The Most Underrated Rock Climbing Destinations in the World

The Most Underrated Rock Climbing Destinations in the World

Are you an avid rock climber looking for new and exciting challenges? Look no further! In this article, we will uncover some of the most underrated rock climbing destinations in the world. These hidden gems offer a unique experience for climbers of all skill levels, with breathtaking landscapes and thrilling routes. From remote mountains in Asia to secluded crags in Europe, you’ll discover a world of adventure waiting to be explored. So gear up, grab your climbing shoes, and get ready to embark on a journey to these lesser-known rock climbing destinations that are sure to leave you awe-inspired.

North America

Red River Gorge, Kentucky

Situated in the heart of Kentucky, Red River Gorge is a hidden gem for rock climbers. With its breathtaking natural beauty and diverse climbing routes, it has become one of the most underrated rock climbing destinations in North America.

Red River Gorge offers a wide range of climbing experiences suitable for climbers of all skill levels. From beginner-friendly routes to challenging overhangs and steep cliffs, there is something for everyone. The sandstone cliffs provide excellent grip and unique formations that make climbing here an unforgettable experience.

One of the highlights of Red River Gorge is its impressive collection of sport climbing routes. The area boasts over 1,500 bolted routes, making it a paradise for sport climbers. The well-maintained routes offer a variety of challenges, from short and intense climbs to longer, endurance-testing routes.

Apart from sport climbing, Red River Gorge is also known for its traditional climbing opportunities. The area has an abundance of trad routes, allowing climbers to test their skills in placing their own protection. The traditional climbing routes often lead to stunning vistas and panoramic views of the surrounding natural landscape.

The climbing community in Red River Gorge is welcoming and supportive, with climbers from all over the world visiting this hidden treasure. The area offers camping facilities and a friendly atmosphere, making it an ideal destination for both solo climbers and groups.

Squamish, British Columbia

Located in beautiful British Columbia, Squamish is another underrated rock climbing destination in North America. With its stunning coastal scenery and diverse climbing options, Squamish attracts climbers from far and wide.

Squamish is renowned for its granite cliffs, which provide excellent friction and a variety of climbing styles. Whether you are a boulderer, sport climber, or trad climber, Squamish has something to offer. The area boasts a vast number of climbing routes, ranging from easy to extremely challenging.

One of the main attractions in Squamish is the Stawamus Chief, a massive granite monolith that dominates the skyline. The Chief offers a multitude of climbing routes, including both single-pitch and multi-pitch options. Climbing the Chief rewards climbers with breathtaking views of Howe Sound and the surrounding mountains.

In addition to the Stawamus Chief, Squamish offers a plethora of other climbing areas. The Smoke Bluffs is a popular spot for both beginners and experienced climbers, offering a wide range of routes with varying difficulty levels. The Murrin Park area is known for its beautiful lake and challenging routes that cater to intermediate and advanced climbers.

Squamish has a vibrant climbing community, with climbers gathering at local crags and sharing their passion for the sport. The town itself offers amenities such as gear shops, camping grounds, and restaurants to cater to the needs of climbers.

If you are looking for an underrated rock climbing destination in North America, both Red River Gorge in Kentucky and Squamish in British Columbia should be at the top of your list. These hidden gems offer unparalleled climbing experiences and natural beauty that will leave you inspired and craving for more.


El Chorro, Spain

El Chorro in Spain is a hidden gem for rock climbing enthusiasts. Nestled in the heart of Andalusia, this picturesque destination offers a diverse range of climbing routes suitable for all skill levels. With its stunning limestone cliffs, El Chorro provides a breathtaking backdrop for an unforgettable climbing experience.

One of the highlights of El Chorro is the infamous "Caminito del Rey," a thrilling cliffside walkway that was once considered one of the most dangerous paths in the world. Today, it has been renovated and offers a unique climbing experience for adrenaline junkies. The area also boasts numerous traditional and sport climbing routes, making it a versatile destination for climbers of all preferences.

The local climbing community in El Chorro is welcoming and friendly, making it an ideal place for solo climbers or those looking to connect with fellow enthusiasts. The area offers a variety of accommodations, including campsites and guesthouses, ensuring a comfortable stay for climbers from all walks of life.

Céüse, France

Céüse, located in the Hautes-Alpes region of France, is often hailed as one of the most beautiful and challenging climbing destinations in Europe. With its stunning limestone cliffs and panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, it’s no wonder climbers from around the world flock to this hidden paradise.

