your guide to a few bouldering destinations
Horse Pens 40
Quick Info

Location: Steele, Alabama

Approach: 1-5 minutes, Easy

Problems: 600+

Rating: ****

Rock: Sandstone

Horse Pens 40 is a veritable bouldering resort. With camping located 100’ from the boulderfield, heated bathrooms and showers, and an on site restaurant and convenience store, HP40 is great vacation spot.

It also has some of the most unique bouldering you’ll find anywhere. Bulbous slopers make for crazy squeeze problems, hard top outs and a style of climbing you don’t find anywhere else. A compact field of about a hundred sandstone boulders offers over 600 established problems, with a wide range of difficulties.


Horse Pens 40 is privately owned and charges an $8 day use fee or $15 per night for camping and bouldering (as of November 2011). Multi day discounts are available. Dogs are not permitted.


While you can climb at HP40 year round, the summer months may be hot and uncomfortable. If you want to send, crisp winter days offer the best conditions. You’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to stick to the slopers.


Horse Pens 40 is located about an hour north east of Birmingham, just off of I-59. From I-59, take exit 166 for Ashville/Oneonta. Head north on US 231/AL 53 for 3.4 mi (5.4 km) and turn right on County Road 35 / Gallant Rd. After 1.8 mi (2.9 km) turn right on County Road 42 and after another 1.3 mi (2.0 km) the entrance to Horse Pens 40 will be on your right.


Camping and cabins are available on site, a stone's throw from the boulder field. Water, heated bathrooms and showers are included. Firewood is available from the store.


There is a restaurant on site and the camp store has a limited selection of groceries. Back down the mountain, at exit 166 on the I59, are a couple of restaurants. Exit 156 has a Walmart where you can purchase groceries.


The boulders are sandstone and extensive water erosion has left characteristic features such as runnels and bulbous slopers.


Horse Pens 40 is somewhat remote so you may just want to spend your rest days hanging out and hiking around the boulder field. WiFi is available at the Subway at exit 166 from the I-59.


Horse Pens 40

Southeastern Climbers Coalition

GPS Data

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