With high mountain peaks, rushing rapids, tumbling waterfalls, lush green spaces, yawning canyons, and a full slate of outdoor recreation, Colorado is a place that invites adventure. Places to rock climb in Colorado are found all over the state. In the climbing community, the state is known as one of the best places to scale the heights and tackle a challenge.
With sandstone monoliths, granite peaks, sheer-walled cliffs, mountains soaring past 14,000 feet, and other interesting formations, climbers of all different abilities will find interesting places for rock climbing in Colorado. Newer climbers can take a class or book the services a local outfitter for the insider insight on the best and safest ways to climb.
Just north of Estes Park, the home of Rocky Mountain National Park, people gather to watch the professionals do some Colorado rock climbing on the granite walls of the Twin Owls of Lumpy Ridge. Climbers off all abilities will find somewhere to do some climbing. The peaks and granite rocks suit a wide variety of climbing experiences, including bouldering, mountaineering, ice climbing, and big wall adventures. In addition, the park offers white-water rafting, visitor centers, and wildlife watching for climbers and others to enjoy. An array of cabins, campsites, lodges, and resorts are found in and around the park.
In nearby Boulder, a variety of outcroppings and interesting formations have long been regarded as some of the best places to rock climb in Colorado. Among Boulder’s Flatirons, rock climbers maneuver technical routes and hikers explore extensive trails at one of the most popular places for Colorado rock climbing.
Local outfitters and climbing schools lead guided climbs, trips to ski resorts, mountaineering courses, and indoor climbs for adults and children. The rock climbing lessons in Colorado aren’t limited to Boulder. The Bastille Crack and Calypso in Eldorado; and Gypsy Ridge’s Kor’s Lake, Pear Buttress and White Whale all serve as outdoor classrooms.
Travelers also can look to the San Juan Mountains for rock climbing in Colorado. The town of Ouray is one of the top places for ice climbing. Local outfitters are based in the town also provide instructions for climbing, mountaineering, and back-country skiing. Durango, the biggest town in the San Juans, is close to many of excellent places to rock climb in Colorado, including X-Rock, Turtle Lake, and East Animas. Its indoor climbing faculties are popular when the winter weather arrives.
Rock climbing in Colorado is also a popular pastime for those visiting the Sangre de Cristo Mountain, which cross the border into New Mexico. Ten of the mountains tower more than 14,000 feet, while more than 85 peaks exceed 13,000 feet. Climbers can scale the heights of Kit Carson Peak with the Challenger Trail, and the Ellingwood Ledges is a popular route on the nearby Crestone Needle. Technical routes, for those up for the challenge, are found along the north face of Blanca Peaks and the Ormes Buttress. The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve offers an entirely different climbing experience — the towering dunes.
Even though Colorado rock climbing may be the realm of the adventurous, the mild-at-heart can learn the stories of climbers at the Bradford Washburn American Mountaineering Museum in Golden. Exhibits introduce the world of rock climbing, explore the ecology of the mountains, and honor the achievements of mountaineers. While in Golden, visitors also can tour one of America’s largest breweries, Miller-Coors.