With the tallest rock climbing wall in the world located right in the heart of downtown Reno, it’s no question that the Reno Tahoe area has some of the best and most unique rock climbing in the country. The fall season is traditionally considered to be the best time for rock climbing in both Reno and Lake Tahoe, but you will find suitable climbs throughout the area all year. World-class climbing areas like Lover’s Leap are within 15 miles of South Lake Tahoe; Donner Summit and Big Chief are located less than an hour from Reno. Come see why our area is a destination for rock climbers from around the world.
For beginners and those who want to practice their skills, Reno offers unique climbing walls and a variety of indoor rock climbing options. Whether you seek a climb with views of downtown Reno, or want to experience a state-of-the-art climbing facility, there are a number of climbing and bouldering facilities to meet your needs.
BaseCamp, in downtown Reno, is home to the tallest rock climbing wall on the planet (coming in at 164 feet). This amazing rock climbing wall allows visitors to scale the side of Whitney Peak Hotel for unparalleled views of the downtown area, including the iconic Reno Arch. Go inside and check out the more than 7,000-square-foot bouldering park (with more than 3,200 square feet of climbable space), complete with a separate area specifically designed for kids.
BaseCamp rock climbing park is built to accommodate everyone in the family, from first-timers to the most experienced rock climbers with equipment rentals and climbing classes to get you off the ground. Their equipment rental includes shoes, harness and chalk, which can be rented for a day or at a monthly rate. If you are looking to take your skills to the next level, their climbing class selection includes beginner, top rope, multi-pitch, and more. Make sure to check out their weekly specials like two for Tuesday, where you can get two day passes for the price of one.
Mesa Rim Climbing Center is the newest and largest rock climbing gym in Reno, with more than 24,000 square feet of climbing terrain; their tallest climbing wall reaches 52 feet! Chosen as the home of the 2018 USA Climbing: Sport & Speed Open National Championships, this gym is the perfect place to build your skills. In addition to climbing walls, their facility offers a yoga and fitness area, locker rooms, sauna and community areas. With classes on everything from basic rock climbing techniques, like belaying and movement, to yoga and fitness classes, Mesa Rim is your one-stop shop for all things rock climbing in Reno.
Lake Tahoe is one of the most diverse rock climbing destinations in the nation, with many climbing areas conveniently located within an hour’s drive of Reno. Here are some of the most popular and scenic rock climbing locations in Lake Tahoe.
Big Chief is one of the best sport rock climbing locations in North Lake Tahoe, with walls reaching over 250 feet and several short and well-bolted sport climbs. There are more than 50 routes varying from beginner to advanced, so Big Chief is a great place for all levels of climbers to experience rock climbing in Lake Tahoe. To access this epic climbing spot, you are in for a small trek, but we promise it’s worth it.
You will find a great Lake Tahoe rock climbing spot called Twin Crags in Tahoe City. This area boasts unique intermediate rock climbing on basalt columns with spectacular views. Many of the routes are trad or top rope with scattered bolts.
Donner Summit offers some of the most diverse rock climbing in Lake Tahoe with a mixture of traditional and sport climbing spots scattered throughout the majestic Sierra Nevada mountains. From slabs, cracks and faces, to radical overhangs, the majority of climbs are on a set of disparate short walls around old Highway 40. Keep in mind the quality and spacing of the bolts varies with each climbing location. Here are a few recommended rock climbing areas at Donner Summit, suitable for various skill levels.
Directions: From Reno to Truckee (I-80 West), take old highway 40 westbound to Donner Summit. The climbs are along the highway, before the summit, before the Alpine Skills Institute building.
On the west side of Emerald Bay lies a selection of small granite crags along the shores of Lake Tahoe in an area called Eagle Creek Canyon, a perfect place for Lake Tahoe rock climbing. To find this area, take Highway 89 and park at the Eagle Lake parking area, near Emerald Bay.
Does scaling up a 600-foot chunk of granite with hundreds of crevices and dikes surrounded by towering pine trees sounds like a fun afternoon? Well, Lover’s Leap has you covered! This Lake Tahoe rock climbing area is easy to find and is about 20 miles from South Lake Tahoe. You will find everything from easy slabs to moderate multi-pitch rock climbs with some bolted lines on granite among the more than 150 established routes at Lover’s Leap rock climbing spot.
The Phantom Spires are quite remarkable in the way they appear out of nowhere, with spires of granite reaching up to 200 feet. The Spires offer various trad and sport climbs on varying rock, and is recommended for more experienced rock climbers.
Directions: From Reno, drive through South Lake Tahoe on Highway 50 towards Kyburz. From Kyburz, continue 4.9 miles to Wrights Lake Road. After 2.3 miles on this road, take an unmarked gravel logging road for 2 more miles.
Sugarloaf is well-known as the most Yosemite-like of all Lake Tahoe rock climbing spots. With its smooth crevices and chimney system, this 350-foot granite dome is a challenge but offers something for any level of rock climber, both sport and trad. In this area, you will also find smaller rock clusters that cater to beginner and intermediate climbers.
Directions: From Reno, drive through South Lake Tahoe on Highway 50 towards Placerville. Right off of Highway 50 past Kyburz, you will find the Sugarloaf Trailhead. Follow this trail to the Sugarloaf rock climbing spot.
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