While many people visit Vegas for the sights of the Strip, just outside the city, incredible rock formations will catch any rock climber’s attention. Red Rock Canyon is world-famous for rock climbing, second only to Yosemite National Park, so why not check out some outdoor adventures while you’re here?
If you’re looking for a rock climber’s paradise, we’ve curated a list of some of the best rock climbing in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas’s Best Outdoor Climbing
With over 2,300 outdoor routes, Tthe areas around Las Vegas are some of the best in the world for rock climbing. Red Rock Canyon regularly graces lists of top climbing spots for both expert and amateur climbers.
Keep in Mind: due to Las Vegas’ desert features, it’s never a good idea to climb outdoors while it is raining or shortly after it has rained. It is best to wait 24 to 48 hours after rain to climb sandstone, the most prevalent rock type around Vegas, especially in Red Rock Canyon.
Red Rock Canyon
Location: 20 miles west of central Las Vegas
Hours: 6 am – 8 pm (day use only)
Locals and tourists alike flock to Red Rock Canyon for the magnificent and unique scenery. You can enjoy the canyon by doing the scenic drive loop or taking one of the many hikes, but Red Rock is also one of the closest locations to Vegas to enjoy great outdoor rock climbing.
With over 2,000 options, choosing a climb at Red Rock can be overwhelming, especially if you’re just starting out or from out of town. The Mountain Project website page for Red Rock Canyon allows you to search for your ideal climb based on the type of climb, difficulty, and rating you want, as well as providing information about current conditions.
As a national conservation area, there is a fee to enter the canyon. It is $20 for a single vehicle, $10 for a motorcycle, $8 for bicycles, and $5 for pedestrians. Entry is free with an “America the Beautiful Pass Program Card” (formerly the National Parks Pass).
Many climbs at Red Rock are only accessible after a hike, so plan to spend all day there when you visit.
Keep in Mind: Vegas heat is also no joke. Summer temperatures often exceed 100 degrees, even at night. Take extra care when planning an outdoor activity from May through September.
Big Bad Wolf – Calico Basin
Location: Just outside of Red Rock Conservation Area – 20 miles west of central Las Vegas
Big Bad Wolf on Red Riding Hood Wall is one of the best easy sport climbs near Red Rock. It’s a 220-foot climb with three pitches. It’s next to the Physical Graffiti Climb, another good climb for beginners. It’s also a great place to enjoy Calico Basin and Las Vegas views.
Calico Basin is near Red Rock Canyon but outside the fee area, so there is free access. This is a popular climb with a straightforward approach and many bolts, so it is best to start early to avoid crowds.
Dream of Wild Turkeys – Black Velvet Canyon
Location: Red Rock Conservation Area – 30 miles west of central Las Vegas
Black Velvet Canyon, within the Red Rock National Conservation Area, is home to several famous climbs, but Dream of Wild Turkeys is exciting even for expert climbers. It’s a long climb – taking around 4 hours – so it is recommended only for experienced climbers.
It’s a grade III climb with 14 to 16 pitches, depending on how far you choose to go. It’s a great climb to enjoy on a sunny day during the cooler fall or spring months, as it doesn’t offer much shelter. The nearby Epinephrine climb is another highly rated option in Black Velvet Canyon but is often busy.
To get to Black Velvet Canyon and many excellent climbing routes, head towards Pahrump instead of into Red Rock Canyon. Black Velvet Canyon is south of Red Rock Canyon and not accessible from the scenic loop.
A Rock Climbers’ Paradise
Outdoor rock climbing around Las Vegas is accessible for all skill levels, and Red Rock Canyon has some of the best rock climbing in Las Vegas. From bouldering to lead climbs, you’ll never be bored. Just always be sure to bring plenty of water!