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Best Rock Climbing Spots in California

Written By: Melody Erhuy

Best Rock Climbing Spots in California

California stretches for nearly 800 miles and offers outdoor enthusiasts a veritable playground of varied topography, from sun-drenched beaches rife for surfing to snow-capped mountains prime for skiing. For rock climbers, California contains endless possibilities — so many choices, in fact, that choosing a destination can prove overwhelming. Here are our favorite rock climbing California spots.

Joshua Tree

You don’t have to drive far for great rock climbing in Los Angeles. Joshua Tree National Park, located two hours east of the city, boasts thousands of climbs to choose from for climbers of all experience levels. For a wide selection of climbs head to Ryan Campground and choose between Cryptic, a steep, advanced rock wall, and SW Corner, a 50-foot pillar of sheer rock.

Horse Flats

Time to train and improve your form? This rock climbing spot one hour from Los Angeles features plenty of navigable top-roping routes and beginner’s level granite bouldering so you can focus on the fundamentals and introduce your friends to the joy of rock climbing. To get there plug “Newcomb’s Ranch” into your navigation app and park at the Horse Flats campground lot.

Lassen Volcanic National Park

If you live in Northern California plan a trip to this park showcasing volcanic remains that is a fun destination for all ages. Explore hot springs, mud pots, and a massive volcanic dome before summoning the courage to scale Bellybutton, the largest crag in the park with a 165-foot elevation. Eagle Peak is an ideal climbing spot in cold weather due to the dependable sunshine.

Sequoia National Park

Pack up and head to the Sierra Nevada Mountains for some truly spectacular climbs surrounded by majestic, enormous sequoia trees. Many rock climbing enthusiasts flock to Castle Rock Spire but be prepared for rocks and possibly a rattlesnake or two. Visit the park between May and August, when water is more readily accessible in the area. 

Yosemite National Park

Here it is — the mecca of rock climbing. Alex Honnold shot to international superstardom after Academy Award-winning documentary Free Solo captured his ascent of El Capitan in Yosemite without any ropes or harnesses. If you try to scale the 3,000-foot cliff face on your own we highly, highly recommend using ropes and harnesses.

Yosemite National Park is also home to many infamous climbing challenges, including Washington Column, the Great White Book, and the Pleasure Dome (a misnomer — this is one is particularly challenging).


Climb with QALO

You might not be free solo’ing like Alex Honnold, but whenever you’re rock climbing in California you want maximum protection and the ability to execute intricate, difficult moves without falling. Using a QALO silicone ring will ensure you don’t scratch up your metal wedding band and will keep your fingers focused on the task at hand — moving you upward one crack at a time.


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