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5 Cool Rock Climbing Spots in Colorado

By Madison Dragna

5 Cool Rock Climbing Spots in Colorado

Colorado is truly a mecca for rock climbers. Explorers from across the globe travel to the Centennial State for challenging climbs, a strong climbing community, and above all, magnificent views. All of these awesome spots vary in difficulty, but are well-established as some of the best in the state. Hit up a steep rock wall, challenging overhang, or fun bouldering area with these five cool rock climbing spots in Colorado. 

1. Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the state. Here, you will find a variety of climbing routes to suit anyone from the beginner to the expert. There are even guides in the area that will show you to the best spots and provide you with expert knowledge and gear. This park gets millions of visitors a year. However, you can still find solitude in the backcountry. Therefore expect to hike to many of the great climbing spots in Rocky Mountain. The area of Lumpy Ridge is an awesome place to head to since this climbing spot in the park is known to have the greatest number of climbs in one area. 

2. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Expert adventure climbers will find the best climbing at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Climbers start at the bottom of the 2,722-foot canyon. With over 140 documented routes, experienced backcountry climbers have plenty of pitches to explore. Now this area is remote and does require climbers to carry a pack with emergency and overnight gear. Therefore with climbs starting at 5.8, climbing at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park should be reserved for serious and experienced climbers only. 

3. Rifle Mountain Park

Rifle Mountain Park is perfect for sport climbers. Although you won’t find beginner climbing routes here, it’s still one of the coolest rock climbing spots in the state. Located in Rifle, Rifle Mountain Park has the best limestone rock climbing in the state. Climbers from all over the world flock to this spot because of the number of great climbs. There are so many spots to test your climbing ability here. However, Canine Wall has great climbs that range from 5.8 to 5.11. Expect a number of overhangs that will definitely challenge your endurance and strength. 

4. The Monastery

Located near the small town of Drake in the Big Thompson Canyon, the hike to the Monastery is just as beautiful as the climbing spot. Expect a trail offering views of snowcapped mountains and wildflowers in the summer. Once you reach the Monastery, head to fun climbing spots such as the Outer Gates formation or the Vestibule formation. Now this climbing area is at 8,000 feet in elevation, so it may not be the best place to climb in the winter months. However, this area makes for a great summer climb since it has fun routes along with lengthy and challenging ones. 

5. Independence Pass

A climb at Independence Pass boasts some of the best views of the Rockies. Find short approaches to the climbing areas, the most popular spot being the Grotto Wall. Expect to find difficult climbs along with some bouldering options too at Independence Pass. Since this a high alpine spot, this climbing destination is only accessible during the summer months. However, it's a great place to do a multi-day climb, since there are a number of campsites in the area. 

Due to the escalation of the coronavirus outbreak, local destinations for outdoor recreation may be closed. Please visit official websites for more information.

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