The most scenic bouldering destinations in the US

Stef Zisovska

Boulder climbers are brave and strong individuals who get enjoyment out of climbing rocks without the usual ropes and harnesses that keep people from falling. Being a boulderer is not just a hobby, something you do only when you have free time. Bouldering is a state of mind and a serious outdoor activity that requires preparation, exercise, and discipline. There are plenty of bouldering destinations in the US that climbers like to visit to improve their skills. The great thing about bouldering is that you get to see so many amazing places and scenic environments while you’re hanging off a rock. Here are some of the most beautiful bouldering destinations in the country that you must visit if you like this sport.

Yosemite Valley

Yosemite Valley from Wawona Tunnel view – Author: Mark J. Miller – CC BY-SA 3.0

Yosemite Valley is a part of the Yosemite National Park in California and features some of the best granite bouldering the world has to offer. The boulders of Yosemite are surrounded by glaciers, forests, and rivers which gives the whole spot a magical feel and attracts people from all across the country to come and try their strength. The difficult climbs of High Sierra will help you become a better and stronger climber if you visit the area more frequently.

Joe’s Valley

Whitney Foster bouldering at Joe’s Valley – Author: Jfbomber – CC BY-SA 3.0

Joe’s Valley was made for bouldering. The sandstone formations are skin-friendly and the approaches are almost always 5 minutes. The site itself is very scenic thanks to the black and brown boulders surrounded by the high desert greenery. The area looks awesome in fall when the leaves turn a beautiful burnt orange color.


Red rocks in Ibex, Utah

Ibex’s giant red quartzite cliffs in Utah are not just gorgeous to look at but are also great for epic bouldering. There is no civilization within 50 miles of the area, and the boulders are tall so they’re perfect for climbers who like to climb high.


Snowy Sierra Nevada Mountains as seen from Bishop, CA – Author: Murray Foubister – CC BY-SA 2.0

Bishop is located in the lower Sierra Mountain range in California and it’s one of the most attractive bouldering destinations on the planet. The granite and volcanic boulders offer top-class problems that will challenge you. Don’t let the beauty of the Sierras and the high desert scenery distract you from the climbing too much, as you’ll want to focus on your skills and techniques.

Horse Pens 40

Bouldering at Horse Pens 40 – Author: Rivers Langley – CC BY-SA 3.0

Horse Pens 40 is a private nature park near Steele in Alabama. The area is full of sandstone boulders that every climber dreams of. Horse Pens 40 offers big boulders and difficult problems that you can also try climbing at night. The park has camping and night climbing possibilities, so if you are a climbing fan it would be great to spend a weekend at Horse Pens 40. Don’t forget to bring your tent and a headlamp. As with many bouldering spots in the country, this one too becomes more scenic in fall when the trees are changing colors.

Hueco Tanks

East Mountain at Hueco Tanks State Park near El Paso, Texas, in the southwestern United States – Author: Brian Stansberry – CC-BY 3.0

Hueco Tanks is a state historic site just outside of El Paso in Texas. The area has 860 acres where you can find more than 2000 climbing problems. It has a dry and sunny climate and the best time to do some bouldering here is between December and March. Hueco Tanks is a popular bouldering destination and it attracts people from Europe, Asia, and Australia that enjoy its mesmerizing rock formations.

Joshua Tree National Park

Climbing the Old Woman Rock

Joshua Tree is a national park in the Mojave Desert in California. This area leaves everybody who visits speechless because of its spectacular landscapes, and it has many fantastic bouldering opportunities too. Joshua Tree contains quartz monzonite rock broken into smaller boulders—making for some unforgettable climbs.

As you can see there are a lot of awesome bouldering destinations across the US that you can visit and make your climbing dreams come true. Good luck!

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