Thousands of adventurous men and women dare to ascend the sheerest heights of nature, to experience first-hand some of the most spectacular views in the world. The United States has no shortage of beautiful rock formations seasoned and beginner climbers can traverse. You don’t need to go out of the country to experience the greatest crags, cliffs, ranges, walls and monuments for your rock climbing adventure – America has an abundance of those. Here are few of the many scenic rock climbing places in the United States:
1. Red River Gorge, Kentucky
While many tourists and travelers don’t see a lot of reasons to visit Kentucky (of all the states), but climbers do know that they offer some of the best rock climbing opportunities with the Red River Gorge. “The Red,” as it is popularly called, is a powerful, overhung sport climbing destination with dynamic routes for all skill levels. It’s an intricate canyon system that has a lot of sandstone cliffs, rock shelters, natural bridges and waterfalls, giving climbers a magical and gorgeous scenery as they ascend to the top.
2. Yosemite National Park, California
No list of scenic rock climbing destinations would be complete without mentioning Yosemite National Park. It’s the most iconic climbing destination in America and in the world, with its legendary sceneries and amazing granite walls and boulders. It’s a one-stop-shop for climbers, hikers, adventurers and even photographers and families wanting to have a great time in the wilderness. It’s even considered as a rite of passage for many moderate to advanced climbers. For many advanced climbers, the famous El Capitan rock formation is the challenge to take on.
3. Joshua Tree National Park, California
Among the park service’s world-class climbing destinations, Joshua Tree is probably one of the strangest yet most outstanding places. The whole place is filled with rugged rock formations, stark desert landscapes, boulders and buttresses, gold mining ruins, and the wacky and bristled Joshua trees (from which the place was named). It features 8,000 different climbing routs with more than 400 climbing formations, so you surely won’t get bored. You can easily admire the amazing desert flora, the vibrant sunsets and the nighttime sky filled with stars. It can be scorching hot here in the summer, so it’s best to visit during mild winter seasons.
4. Devils Tower National Monument, Wyoming
A gigantic butte made of igneous rock, the Devils Tower is one of the most unique rock formations in America. It’s a rare piece of natural architecture with hexagonal columns and hundreds of parallel cracks, making it a unique experience for a climber. Because of its formation, it is referred as a crack climb, because you can literally use the cracks in the rock towers to climb it. Fun fact: Devil’s Tower is the first national monument, after President Teddy Roosevelt named it in 1906. Climbing this famous landmark would be a tremendous achievement for any climber, and the views you can get from the rock are awe-inspiring.
5. Arches National Park, Utah
Arches National Park in Moab, Utah, is a home to over 2,000 natural stone arches and a landscape of contrasting colors, textures and land forms like no other. Its massive, red-hued rocks, arches, boulders and desert is spectacular and surreal – which can give you the feeling of stepping into another planet. However, the climbing routes in the Arches are only for the advanced and educated climbers because of the tricky, sandy nature of the rocks. Also, you are not allowed to use pitons, so it’s really not for beginners.
6. Acadia National Park, Maine
There are few places where you can climb on granite cliffs that starts inches above the waters of the northern Atlantic Ocean, and the rocks at Acadia National Park in Maine are one of them. Acadia offers unique climbing opportunities, with the sea being a perfect backdrop for an epic climbing adventure. Its woody landscape, rocky beaches and glacier-scoured granite peaks are spectacular, but you need to be aware of the tide and weather before climbing since the rocks are next to the sea.
7. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
One of Wyoming’s most stunning destinations, the Grand Teton National Park encompasses the Teton mountain range and the Jackson Hole valley. It’s an awe-inspiring alpine climbing destination, making it known as “American Alps.” The classic alpine destination has more than 35 climbing routes and about 50 variations to each of them, so you can enjoy its variety of terrain and angles through climbing rock, snow and ice. There are plenty of summits on the Teton Range, and most of them are manageable for advanced and intermediate climbers.