The Best Rock Climbing Spots in the U.S.

America's most exciting and accessible destinations for climbers of every level

Flickr/brookpeterson CC by ND 2.0

A climber on Mosaic Wall in Joshua Tree National Park, Calif.

Every climber has their own idea of what makes for a truly ideal climbing spot.

From the level of difficulty and the style of climbing to the surrounding scenery and the number of routes available, there are a handful of factors to consider when it comes to determining a truly choice climbing destination.   

No doubt, the U.S. has many exceptional crags for climbers to choose from. So, in order to pinpoint which spots are some of the country’s most well-loved, we turned to a handful of experts—many with extensive climbing experience.

We asked them so suggest climbing destinations that are exciting and challenging, but also accessible to beginners.

From the North Cascades of Washington all the way to the Catskills of New York, these rocky landscapes are considered among the best rock climbing locales in the U.S.

Leavenworth, Wash.

“Leavenworth is an amazing place to climb that gets little attention outside the region,” says Nathan Pauli a Seattle-based rock climber of 15 years. He said the area offers one of the densest concentrations of rock climbs in the state. “Though there's a long history of progressive traditional climbing it continues to develop as a popular bouldering destination,” he added. According to Pauli, here you’ll find accessible top-roping right off the road and an abundance of granite crags. “It's possible to find whatever level of adventure you're looking for,” he said. “The faux Bavarian-themed town is the icing on the cake, adding a kitschy element to the otherwise pristine natural environment and providing limitless people-watching opportunities on rest days.”

Joshua Tree National Park, Calif.

According to James Kaiser, author and photographer of “Joshua Tree: The Complete Guide,” this California-based National Park easily serves as one of the country’s best rock climbing spots. “There are over 8,000 known climbs up the park's famous rock formations,” Kaiser said. “In the winter, when more famous rock climbing destinations are closed due to cold and snow, many climbers flock to Joshua Tree—or ‘J Tree’ as climbers call it—to enjoy mild winter temperatures.” According to Kaiser, peak climbing months are October through April. 

Click here to see more of the best rock climbing spots in the U.S.


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