Céüse is renowned for its difficult routes, making it a favorite among experienced climbers seeking a challenge. The area offers a vast array of sport climbing routes, with over 300 routes to choose from. From vertical walls to overhanging sections, Céüse has something to offer for climbers of all abilities.

What sets Céüse apart is its commitment to preserving the natural environment. The local climbing community actively works towards sustainable climbing practices, ensuring the longevity of the area’s natural resources. As a result, climbers visiting Céüse can enjoy the breathtaking scenery while knowing they are contributing to the conservation efforts.

In terms of amenities, Céüse offers various accommodations ranging from campsites to cozy mountain huts. The nearby town of Gap provides additional options for dining and entertainment, making it a perfect base for climbers looking to unwind after a challenging day on the rocks.

Whether you’re a seasoned climber or a beginner looking to explore new heights, El Chorro in Spain and Céüse in France should definitely be on your rock climbing bucket list. These underrated destinations offer not only incredible climbing opportunities but also a chance to immerse yourself in the natural beauty and unique cultures of Europe.


Railay, Thailand

Railay is a hidden gem for rock climbers in Thailand. Tucked away on a peninsula between the cities of Krabi and Ao Nang, Railay offers breathtaking limestone cliffs that attract climbers from all over the world. The stunning scenery, turquoise waters, and lush greenery surrounding the cliffs make Railay a paradise for adventure seekers.

One of the highlights of climbing in Railay is the variety of routes available for all skill levels. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced climber, Railay has something to offer. The cliffs here provide a mix of challenging overhangs, delicate slabs, and vertical walls, ensuring that there is always a route to suit your preferences.

Another reason why Railay is a must-visit destination for rock climbers is the vibrant climbing community. The area is filled with climbers of all levels, creating a friendly and supportive atmosphere. Whether you are looking for climbing partners or seeking advice on routes, you will find plenty of like-minded individuals ready to share their knowledge and passion for climbing.

In addition to the excellent climbing opportunities, Railay also offers a range of other activities to enjoy during your visit. After a day of climbing, you can relax on the beautiful beaches, indulge in delicious Thai cuisine, or even try your hand at deep water soloing, a unique form of climbing where you ascend the cliffs without a rope and plunge into the refreshing waters below.

Yangshuo, China

Yangshuo, located in southern China, is another hidden gem for rock climbers. Surrounded by the mesmerizing karst landscape of the Guangxi region, Yangshuo offers a diverse range of climbing experiences. From limestone crags to towering peaks, this destination has it all.

One of the main attractions in Yangshuo is the world-famous Moon Hill. This natural arch stands tall and provides climbers with a challenging and rewarding ascent. The view from the top is simply breathtaking, showcasing the stunning beauty of the surrounding countryside.

Apart from Moon Hill, Yangshuo boasts numerous other climbing spots suitable for climbers of all levels. Whether you are a beginner looking to learn the ropes or an experienced climber seeking a new challenge, you will find a wealth of routes to choose from. The routes here vary in difficulty, offering everything from gentle slab climbs to steep overhangs.

Yangshuo’s climbing scene is well-established, with several climbing schools and guide services available for those who want to enhance their skills or explore the area safely. The local climbing community is welcoming and inclusive, making it easy to connect with fellow climbers and share experiences.

When you’re not climbing, Yangshuo offers a range of activities to keep you entertained. You can explore the picturesque countryside by bike, take a leisurely boat ride along the Li River, or immerse yourself in the local culture by attending traditional shows and festivals.

In conclusion, Railay in Thailand and Yangshuo in China are two underrated rock climbing destinations in Asia that offer a unique and unforgettable experience for climbers. Whether you choose to climb the limestone cliffs of Railay or explore the karst landscape of Yangshuo, you are bound to be captivated by the natural beauty and warm hospitality these destinations have to offer.

In conclusion, the world is full of hidden gems when it comes to rock climbing destinations. While popular spots like Yosemite and Mount Everest receive much-deserved attention, there are countless underrated locations waiting to be explored. From the stunning cliffs of Kalymnos in Greece to the picturesque landscapes of Hampi in India, these lesser-known destinations offer a unique and exhilarating experience for rock climbers of all levels. Whether you’re seeking a challenge or simply want to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, these underrated rock climbing destinations are well worth adding to your bucket list. So grab your gear, embrace the adventure, and discover the thrill of rock climbing in these hidden corners of the world.