Bouldering in Vacaville

Experience a bold outdoor adventure and see if you can tackle Vacaville's Nut Tree Boulders!

Halfway between the bustle of Sacramento and San Francisco is the small city of Vacaville, where locals have been escaping into the hills to boulder since the sport began gaining popularity in the 1970s. In case you missed it, bouldering is a form of rock climbing that is performed without the use of ropes or harnesses. While it can be done without any equipment whatsoever, most climbers use climbing shoes to help secure footholds, chalk to keep their hands dry, and crash pads to prevent injuries from falls.

Photo via Instagram by @_nickandrew_

An abundance of basalt boulders dot the tranquil grassy hills of Vacaville's Browns Valley Open Space, forming an off-the-beaten path bouldering oasis beloved by local climbing enthusiasts. 

Nut Tree Boulders
Photo via Instagram by @summitorplummet

With more than 50 boulders boasting nicknames such as Bloody Madness, Stoned Dangler, and Space Lord, climbing routes on the Nut Tree Boulders range from beginner to expert and make for an epic day of bouldering while enjoying sweeping views of Vacaville, the Sacramento Valley, and on a clear day even the snow-capped Sierra. Vaca means cow in Spanish, so don't be surprised to see happy California cows grazing throughout the trails. 

Photo via Instagram by @keeganwilliams

Insider tips:

1. Always bring a bouldering buddy to spot you in case of slips and falls.
2. Pack water and a crash pad.
3. The trails in the Browns Valley Open Space are not marked, so you have to do a bit of exploring to find the boulders.
4. There are several entrance spots for the open space area- look for cattle grates and signs posted (find directions here).
5. Keep an eye out for rattlesnakes, especially in the months when the weather is warm.
6. Please pack out what you take in. There are no trash receptacles. 

Browns Valley Open Space via Google Maps

For some detailed information on directions to the boulders and climbing routes, check out Mountain Project's Nut Tree Boulders page. 

Photo via Instagram by @jumpoffjoeyp

Happy exploring! Share your Nut Tree Bouldering adventure with us on Instagram by tagging @visitvacaville! Also, don't miss our post on the area's Top 6 Hiking Spots for more outdoor adventure inspiration.