12 Places to Go Rock Climbing Before You Die

Rock climbing is an awesome way to enjoy the great outdoors, not to mention a hardcore total-body workout. So grab a pair of rock climbing shoes, some climbing rope, and plan a trip to one of these gorgeous places to go rock…

Red River Gorge


Where you’ll be climbing: Slade, Kentucky

“I love Red River Gorge, AKA The Red, both for its beauty and its enormous climbing potential. Climbing there on a dry, sunny fall day is one of the most magical experiences a climber can have. It’s world class.” —Emily Harrington, champion rock climber and The North Face athlete

Acadia National Park


Where you’ll be climbing: Mount Desert, Maine

“There are very few places where you can climb on spectacular, crisp granite that starts just inches above the frigid, dark waters of the northern Atlantic Ocean. Acadia National Park is home to many classic seaside routes, as well as an impressive formation of pink granite, providing an incredible view of the island, the ocean, and the lobster men hard at work.” —Justin Gougeon, Acadia Mountain Guides

Silver Mountain


Where you’ll be climbing: Baraga, Michigan (Upper Peninsula)

“Silver Mountain offers some of the longest, most challenging rock climbing routes in Upper Michigan. In the fall, the surrounding forest comes alive with colors to make a beautiful backdrop for this climbing area.” —Bill Thompson, Down Wind Sports

Grand Teton National Park


Where you’ll be climbing: Jackson, Wyoming

“Grand Teton National Park is arguably the most awe-inspiring alpine climbing destination in the lower forty-eight states.The area is known as the ‘American Alps’ for a reason. Grab climbing shoes and go in the fall for cool weather and amazing photo ops, when the Aspen trees turn bright yellow.” —Angela Hiatt

Rifle Mountain Park


Where you’ll be climbing: Rifle, Colorado

“There’s a lot of rock climbing near me, but I grew up climbing in Rifle; it is a place that shaped my childhood and career. The routes are complicated and require serious problem-solving skills. And it’s a beautiful place, especially in the fall when the leaves are changing and the canyon feels alive and vibrant.” —Emily Harrington, champion rock climber and The North Face athlete

Indian Creek


Where you’ll be climbing: Moab, Utah

“From striking sandstone desert towers to world-class splitter crack climbing that you can almost drive to, Moab is truly a cornucopia of adventure and one of the best places to go rock climbing. If you get bored around these parts, you’re doing something wrong!” —Justin Gougeon, Acadia Mountain Guides

Gibraltar Rock


Where you’ll be climbing: Santa Barbara, California

“Mountaineering in this area means you’ll get breathtaking views of the Santa Barbara coastline and town, very challenging routes for different levels of skill, and the ability to sneak away from the crowds. This area is all-around gorgeous for mountain climbers.” —Nora Tobin, certified personal trainer

The Pinnacle


Where you’ll be climbing: Marquette, Michigan

“I really think The Pinnacle is one of the greatest places to go rock climbing—it’s right in Marquette, and is the perfect spot to go for an early morning climb in the summer. It’s usually cooler by the lake, and as you climb the sun comes rising out of Lake Superior; it’s truly a spectacular sight.” —Bill Thompson, Down Wind Sports

Mount Temple


Where you’ll climb: Banff National Park; Alberta, Canada

“The North Face of Mount Temple is known as the Eiger of the Rockies. Despite being big and serious, particularly in winter conditions, it sits right above the gorgeous tourist town of Lake Louise. Climbing it is somewhat surreal because you can see the lights of town down below. Those creature comforts make it seem very close somehow, and very far away all at once. It’s an interesting experience.” —Josh Wharton, Patagonia ambassador

Star Wall at Donner Summit


Where you’ll be climbing: Lake Tahoe, California

“I’m convinced that the Lake Tahoe area is one of the best places to go rock climbing, or enjoy any outdoor adventure, really. The weather is nearly always perfect and the granite climbing is phenomenal. It’s one of the only places I’ve ever climbed in a sports bra when there’s snow on the ground!” —Emily Harrington, champion rock climber and The North Face athlete

El Capitan


Where you’ll be climbing: Yosemite Valley, California “No list of beautiful rock climbing destinations could be complete without paying homage to Yosemite National Park. It is a place of legends, and the views that once inspired John Muir to dedicate his life to the mountains will no doubt stir your imagination, if not your soul.” —Angela Hiatt

Red Rock Canyon


Where you’ll be climbing: Las Vegas, Nevada

“Believe it or not, one of the best places to learn to climb multi-pitch is the Nevada desert, just outside of Las Vegas. So when you’re ready to escape the bright lights and casino, head to Red Rok Canyon for some killer views.” –Janelle Smiley, Alpine Institute

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