Places to Go Rock Climbing in California

Northern California

Rock climbers in Northern California will be hard pressed to find a better climbing area than Lassen National Park near Redding. This park features a 10,000-foot volcanic dome, hot springs and a variety of crags that are excellent for climbing. The largest crag in the park is known as Bellybutton, and it has cracks for good footing up to 165 feet. Eagle Peak is a great cold weather climbing area because it is often sun drenched, which makes climbing in cooler weather quite comfortable.

Southern California

If you are looking for great rock climbing in Southern California, a trip to Joshua Tree National Park  is a must. This park is a famous climbing playground with more than 8,000 climbing trails on more than 400 formations in the high desert. This world-class climbing destination has vertical surfaces for all ability levels. Also in Southern California, Stoney Point is a popular climbing area in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles. This is primarily a bouldering site, meaning it is popular for climbers who choose to go without ropes or other gear and often use a crash pad on the ground to reduce chances of serious injuries. The climbing areas are primarily sandstone, so it is important to avoid climbing at Stoney Point shortly after rainfall because of crumbling of the stone. The good news is, the weather here is usually perfect year round, although it can get quite warm in the summer.

Central California

If you find yourself in Central California and looking for a climb you’ll never forget, stop by Yosemite National Park . Considered one of the world’s best climbing areas, Yosemite offers challenges for all skill levels ranging from the climbs along the Merced River Valley to scaling the steep 3,000-foot face of El Capitan, the park’s most famous granite monolith. Other well-known climbing walls in Yosemite include Washington Column, Leaning Tower and Liberty Cap. Bouldering is also a popular activity here, especially in the Yosemite Valley.

The Eastern Sierra

On the eastern edge of the Sierra National Forest  there are several areas well known for their world-class rock climbing opportunities. Rock Creek Canyon is an area featuring excellent granite walls at 9,000 feet of elevation near the peak on Mt. Abbot. Nearby, Iris Slab is a popular place for teaching the skills of climbing to novices. Horseshoe Slabs in the Lakes Basin Area of the Eastern Sierra is a popular spot best suited for late summer and early fall climbing because of he area’s ability to hold snow well into the summer. The walls here are high-quality granite at 9,000 feet. For bouldering enthusiasts, Deadman’s is as good as it gets with a main cliff over 30 feet tall that will challenge even the bravest boulder climber.