "The Little Corral," this is one of the largest big wall sport climbing destinations in the world. It boasts over 650 sport climbing routes with more than 140 of them being multipitch. Situated on the edge of the Chihuahua Desert in northern Mexico near Hidalgo in Nuevo León, the area enjoys prime climbing weather from November through February.

About The Area

El Potrereo Chico is a canyon outside the municipality of Hidalgo in the state of Nuevo Leon in Mexico. The canyon is both a city park for Hidalgo with pools and recreation areas, as well as an internationally renowned sport climbing mecca. Most of the climbs are located at the entrance to the park and all feature very quick approaches. Beyond the city-owned part of Potrero Chico is a semi-public native Mexican reservation that includes additional climbing and natural springs.


Getting There

From Monterrey International Airport take a 45 minute cab or bus ride to Hidalgo. The crags are a 15 minute walk from lodging, restaurants, convenience stores, and other amenities. Buy groceries at Carniceria La Mexicana or the Tuesday Street Market, or just leave the cooking to the locals to indulge in Mexican delectables like cabrito, machaca, discada, tamales, and of course, tacos!


El Potrero Chico is home to Estrellita (5.10c, 12 pitches), Yankee Clipper (5.10b, 14 pitches), and El Sendero Luminoso (5.12+, 15 pitches), along with the mammoth 22-pitch Time Wave Zero and 140 other bolted multipitch climbs. The single-pitch climbing is also top-notch and available at grades 5.7-5.13. The cliffs are comprised of high-quality, featured limestone. It is incredible that developers since the 1980's have chosen to install tens of thousands of bolts on routes that could in large part be climbed clean using traditional gear. It is a very unique climbing destination in terms of it's bolting ethic and geology.


Climbing shoes, chalk, helmet, ~15 quick draws, and a 70 m rope.


There are no walk-offs, so brush-up on rappelling skills.

  • Suitable Activities: Climbing, Global Adventures
  • Climbing Category: Rock Climb
  • Seasons: January, February, March, November, December
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Crag Rock Climb, Sport Rock Climb
  • Length: 2.0 mi
  • Land Manager: Land Manager Varies
  • Parking Permit Required: see Land Manager
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
Trip Reports

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  • Big Wall Sport Climbing in El Potrero Chico
  • Sport Climbing in El Potrero Chico

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