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Indoor climbing can be fun, but nothing compares to the incredible thrill of scaling real rocks outdoors. There’s no reason why you can’t take your rock climbing skills outside, but where should you go on your rock climbing adventures?

More and more people are venturing outside, which means more and more routes are available for all skills levels. Even a beginner gets the opportunity to climb in the mountains of Colorado or the cliffs of Thailand, but where should you go first? 

Consider one of the following meccas for rock climbing enthusiasts.

  • Red River Gorge, Kentucky: This breathtaking region in Kentucky has the greatest concentration of arches east of the Rocky Mountains. It includes a diverse selection of routes. Visit there any weekend during the rock climbing season, and you’ll find a range of experience levels. 
  • Todra Gorge, Morocco: There are more than 400 routes in these massive limestone cliffs. The gorge is the largest developed climbing area in the Atlas Mountains.
  • Kalymnos, Greece: This location has diverse routes, and the weather is superb. There’s even an annual climbing festival where you can watch some of the world’s best climbers.
  • Joshua Tree National Park, California: You can climb here any time of the year, and it’s located in the high desert region of California. In the park, there are more than 8,000 established routes. However, the summers can be scorchingly hot, so you might find winter climbing more comfortable.
  • Railay Beach, Thailand: You can only get to the beach by boat, but the thousands of routes are a climbers paradise once you get there. With its limestone cliffs and endless blue sea, the landscape is a theatrical backdrop for your climbing experience.
  • Yosemite National Park, California: Many routes exist on El Capitan, but the imposing granite cliff face is best left to the most experienced climbers. 
  • Acadia National Park, Maine: Otter Cliff, in particular, is one location you should try as it is a 110-foot high sea cliff that you’ve got to rappel down first. There are routes for beginners and more experienced climbers, but climbing is tide and weather-dependent.
  • Boulder, Colorado: Colorado is overflowing with climbing opportunities which may be why so many climbers call it home. In Boulder Canyon, there are 300 routes, many of which are for top-rope climbing.
  • Frankenjura, Germany: This is one of the top sport-climbing areas in Europe. It is located in the northern part of Bavaria and has more than 8,000 routes through limestone crags. When you’ve had enough of climbing, sit back and enjoy a beer in one of the many beer gardens. 
  • Smith Rock, Oregon: Smith Rock is one of the best sports for sports climbing in the US. It has more than 1,500 routes across the volcanic rock cliffs that stretch high above the desert ground.
  • The Shawangunks, New York: The Gunks are just 90 minutes away from New York City and are one of the most accessible climbing areas. There are more than 400 climbing routes, and people have been climbing there sing the 1930s. 
  • Dolomites, Italy: The Dolomites are one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world and offers some excellent sport climbing crags. Some of the impressive rock spires top more than 9,000 feet. 
  • Fontainebleau, France: Just 90 kilometres south of Paris, Fontainebleau is made up of perfectly smooth sandstone boulders. It’s one of the most popular European destinations for bouldering. There are more than 100 bouldering areas spread out over 900 square kilometres. 
  • Squamish, Canada: One hour north of Vancouver, Squamish has everything an outdoor adventurer could possibly need. You’ll find perfect granite climbing, big walls, world-class bouldering, single-pitch, and trad and sport climbing.
  • Zermatt, Switzerland: Zermatt is in the Swiss Alps, next to the Italian border. It’s one of the best places for climbers who aren’t afraid of crampons and ice axes. However, a basic knowledge of alpine climbing is necessary for even the most accessible routes. 
  • Red Rock, USA: You’ll find climbing for all types in the Red Rock National Conservation Area (Red Rocks). Endless walls of red-striped sandstone rise from the Nevada desert, and there are thousands of routes and boulders. 
  • Rocklands, South Africa: Rocklands is three hours north of Cape Town and comprises miles and miles of perfect red and orange sandstone boulders. Bouldering is concentrated in three main areas: Pakhuis, Agterpakhuis, and Wupperthai Commanage.
  • Gran Canaria: It might be best known as a winter vacation destination for beach lovers, but the island also has lots to offer climbers. There are hundreds of sport climbing routes, bouldering, and trad for all skill levels.
  • Cassin Ridge, Denali, Alaska: Many consider this a test piece for climbers and alpinists as it includes ice and rock climbing, steep mixed terrain, high altitudes, and hazardous weather conditions. 

With so many rock climbing destinations to choose from, you’re spoiled for choice. 

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