5 Coolest rock climbing spots in Utah

Stef Zisovska

Rock climbing is a challenging outdoor activity that more and more people in the US are taking up as their hobby. Apart from helping people to develop their physical strength, especially the upper body, rock climbing is also great at providing an adrenaline rush for the folk that need some extra excitement in their lives. In the state of Utah, particularly, rock climbing is becoming more popular each year.

Fortunately, there are more than enough climbing locations suitable for all levels and skills. Don’t despair if you are a beginner because there are enough routes for everyone. Be thankful if you live in or near Utah, and check these awesome climbing spots that are every rock climber’s dream.

1. Rock Canyon

Squaw Peak as viewed from the mouth of Rock Canyon, showing some of the distinctly visible geological layers
Squaw Peak as viewed from the mouth of Rock Canyon, showing some of the distinctly visible geological layers

Rock Canyon is located east of Provo in the state of Utah, and according to the locals it’s the most cherished feature apart from Mount Timpanogos in the north. The canyon is respected and protected not only by the local residents but by people from all over the country. Every day, numerous rock climbers, hikers, mountain bikers, and trail runners visit the canyon to practice their favorite sport. The climbing spots vary in difficulty and rock material. At the mouth of the canyon, the rocks are reddish quartzite while in the upper parts you will see more limestone.

2. American Fork Canyon

American Fork Canyon from Timpanogos Cave entrance – Author: Ken Lund – CC BY-SA 2.0
American Fork Canyon from Timpanogos Cave entrance – Author: Ken Lund – CC BY-SA 2.0

The rock climbing possibilities inside American Fork Canyon are endless and suitable for advanced climbers, as well as for beginners. The routes in this canyon are more demanding in comparison with Rock Canyon. The canyon is large and famous for the Timpanogos Cave National Monument. American Fork Canyon consists of steep pocket-filled limestone cliffs. With its challenging routes it’s probably Utah’s most difficult and most exciting rock climbing spot. There are many nearby campsites if you decide to spend a few days exploring the canyon.

3. Maple Canyon

If you prefer cobblestone cliffs, then any local rock climber in Utah will point you to Maple Canyon. The canyon is a favorite for many climbers from across the county because it looks like a bunch of rocks glued together which makes for some unique climbing. Maple Canyon includes more than 550 routes accessible by a few roads and trails. Maple Canyon is pretty shaded, so you don’t have to worry if it’s too hot outside.

4. Little Cottonwood Canyon

Little Cottonwood Canyon, looking west
Little Cottonwood Canyon, looking west

Little Cottonwood Canyon is one of Utah’s most popular outdoor destinations, especially for skiing in Snowbird and Alta. Besides skiing, the canyon is a known climbing spot with granite and quartz monzonite rocks. Little Cottonwood Canyon has been a climbing destination since the 1930s. Since then, the area has grown and developed continuously. Some routes in the canyon can be difficult to access, but it is generally easy to find good climbing routes and a bit of privacy from other climbing groups. Climbers of all levels visit the canyon for bouldering, ice climbing, and traditional climbing.

5. Desert Towers

The Titan – Author: Jesseg8r – CC BY-SA 4.0
The Titan – Author: Jesseg8r – CC BY-SA 4.0

Moab Desert is famous around the world for its rock formations. Attracted by the stunning geological wonders, rock climbers come to Utah to see these beautiful giants and then try to conquer them. Moab’s Desert Towers are numerous and varied, with steep climbs which makes them a perfect challenge for advanced climbers. If you’re still learning where to place your feet and hands, then these sandstone formations should come sometime later in your rock climbing career. Don’t push yourself to do something that you’re not ready for.

Rock climbing is a great sport that anybody can try. It seems impossible at the beginning, but all the good things in life require some prior effort so just keep at it. Good luck and enjoy the routes of Utah!

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stef-zisovska is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival