One of the amazing things about Austin is its unique blend of urban and outdoor activities. You can spend the day at the office, then be in the middle of nature in under ten minutes. It’s pretty awesome – you know that already. But how about climbing for a better view?
There’s no better way to experience this than to take on one of the awesome climbing and bouldering routes within minutes of downtown. Whether you’re a beginning climber looking to get your feet wet, or an experienced bouldering enthusiast vying for a challenge, there are plenty of options for everyone to get their crag on here.
A favorite for hikers, bikers, and swimmers, the Barton Creek Greenbelt in south-central Austin is also full of climbing opportunities. Due to its popularity, the limestone here is more polished than other climbing locations, but its proximity to almost everything makes it great for a quick crag. None of the routes are higher than 70 feet, so a 40-meter rope should do you just fine.
Hey, North Austin bouldering enthusiasts! We’re looking at you. With over 40 shady bouldering routes not more than 15-feet tall, this is a great place to practice and perfect your technique. Problems range from V0-V8, but most fall within the V0-V3, so it’s a great choice if you’re just getting into the scene. The holds here are pretty polished, though, so you’ll likely find them more difficult during the hot and humid months.
McKinney Falls in North Austin is a an awesome option for beginning to expert bouldering. With over 75 routes, folks of all levels will have plenty of ways to hone their skills. But this location especially appeals to experienced climbers for its lofty overhangs, rating as high as V12. If you don’t have an annual state park pass, the day rate is $6 per adult.
Right around the corner from Hamilton Pool in Dripping Springs, Reimers Ranch has a whole buffet of climbing options. Climbers can delight in over 300 routes, none of which are taller than 50 feet. Choose from the 185 routes of the sunnier side, Reimer’s Proper, or opt for the 120 routes on the shadier side at North Shore. Cool off from your climbing adventure with a dip in Lake Travis or the nearby Hamilton Pool. Fitt tip: It costs $10 per car, per day, so it’s best to carpool if you can.
Fredericksburg’s Enchanted Rock isn’t technically in Austin, but it’s close and beautiful enough that plenty of Austinites happily make the journey. There, the ancient pink granite provides a stellar backdrop for slab and crack climbing. And its tranquil setting makes it perfect for enjoying a post-climb picnic. All levels will find something they can dig into here, so come as you are!
Unique in that it’s located on a private property in Spicewood, Monster Rock is a no-frills destination for serious climbers. This mostly shady spot is a great break from the heat, so it’s popular year-round. And while it’s small, it offers challenging routes from 5.7 to 5.13 in difficulty, so you won’t leave wanting for a workout. It’s open seven days a week for $5 per day, all the owner asks is that you shoot him an email or text letting him know you’re coming.
If you’re looking for a quiet day of relaxed climbing, this is where you’ll find it. About 30 minutes north of downtown, the Georgetown Hospital Riverside Sanctuary has more than 15 easy-to-moderate bolted sport and top-rope routes. Located directly behind the hospital, it’s fairly secluded, so your chances are good that you’ll have the place all to yourself.
Right on Lake Travis, Pace Bend Park is a great choice for a hot day. The limestone cliffs range from 15 to 40 feet and offer climbs for beginners and experts alike. You can go for a standard climb, but the real fun lies in the opportunity to climb yourself directly out of the water down below. For those days you feel suffocated by the summer heat, there’s really no better option.
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