Virginia may not be the first place that comes to mind when considering places to go rock climbing, but the state is blessed with some awesome sites that will offer fun and adventure for both beginning and advanced climbers. Check out the recommended climbing spots listed here and then grab your gear and head out to the rocks: you will find the climbing fix you need in the beautiful mountains and hills of Virginia.
Grayson Highlands State Park
Located in the beautiful Jefferson National Forest and offering access to the Appalachian Trail, Grayson Highlands State Park (1) has become a popular stopping point for climbers. The park offers plenty of facilities, including restrooms, snack shop, camping, areas, etc., making it a more convenient place to climb that some more secluded areas. GHSP is primarily a bouldering area, and the park offers rental pads, chalk, chalkbags, and brushes for rent to make it a bit more convenient to love on some rocks without lugging all the gear.
Creative Commons Photo by VAStateParksStaff
Roanoke River Gorge
Located just outside of Roanoke, Virginia, the Roanoke River Gorge is an area offering more challenging climbs, the gorge features Sport, Mixed, Trad, and TR routes on faces 50 to 90 feet tall (2). Multiple routes have been developed and range in difficult from 5.7 to 5.12. For those less inclined to climb, an abundance of hiking trails exist, offering outstanding scenery in the Blue Ridge Parkway area.
New River Gorge
The scenery alone is enough to bring you here, whether you are going to climb, hike, or simply attempt to take in the breathtaking view.
Creative Commons Photo by Aaron Webb
Talking Headwall (Roadside Crag)
A fantastic area for moderate sport climbing, Talking Headwall (3) offers 5 developed and bolted routes for sport climbing. Not too far from Washington, D.C., and featuring a lovely swimming hole below, this is a great place to climb. Not far away, Buzzard Rocks offers 16 routes that are longer, bolted, and trad.
Great Falls National Park
Just 15 miles from D.C. and straddling the states of Virginia and Maryland, this is a beautiful park (4), offering outstanding views of falls on the Potomac River. Add to that a number of great rock climbing sites, and you have the makings of a great vacation, or at least a great day away from it all. Many of the best climbs are located on the Virginia side, with more than 100 climbs ranking 5.5 to 5.8, 130 climbs ranking 5.9-5.12, and many more ranking 5.10 or higher. A prettier setting cannot be asked for. Keep in mind that the area is not recommended for Trad climbs. Also as a part of the National Park Service, entrance fees are applicable and parking is in high demand.
Creative Commons Photo by Pkasco
For Beginners – If you want to get started in rock climbing, Virginia is a great place to stretch your rock climbing wings. A number of outfitters offer trips for beginners that include gear, supervision, and training. Check out REI Adventures (5) or Wild Guyde Adventures (6) to get started. Virginia also boasts a number of indoor rock climbing sites if you can resist the lure of the great outdoors. Whatever you choose, Virginia has the anecdote for your rock climbing cravings.