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Discover the best places to go rock climbing in the United States of America
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Climb Europe - The website to plan your rock climbing holiday in the United States of America

Rock climbing in the United States of America

There is a great deal of diversity of rock climbing in the United States, ranging from world-class bouldering at Hueco Tanks in Texas through to big wall climbing at El Capitan (over 1,000m long) at Yosemite in California, and mountaineering on Denali in Alaska.  In between there are plenty of sport climbing and traditional rock climbing areas.  It is possible to find rock climbing in virtually every State of America, with the best areas described below.

The best bouldering in Alabama is located an hour’s drive northeast of Birmingham at Horse Pens 40.  Here there are couple of a hundred problems on good quality sandstone rock.

Mountaineering in Alaska is dominated by Denali (Mt McKinley), which is the highest mountain in North America at an altitude of 6194 m (20,320 ft).  Denali offers one of the world's greatest expeditions particularly on its popular west buttress.

Map of the best rock climbing areas in the United States of America

Map of the best rock climbing areas in the United States of America Rock Climbing in California Rock Climbing in Colorado Rock climbing in Texas Rock climbing in Utah Bouldering in Alabama Rock climbing in Kentucky Rock climbing and bouldering in New England Rock climbing in Oregon Rock climbing guidebooks for Alaska Rock climbing guidebooks for Washington State Rock climbing guidebooks for Wyoming Rock climbing in Nevada Rock climbing at New River Gorge in West Virginia Rock climbing in Arkansas

Rock climbing in Arkansas.  Horseshoe Canyon Ranch is the premier climbing area in Arkansas, where there are many excellent sport routes on sandstone rock.  Other rock climbing areas in Arkansas are Sam's Throne Region, Richard Creek Wilderness, and Cowell Region where you can find both sport and trad routes across a wide range of grades. 

Rock climbing in California.  California has a rich variety of rock climbing areas including two world class destinations, these being Yosemite and Joshua Tree.  Yosemite is dominated by the granite big walls of El Capitan (over 1,000m high of continues granite), Half Dome and Sentinel.  Yosemite also offers excellent bouldering and shorter multi-pitch routes around 150m long.  Joshua Tree is the largest climbing area in north America in terms of number of routes, with over 3,500.  The white granite rock provides numerous single and multi-pitch routes and many classic bouldering problems.  There are other excellent bouldering areas in California including Lake Tahoe, Bishop, and the San Francisco Bay area.

Rock climbing in Colorado is incredibly varied with many excellent crags and areas.  Big wall and long multi-pitch routes are found in the Rocky Mountains (alpine style routes on granite rock), Flatirons of Boulder Mountain Park (sandstone & conglomerate rock with routes up to 300m long), and deep gorges such as Eldorado Canyon (sandstone with routes up to 300m long) and Black Canyon of the Gunnison (adventure climbing at its best).  Add in limestone sport routes at places such as Rifle and Shelf Road, plus sandstone bouldering at Fort Collin’s Horsetooth Reservoir, it’s easy to why Colorado offers the greatest variety of rock climbing in America.

Rock climbing in Kentucky and West Virginia.  These two neighbouring states provide some of the best sport climbing areas that are accessible within a day from most major cities in the eastern states.  Located in Powell County in Kentucky is the famous Red River Gorge, whilst the New River Gorge is located in West Virginia.  Both of these gorges provide excellent bolted sport climbing on hard sandstone rock.

Rock climbing in Nevada.  Located to the west of Las Vegas is the Red rock Canyon, Nevada’s best rock climbing area.  The sandstone canyon provides many long multi-pitch routes that are both bolted sport routes and traditional routes.  There are also many excellent bouldering areas with a short drive of Las Vegas particularly the Kraft boulders at Calico Basin, Red Rock Canyon and Black Velvet Canyon.

Rock climbing in New England.  The New England area covers the states of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Maine in the northeast corner of the United States of America, and there are many excellent bouldering areas on many different types of rock.

The best rock climbing in Oregon is at Smith Rock State Park located in central Oregon's high desert near the towns of Redmond and Terrebonne.  It is here that America’s first sport climbing area was established.  There are many thousands of routes at Smith Rock State Park that are both sport and traditional across a wide range of grades.

The best rock climbing in Texas is at Hueco Tanks State Historical Park, lying 30 miles east of El Paso, near the Mexican border.  Hueco Tanks has lots of traditional rock climbing up to three pitches long, but Hueco Tanks is best known for its world class bouldering.  The type of rock here is called “ironrock” that is dark brown and produces unique narrow necked spherical pocket holds.  Due to Hueco Tank’s warm dry climate, it is known as one of America’s premier winter climbing areas.

Rock climbing in Utah.  It has been said that Utah has almost as many rock routes as it has inhabitants, making Utah one of the best states in America to go rock climbing.  Here there is traditional rock climbing on the sandstone towers of southern Utah, sport climbing on the quartzite of northern Utah, or big wall rock routes at Zion National Park.

Rock climbing in Washington.  The Washington Pass area provides many excellent big wall multi-pitch rock routes, and is often described as the best alpine rock climbing area in the northwest region of the United States of America.

The best rock climbing to be found in Wyoming is at Vedauwoo. Vedauwoo is an area of rocky granite outcrops located in south-eastern Wyoming, near the towns of Laramie and Cheyenne.  The granite outcrops provide some fantastic wide crack and offwidth routes along with some excellent bouldering.

Rock ‘N’ Road rock climbing guidebookThe Rock ‘N’ Road guidebook is an atlas of North American rock climbing areas, and it includes information on every state in the United States of America, 7 states in Canada and some information of about the rock climbing in Mexico.  This useful book describes the different crags, , style of climbing, how to get there, , and general information about the area, though it doesn't describe any individual routes. 

Buy the Rock ‘N’ Road guidebook from our shop. 


Red River Gorge North rock climbing guidebook

Buy rock climbing guidebooks for the United States of America from our shop.

Climb Europe stocks guidebooks that cover the rock climbing, mountaineering,  sport climbing and bouldering for the best places in the United States of America. 

Look in our online shop for more information.

Bishop Bouldering guidebook