Best Rock Climbing in Colorado
We’re at that odd time of the year where it’s too cold for a swim in the lake, yet too warm to shred some powder. That leaves us with some chillier low whitewater activities, fall foliage hunts and rock climbing!
Colorado is a gold mine for some incredible rock climbing adventures. Whether you want to stick close to the front range or travel deep into the mountains, there are plenty of options – sport and trad – everywhere.
1. Castlewood Canyon State Park
Just east of Castle Rock lies one hidden gem of a state park. It appears to be in the middle of nowhere as you drive up, then suddenly you are among a beautiful canyon in the front range. Along the west rim of the canyon there are some great 20 to 60 foot climbs that are perfect for beginners. A half mile paved path called Climbers Trail takes you straight to the sweet spots.
2. Black Canyon of the Gunnison
If you’re ready for a weekend adventure, head to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. The drive southwest from Denver takes about 5 hours, so plan on camping out for a few nights and some sore muscles at the end of the weekend. The cliff walls rise over 2,500 feet above the Gunnison River and climbs range from intermediate to advances. There are nearly 150 routes in the canyon so be sure to prepare accordingly.
3. Garden of the Gods
Located just outside of Colorado Springs, these monumental structures of red sandstone are a must-see when visiting the area. Though the Garden of the Gods is a widespread tourist attraction with a road leading through the park and plenty of paved hiking trails, tucked away is some great climbing.
4. Eleven Mile Canyon
One hour west of Colorado Springs is home to the Eleven Mile Canyon, which contains plenty of trad and sport moderate to advanced climbing routes. This is a no-go if you are a beginner, with plenty of climbs in the 5.08 – 5.12 range.
5. Eldorado Canyon State Park
Eldorado is a personal favorite of mine for hiking and Continental Divide views, but this state park is one of the most sought-after climbing spots in Colorado. Steep sandstone walls up to 700 feet high line the canyon, but the rock quality is much like granite. Some must-do beginner routes are on Wind Tower… however, climbers of all difficulty levels can have a blast here. The park is just south of Boulder in the foothills, making it a perfect day getaway from the big cities.