Calling all adrenaline junkies! Hi. We want to invite you to an afternoon of scaling rock formations while dangling several feet above the firm, safe ground. Are you in?
Come on! You can’t tell us there’s anything sweeter than combining the perfect moves to defeat that granite pillar. We just can’t get enough of the high that comes from climbing on rocks too high, cliffs too vertical, and granite too challenging.
If you’re looking to book your next adrenaline-spiked adventure wrapped up in the city limits of one of your favorite metropolises, it’s time to start packing!
Found in a sea of sandstone, Indian Creek is perhaps the best pile of rocks in Utah — The uniqueness of this spot doesn’t end with the massive cracks; the desert beauty also lends itself to the overall experience. The biggest bit of advice when climbing Indian Creek? Come prepared! At the very least, you will need ten cams to get through your climb. Meanwhile, Arches National Park, just outside of Moab, holds the best erosion anomalies (aka weird rocks), adding to the climbing appeal with over 2,000 of these creations exploding throughout the park. Don’t forget the water — the desert heat (like 110° in summer) can be unforgiving, no matter how big of a rock star you are.
With a string of outdoor activities whipping through the hilly thoroughfares of San Francisco, you shouldn’t be surprised to also find a natural rock climbing wall within the city limits. Here, the Beaver Street wall rises 45 feet high, casting a shadow on the Corona Heights neighborhood. The wall is divided by a crack down the middle, making it “climbable.” Want to get out of the city but keep the view? Bouldering at Ring Mountain will satisfy this need. Whether you opt to scale Turtle Rock or Split Rock, your afternoon will be filled with adventure and an Instagrammable skyline.
The path through West Texas isn’t just truck stops and motels. Outside of El Paso rests a historic site where rock climbing routes are abundant and world-renowned bouldering dominates the area. Several caverns, caves, and natural pools exist between the threesome of mounds that hold most of the areas outdoor activities. Hueco Tanks, you are unassumingly beautiful. Due to the historical significance of the area (it’s an old Native American hangout), the park limits its visitors. Sometimes, it’s necessary to reserve your spot six months in advance. So, plan ahead!
Word on the street? Chatty loves to rock and roll. Both in their downtown draw and their outdoor gems. Their collection of hard sandstone clenching onto the surrounding mountain ranges gives each skill level a chance to show this town what they’ve got! Come prepared with equipment while you attempt to mount some impossible routes. Want a more laxed afternoon outing? Bouldering at Stone Fort and Rock Town require less equipment and less risk. Pick your poison!
About an hour outside of Seattle, bouldering in the Cascade Range is a leading destination for climbers across the globe. But you have options, friend. Is bouldering too low to ground for your liking? Leavenworth has options that bring you eye-to-eye with towering alpines as you hang off the side of a rock, hundreds of feet in the sky. Divided into three parts, Leavenworth includes climbing regions Creek Canyon, Tumwater Canyon, and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. And the best time of year to devote a day to the Northwestern adventure site is March into early November.
Being one of the most active cities in the country, one could assume Austin is also rich in natural rocks. In fact, it’s common to find Austin residents ascending the countless climb spots on any given day of the week. For one, Bull Park is terrific for beginners as it is doused in bouldering routes ranging from V0 to V3. For veteran rock conquers, Barton Creek Greenbelt is rich in sport-climbing courses notched through the vertical jags and overhangs. Austinites are cool too — expect friendly dialogue between fellow climbers, regardless of their skill level.
Believe it or not, the Strip has more to offer than casinos and pool parties. Sure, Vegas visitors are accustomed to climbing casino towers to get to the next club, but who would’ve thought you can forgo those casinos to climb some of the best rocks in the country? Behold, Red Rocks is a dream for mountaineering rock scalers. The canyon walls, 20 miles outside of Sin City, are hard and cracked, creating the perfect canvas for climbing enthusiasts. With sandstone canyons and perfectly vertical cliffs, plan to soak up the desert vibe (as well as the desert sun). Do yourself a favor: unlike most climbing destinations, Vegas is best conquered September through May when the rays are milder.
North Carolina has got a little bit of everything good, including a variety of rocks that cater to multiple skill levels. Boone, where the Blue Ridge Mountains are worshipped by mountaineers and looky-loos, offers unforgettable climbs throughout the region. Whether you are clenching rock at a whopping 4,000 feet at Ship Tower or dominating the crags of the Linville Gorge Wilderness, your adrenaline will likely lead the way (followed closely by your appreciation for the panoramic surroundings). Not into being eye-level with people on an airplane? The bouldering here is phenomenal and still boasts scenery only found in dreams.
As the first known rock climbing occurrence in the state of Colorado, it’s pretty sensible that Boulder makes our list. Home to one of the most iconic flatirons, the Third Flatiron (often referred to simply as the Third) holds just as much history as it does danger. Mounted in 1906 by Floyd and Earl Millard, the rock remains admired and feared at the same time, making it one of the most sought-after climbing challenges. Special note: The majestic Third is one of the busiest multi-pitched climbing routes but it is exceptionally dangerous during bad weather. Stay adventurous my friends, but stay cautious, too!
Is Yosemite too crowded? Don’t worry — your plan B is just as impressive with less fuss. Just outside of Tahoe, the historical and vast Donner Summit is painted in granite slabs—from easy-to-climb to hard-as-heck—giving every level of climbers a playground. School Rock is an easy climb for beginners or experts taking a “day off”. But want to spike your heart rate? If physical exertion doesn’t do it, hanging from Star Wall’s far out ledges will. This wall is known to pull in adrenaline junkies looking to get their fix. Time to get high (climbing, guys) under the California skies!
Some claim it’s the best in the west. Especially those who belong to the Salt Lake Climbers Alliance. Yes, they have their own alliance; it’s that good. The distinct and fluctuating terrain of the Wasatch Range is perfect for those with a hobby that includes topping out on unique rock formations surrounded by alpine. There are multi-pitch routes to charm anyone’s socks off, but keep your socks on! You’ll need them during your outdoor adventure in Utah’s capital.
Probably not the first destination that pops into your mind when you thinking rock climbing — ah, but it should. This underdog has location on its side. During the winter, Reno and Carson City are home to countless crags to tackle. Although there are nearby rocks to ascend within city limits, the proximity to its more beautiful neighbors can’t be missed either. Just a short 40 minutes away, you can dominate Tahoe and Donner Summit during the summer months. And if you opt for an even bigger beast, you can make the three-hour drive to Yosemite.
Perhaps not quite a city, Yosemite could not be left off this list. You could say that The Big Stone at El Capitan was the birthing place of climbing. You could say that because it’s true! Modern big wall climbing originated in Yosemite, and you’ll see for yourself when you come face to face with the rock formations at this national landmark. This is the spot where badasses come, see, and conquer while badasses in training take notes and give it a go on a lesser rock challenge. The larger-than-life hunk of rock turns people into cliff hangers, and dreamers into doers.
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