Mountain climbers, hikers, and travelers all have two specific things in common – the thrill of adventure in their hearts, and the desire to see amazing things. Well, the rock-climbing scene of Utah won’t disappoint.
Utah is home to a wide variety of climbing challenges and awe-inspiring vistas. Strange formations in arid lands, lush valley canyons of green where the wind carries cotton, watery canyons laying watch over rivers and more can be found in this amazing place. We could go on for days about the many locations and things to see when out for a climbing adventure in Utah, but we’ve decided to narrow down the list to only the best. Check out below for our top 5 climbing locations in Utah!
1. Maple CanyonLocated just outside Fountain Green, in Central Utah, Maple Canyon is known by hikers and climbers for its cobblestone appearance and a multitude of possible paths up and around the location. As opposed to many hiking paths in the area, much of Maple Canyon is shaded and as such the perfect place for a relaxing day outdoors when the heat is too much to bear in other locations.
This Canyon is what is known as a conglomerate rock, with embedded clasts (cobbles), and is very accessible by road and public transportation. The difficulty of the climb itself varies, but it’s recommended that intermediate to experienced climbers take on this challenge as the cobblestone landscape of the canyon makes for an interesting and unique experience.
2. Rock CanyonRock Canyon is known to have hikers across its vista’s day and night. It can be found on the east end of Provo and drops off into the Virgin River. The make of the canyon varies, and climbers can expect to see reddish quartzite and limestone, among other rock and color combinations.
It can be difficult to access the canyon, and prospective climbers should plan ahead. Roads in the area are mostly unpaved, dirt only, and can be sandy and unsecured. Offroad vehicles may be required to make the trip, and while on foot travelers should watch for poison ivy near the exit of the canyon.
3. Desert TowersIn the famed Moab Desert, the Desert Towers are known around the world for their stark beauty and fascinating architecture. It is no exaggeration that climbers and travelers flock to the area from all around and that this location is one not to be missed.
Experienced climbers will find a thrilling challenge and an engaging time with the Desert Towers. The climb itself is sheer and high, allowing for an amazing view of a truly incredible place. What really enthralls climbers in this area, besides the view, is how each tower poses its own difficulties and challenges. Some of the top towers to challenge are Owl Rock, Ancient Art, the Castleton Tower, and The Priest.
4. Little Cottonwood CanyonLittle Cottonwood Canyon is as picturesque as it is extreme. Climbers have been enjoying the serene views of this location since the 1930s, and the canyon offers easy access and peaceful adventure outdoors. The canyon is located within Wasatch-Cache National Forest, a place worth visiting all on its own, and is a short 15-minute drive from Salt Lake City. The area is also known for the number of rare plants found to grown within the canyon, and mountain goats can often be spotted in the surrounding mountains. Lovers of geology and history may also want to know that the canyon is estimated to have been formed 15 to 25 thousand years ago by an alpine glacier, and the official term for this kind of canyon is a Glacial Trough.
5. American Fork CanyonThis is probably one of the most difficult canyons to traverse on this list, but it is no less an incredible place to be. The landscape is made up of dark caves, steep and sheer walls, and pocket-filled limestone caches. Adding to the canyon’s appeal is that due to the narrowness of the canyon’s walls, and abundant tree coverage, the canyon stays reasonable cool even during warm seasons in Utah.
Some climbing places of note in the area are Hell Cave, known by climbers to be one of the most difficult climbs in all of Utah, and The Membrane, popular among climbers of intermediate experience. Due to the popularity of the canyon, and the subsequent use and damage to the region by visitors, a small fee per-visitor is required to enjoy the canyon. Climbers can expect to have to pay $6 for a 3-day visit, $12 for 7 days, and $45 for an annual pass. In addition, there are a plethora of camping sights in the area, and any fees or costs associated with each will have to be paid.
Our list here has touched on only the top of what can be found for climbers and travelers in the Utah wilderness. From the easier routes of Maple Canyon to the sweat and grit laden paths of the American Fork Canyon, climbers of all kind will definitely find a place to be amongst the places described above.
And, the climb aside, the view alone would be well worth time spent in the area. The haunting view of Desert Towers is most recommended, but the rest all too have their charms and quirks for adventures to explore.
One way or another, the mountain climbing in Utah promises one hell of a good time. Adventures assemble! There are climbs to conquer and places to see, now send it!