10 Best Cities in the World to Go Rock Climbing

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Rock climbing is a never-ending adventure for those that are truly passionate about it. You are always seeking out the newest place to get your fix, and where you can go to find the most challenging and most exciting areas to do what you love.

With this in mind, the later posted list will divulge the 10 Best Cities in the World to Go Rock Climbing. Not only will you get introduced to the cities you need to get to, but the most revered and challenging rock faces to find when you make it there.

Remember that these are the very best rock climbing spots in the entire world, so be prepared for a challenge. Each of these cities and their corresponding rock climbing areas have been selected based on their degree of challenge and the incredible views from scaling the rock face.

Don’t forget to buy rock climbing shoes first!

10 Best Cities in the World To Go Rock Climbing

1. Acadia National Park, Maine (Otter Cliff)

These routes are nestled in one of the most beautiful areas of the American Northeast in Acadia National Park. While there are several areas that rock climbers can use in this vast protected area, the Otter Cliffs are the most heavily climbed and most revered.

With their general ease of use, and the big rewards that come from scaling them, the Otter Cliffs are a great place to climb for all skill levels and ages.

A word of caution to those who are coming to climb this formation for the first time: Beware the high tide, as your gear can become wet or encrusted with salt from the water, potentially causing dangerous situations.

It is best to consult with a local expert in Acadia National Park to determine the safest times to climb Otter Cliff.

2. Santa Barbara, California (Gibraltar Rock)

This is a coveted rock formation for climbers all over the country. While it might not have quite the renown that some of the others on this list have, this is not one that you should easily pass up. For one, it is a generally unpacked area, giving you plenty of time to appreciate the climb and all of the amazing scenery that you can see as you climb farther and farther up the face.

This is a moderately challenging set of courses. This means that it is not ideal for climbers of all ages and skill levels. It is, however, offering one of the most rewarding views once you have scaled to the top of the route.

With the generally favorable weather year round, this can be a great site to check off your list when local climbing areas are shut down for the season.

3. Yosemite National Park, California (El Capitan)

El Capitan is no joke. While there have been many revisions made to the varying routes leading up this 3,000 ft face, the dangers of scaling this impressive behemoth are real.

Temperamental weather conditions allow for sudden changes and massive storms to occur with no warning, which can lead to your need to be rescued or even a fatal fall to the unsuspecting and ill -prepared climber.

Still, this is one of the most impressive and incredible challenges for any enthusiast, and should certainly be on your list of must -dos. Much like El Potrero Chico (which is on this list as well), this is not the kind of excursion that will be over in a matter of minutes. Climbing El Capitan takes endurance and dedication.

4. Boulder, Colorado (Boulder Canyon)

A slew of varying skill level courses awaits the enthused rock climber setting off for Boulder, Colorado. This is one of the many rock formations that are able to be climbed year-round, even with some of the harsher winters that are common to higher elevations in Colorado.

Bear in mind that the South side of the canyon features more shaded areas that are far more ideal for summer months, as the northern face receives sun nearly all day long, making it a tougher choice for the summer and a smarter choice for winter climbers.

5. Dodecanese Islands, Greece (Kalymnos Island)

When I heard that this was one of the premiere climbing areas in all of the world, I knew that one day I would have to head out there and see it for myself.

While there are undoubtedly a lot of lower grades for those that are weekend warriors when it comes to climbing, there are also a lot of challenging routes for experienced climbers of all skill levels.

Best of all, these areas are incredibly accessible (no matter which route you end up choosing on a given day) and require little hiking to get to their starting points.

This means that you are not going to spend half of your day just getting from route to route like you would with some of the other impressive locations on this list that are less accessible.

6. Krabi, Thailand (Railay Beach)

Railay Beach is split into two main portions, East and West. While the West is more densely commercialized and thereby more expensive for accommodations), it is also the better looking of the two options.

The beach on the East side isn’t all that enticing, and once the tide has rolled through it gets muddy. Still, both sides feature some impressive routes to choose from, and offer significant challenges to even the most skilled of climber.

If you are just looking for a challenging set of routes to put your skills to the test, the East side is where you should go.

You will save a lot of money that way and the routes are significantly less crowded through the more popular months. If you are looking for more impressive landscapes once you’ve finished routes, the West side is going to be more of what you want.

7. Alicante, Spain (Costa Blanca)

Spain is a magnificent and beautiful country to visit almost any time of the year, and if you are a rock climber, getting to see some of the impressive limestone crags of Costa Blanca will be something you never forget your entire life.

Some of the most impressive and memorable scenery I have ever experienced came from scaling some of the moderate level routes available in the Alicante region.

This was an expertly designed set of routes, complete with solid anchor points throughout each section.

8. North Island, New Zealand (Wharepapa South)

While there is a lot of activity that happens all around the North Island, Wharepapa South was one destination that I had done a lot of research on.

While I was packing light for this trip, I wasn’t without the gear that I knew and trusted thanks to Bryce’s.

They had an amazing rental and guide shop there to give me all the information and gear I needed to tackle some amazing faces that day. The views were breathtaking and the people of New Zealand were welcoming and friendly.

9. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (Grand Teton)

This is one of the meccas of rock climbers from all over the world. While it might not be one of the most challenging areas on the planet, it literally has something for everyone to feel accomplished about completing, no matter how advanced you have become with climbing.

This is one of the first trips that I took specifically to rock climb somewhere, and I’ve taken this same trip multiple times since then.

When I began, I chose some of the more heavily traveled routes. Since then I have ventured off into some of the more challenging climbs for experienced climbers, proving that every time you visit you can have a unique and rewarding experience.

10. Nuevo Leon, Mexico (El Potrero Chico)

There is so much climb (not to mention to do in the area around all of the rock faces), that you could spend well over 10 days on vacation in this sunny, beautiful Mexican landscape. While it might not be against the beach, the limestone formations of Nuevo Leon are vast and there are more routes than you will likely be able to complete within the time you have allotted for your stay.

While it is always nice to tackle a challenging climb quickly for your own sake, it sometimes leaves you wanting more when you finally reach the top.

You will be happy to know that some of the routes at this coveted Mexican location have up to 20 pitches in length, offering an extended climb which varies greatly from the multiple 15-20 minute experiences I’ve gotten other places in the world.

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About the author


Hi, I’m Brian Bradshaw. I’m a super duper mega hiking enthusiast, with a love for everything that has to do with outdoors, hiking, gear, footwear and more.

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