Top Climbing Routes in the USA

Top Climbing Routes in the USA

The United States is home to some of the world’s most iconic and challenging climbing routes. From towering granite walls in Yosemite to the sandstone cliffs of Red Rock Canyon, there‚Äôs a route for every type of climber. Here are some of the top climbing routes in the USA:

Top Climbing Routes in the USA
Top Climbing Routes in the USA

The Nose, El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, California

Type: Trad Climbing

Difficulty: 5.14a (V8)

The Nose on El Capitan is one of the most famous climbing routes in the world. This 3,000-foot granite monolith challenges climbers with its technical pitches, overhanging sections, and iconic features like the Great Roof and the Changing Corners. It’s a multi-day climb for most, though elite climbers have set speed records on it.

Moonlight Buttress, Zion National Park, Utah

Type: Trad Climbing

Difficulty: 5.12d (V4)

Moonlight Buttress is known for its beautiful and sustained crack climbing. The route ascends nearly 1,200 feet and includes finger cracks, hand jams, and off-width sections. Its stunning location and aesthetic climbing make it a favorite among advanced trad climbers.

The Diamond, Longs Peak, Colorado

Type: Alpine Climbing

Difficulty: Varies by route, up to 5.13

The Diamond is a sheer, 1,000-foot east face of Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. Routes like the Casual Route (5.10a) and D7 (5.11c) offer alpine challenges with high-altitude climbing, requiring both technical skill and endurance. The Diamond is a serious undertaking, often requiring an early morning start to avoid afternoon thunderstorms.

Cathedral Peak, Tuolumne Meadows, California

Type: Trad Climbing

Difficulty: 5.6

Cathedral Peak is a classic alpine climb located in the high country of Yosemite. The Southeast Buttress route is a popular choice, offering 600 feet of moderate climbing with breathtaking views of Tuolumne Meadows. It’s an excellent route for beginners looking to experience alpine climbing.

Red River Gorge, Kentucky

Type: Sport Climbing

Difficulty: Varies, up to 5.14d

Red River Gorge is a sport climbing paradise, with hundreds of routes ranging from beginner-friendly to elite-level. Notable routes include the 5.12a (V3) “Brothers Keeper” and the 5.14d (V11) “Pure Imagination.” The gorge is known for its steep, overhanging cliffs and pockets, offering climbers a unique and challenging experience.

The Bastille Crack, Eldorado Canyon, Colorado

Type: Trad Climbing

Difficulty: 5.7

The Bastille Crack is a classic, five-pitch trad route in Eldorado Canyon. Its moderate grade and excellent protection make it a popular choice for climbers looking to experience traditional multi-pitch climbing. The route offers a variety of crack and face climbing, with stunning views of the canyon.

Smith Rock State Park, Oregon

Type: Sport Climbing

Difficulty: Varies, up to 5.14

Smith Rock is considered the birthplace of American sport climbing, featuring a variety of bolted routes on volcanic tuff. Classics like “Chain Reaction” (5.12c) and “To Bolt or Not to Be” (5.14a) attract climbers from around the world. The park’s unique rock formations and scenic beauty make it a must-visit destination.

The Flatirons, Boulder, Colorado

Type: Trad Climbing

Difficulty: Varies, up to 5.14a

The Flatirons are a series of large, flat rock formations near Boulder, offering numerous multi-pitch routes. The First Flatiron and the Third Flatiron are particularly popular, with routes like “The Standard East Face” (5.4) providing an enjoyable introduction to multi-pitch climbing. More advanced climbers can tackle routes like “Freeway” (5.9) and “Primal Scream” (5.11a).

Red Rock Canyon, Nevada

Type: Trad and Sport Climbing

Difficulty: Varies, up to 5.14

Red Rock Canyon, near Las Vegas, offers a mix of trad and sport climbing on beautiful sandstone cliffs. The area is known for its long multi-pitch routes, such as “Epinephrine” (5.9, 13 pitches) and single-pitch sport routes like “The Gift” (5.12c). The diverse climbing and stunning desert scenery make it a top destination.

Seneca Rocks, West Virginia

Type: Trad Climbing

Difficulty: Varies, up to 5.12

Seneca Rocks offers a variety of traditional climbing routes on its sheer sandstone faces. Classics like “Old Man’s Route” (5.3) and “The Burn” (5.8) provide excellent introductory climbs, while harder routes like “Super Direct” (5.10c) and “Le Gourmet” (5.4) challenge more experienced climbers. The exposed ridgeline and beautiful views add to the adventure.


The USA boasts an incredible variety of climbing routes that cater to all skill levels and climbing styles. From the granite walls of Yosemite to the sandstone cliffs of Red Rock Canyon, there’s something for every climber. Whether you’re a beginner looking for moderate routes or an expert seeking a challenge, these top climbing destinations offer unforgettable experiences.