nevada rockclimbing at red rock canyon

Rock On: Nevada’s Rock Climbing Playground

The past decade has seen a massive rise in rock climbing popularity, and for good reason. The sport is relatively inexpensive, it promotes outdoor exploration, and it’s a perfect excuse to get in shape. It’s also a great mental workout, requiring climbers to think critically as they move their bodies in and out of compromising positions. 

Nevada is the nation’s biggest rock climbing playground. 

To enjoy the sport, there’s no better place than the Silver State. Not only is Nevada home to popular climbing meccas like Red Rock Canyon, its public lands beckon advanced climbers with hundreds of mountain ranges. If you’re new to climbing or want to brush up on your skills, both of our major cities offer world-class climbing gyms. 

Great Outdoors

Nevada’s plentiful canyons and mountains offer a lifetime’s worth of climbing opportunities. There’s plenty to discover on your own, but if you’re looking for a place to get started, it’s as easy as picking up a guidebook—available at most gear shops or local bookstores—or searching for routes on sites like To help narrow things down, we recommend these popular destinations.

Red Rock Canyon
Some of the world’s best climbing is located within this mass of burnt sienna sandstone located a quick 45 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip. Get ready to explore more than 2,000 routes—including tons of bouldering opportunities—ranging from easy-access top-rope climbing to expertly bolted sport climbing and multi-pitch traditional climbing routes.

Lake Tahoe
The eastern Sierra Nevada offers fantastic climbing thanks to its high-quality granite and sandstone. That absolutely includes the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe. We recommend checking out Trippy Rock and Spooner Crag, both of which have great edges for beginner, intermediate and advanced climbers.

Rainbow Canyon
This gorgeous canyon located 20 minutes outside of Caliente in southern Nevada offers a good variety of sport and traditional climbing routes without the crowds. The canyon is also home to one of Nevada’s favorite rural routes: a striking basalt wall called Finlay Crack.

Lamoille Canyon
Roughly 30 minutes from Elko, this glacially carved canyon is a favorite for climbers in northern Nevada. Most climbs are short, bolted routes on small crags with some popular winter ice climbs.

Travel Nevada Pro Tip

If you aren’t looking to buy—or just don’t want to pack your gear around—many businesses provide rentals for essentials like crash pads and climbing shoes. In Las Vegas, head to Basecamp Outdoor Gear or Desert Rock Sports. In Reno, check out Gear Hut or Nevada Adventure Rentals.

Climbing Gyms

If you’re in Reno or Las Vegas, you’re never far from a climbing gym. These gyms are great for a vacation workout, but they’re also the perfect spot for an engaging family outing. In addition to renting the equipment you’ll need, these gyms offer introductory classes that teach critical skills like how to stretch and how to fall. 


Mesa Rim
Welcome to the Silver State’s largest indoor rock-climbing gym. The sprawling facility offers private and group instruction classes for all levels and plenty of routes for bouldering and sport climbing.

Visitors to downtown Reno often gawk at The Big Wall, a heart-pumping, 164-foot climb located outside the iconic Whitney Peak Hotel. But don’t forget that the conspicuous wall is just part of the BaseCamp gym. Open to the public, this facility features a 7,000-square-foot bouldering park, a separate room for kids, and expert instructors. 

Las Vegas

The Refuge Climbing and Fitness
Located just south of The Strip, this family-friendly gym is the perfect way to get a good workout between Las Vegas adventures. The Refuge boasts affordable rates and rentals and an hour-long bouldering class for beginners for $30.

Red Rock Climbing Center
This gym offers one of the best ways to connect with the Las Vegas climbing community and prepare for outdoor adventure. In addition to classes and countless routes for all style, the center also offers climbing guides for Red Rock Canyon.

Recreate Responsibly

Whether you’re enjoying popular routes or discovering something new in the desert, make sure to practice good habits. Don’t climb on private property, and always tell people where you’re going. In remote parts of the state, plan for diverse weather and limited cell service. When you leave a site, do a final sweep for trash: Last thing anybody wants is to find somebody’s climbing tape tangled up in sagebrush.