From bouldering to trad climbing, hitting the rocks is huge across the country, and L.A. is no exception. Whether you need instruction or you’re a seasoned pro looking for a new spot to challenge you with more than rookie jugs, these are the best places to climb around Los Angeles.
Joshua Tree Rock Climbing School
HCR Box 3034
Joshua Tree, CA 92252
Joshua Tree National Park, including the Mojave Desert, is one of Southern California’s most famous and beautiful natural landmarks. While other national parks will be covered in snow this winter, local climbers can continue to hone their skills here. Joshua Tree features more than 8,000 climbing trails for all levels of difficulty with granite rocks up to 230 feet high. Group and private climbing lessons are available at the Joshua Tree Rock Climbing school year round for classes ranging from several hours to several days at a time.
Topanga State Park
20829 Entrada Road
Topanga Canyon, CA 90290-3529
Topanga Canyon features natural rock walls and trails that promise perfect climbing spots in the crisp winter months when foliage has thinned out. Two of this park’s most popular features for climbing include the China Wall and the Bat Cave. The China Wall attracts new boulder climbers due to its low level of difficulty. The sandstone Bat Cave is popular for top-roping, and it’s a fun hike as well.
32179-32241 Mulholland Highway
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
Malibu, CA 90265
Several high-quality volcanic breccias make this spot popular among local climbers. Although Miniholland has a reputation for not being highly challenging for advanced climbers, beginners and moderate hobbyists can easily spend a full day practicing on the four main boulders.The two boulders closest to the road, commonly called Boulder 1 and Boulder 2, are tall, steep and regularly used. Two shorter boulders with overhanging rock may be found a short hike away from the main trail.
28098 County Highway N6,
Pearblossom, CA 93553
This deep canyon, created from the waters of the San Gabriel Mountains, has served as a state park for nearly 50 years. With miles of rugged walking and jogging trails, this park also features hanging rock, sometimes up to 80 feet high, with plenty of routes to play on. The sandstone wilderness is free and open to the public from sunrise to sunset only and no camping is allowed, so come early if you’re hoping on exploring all of the options here.
Hangar 18 Climbing Gym
6935 Arlington Ave.
Riverside, CA 92503
Whether you prefer bouldering, top roping, or even if you’re just looking to train and build your core, this facility has it all. As one of the largest indoor rock-climbing gyms in the L.A. area, Hangar 18 has developed its own culture. A nearly equal mix of men and women adds to the laid-back atmosphere and communal learning attitude here. A great place for beginners, advanced climbers and hobbyists alike, the facility in Riverside features more than 12,000 square feet of terrain with sections that reach up to 20 feet. Do-It-Yourself classes are available year round. College students as well as people working in police and fire departments, and the military receive discounted membership.
Danielle Farve is a freelance writer covering all things Los Angeles. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.