Rock climbing is one of the most demanding and daring sports around. It’s a test of courage, endurance, and dexterity dating back as far as 200 BC. Because rock climbing works best when the sun is out and the rock is dry, summer tends to be a great time for rock climbing. But where do you find the best rock climbing in the United States, and how do you get there? We’ve put together a list of great rock-climbing locales, all within a couple hours’ ride (or less) via charter bus or shuttle van.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park, only two-plus hours from Sacramento by charter bus, offers a wealth of rock climbing opportunities, from the iconic Half Dome to the legendary El Capitan. If you’re relatively new to the rock climbing scene, never fear — the Yosemite Mountaineering School & Guide Service can help you get started with customized climbing sessions. Yosemite also offers an “Ask a Climber” program, which lets inexperienced climbers learn from their more seasoned fellows. Sites like Half Dome or El Capitan can require years of training, and many climbers start with something more manageable, like the Stately Pleasure Dome, Pywiak Boulders, or the Knobs.
Smith Rock State Park, Terrebonne, Oregon
If you want to hit up a world-class rock climbing destination, pack your best friends onto a party bus and hit up Smith Rock State Park, a little more than two hours outside Portland. Smith Rock has been mentioned in National Geographic as one of America’s “bone fide” climbing towns, and offers thousands of climbing routes for visitors to enjoy. Parking and tent camping at the park are open year round, and there are a number of climbing schools and services to help both beginners and veterans get supplies and education for tackling Mesa Verde Wall, Monkey Face, the Dihedrals, and more. If rock climbing isn’t your thing, there’s still plenty to do, from aerial tours to kayaking, spelunking, trail running, and walking tours.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Sure, when people think of Las Vegas, they think of gambling on the Strip and glitzy casinos — but there are half a dozen choice rock climbing areas within miles of the ultimate party city. One of the most popular areas is Red Rock Canyon, which features such popular climbing sites as Cat in the Hat, Dark Shadows, and Dream of Wild Turkeys. For those climbing enthusiasts who would rather get in out of the sun, the Red Rock Climbing Center even has indoor facilities for all ages. More seasoned climbers can head away from Red Rock out to Spring Mountains National Recreational Area to climb Mt. Charleston and enjoy the waterfalls.
Although Tucson might be considered more of a winter climbing destination, there is a vast array of amazing climbing routes all around the city, easily accessible by bus or shuttle van. Mild winter temperatures and a supportive community make Tucson a surprising but solid choice for rock-climbing aficionados. Visitors can tackle the routes at Mendoza Canyon, Mount Lemmon, Tanque Verde Canyon, Baboquivari Peak, Cochise Stronghold, and much more. The most popular destination is Mt. Lemmon in the Santa Catalina Mountains, which offers 2,700 climbing routes. For beginners, try bouldering in the foothills around the city, or hit up one of the many rock climbing gyms in Tucson itself.
Leavenworth is the center of Washington State’s rock climbing scene. It’s especially well-suited to beginners, and there are numerous guide services and courses available from facilities like the Northwest Mountain School. Leavenworth’s main climbing areas are Icicle Creek Canyon, Alpine Lakes Wilderness, and Turnwater Canyon, all accessible by car or bus just a short way from Seattle. Both new and veteran climbers should check out Midnight Rock, Careno Crag, the Pearly Gates, and the Icicle Creek Buttress. Locals will tell you peak climbing season is from April through November… making now the perfect time to go.
Want to make your next rock climbing trip special? Metropolitan Shuttle can help take the hassle out of any group trip, large or small. We’re a reservation service for charter buses, and we’ll find you vehicles from the best charter bus companies in some of the best rock climbing towns in America. We can hook you up with everything from a humble shuttle bus to a full-on party van. Let us do the driving, and we’ll leave the rock climbing to you. Call us at 1-866-556-3545 or contact us today for a free quote.