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Your hands grip the cool rock as you lock your feet into position. You lunge your body forward, gaining momentum to make the next move. It’s a bit of a reach, so it takes full commitment. In an explosion of all the strength you can muster, you leap and grasp the next hold.
Satisfaction flows through you as the sun slowly climbs over the rock and into view. You smile, topping out on your first outdoor send.
Bouldering is an invigorating sport, and there’s nothing quite like a camping trip that revolves around rock.
Where to Camp Near These Alluring Bouldering Destinations
If you’ve been practicing in the gym, or looking to join some friends on your first outdoor bouldering trip, pack your bags and check out these bouldering destinations across the country — campgrounds included!
1. Bishop, California
Bishop is one of the most iconic bouldering destinations in the country, and this is where to camp for a good time. The arid climate makes it a great choice for those seeking sends in the off-season. The Birthday Boulders offer some great route options for the novice. Camping is mostly BLM style, meaning you are in charge of your own amenities and resources. Always practice Leave No Trace and pick up any waste, including your own.
2. Rocktown & Stone Fort Chattanooga, Tennessee
Arguably the best bouldering in the southeast, Rocktown and Stone Fort are exclusively bouldering areas. These two bouldering destinations outside of Chattanooga contain all types of bouldering routes all styles of climber. There are so many routes to choose from, it might be best to pick up a guidebook.
Don’t worry about where to camp, because the nearby Sawmill Lake Campground is just .2 miles from the parking area of Rocktown. You can also find established campgrounds at Cloudland Canyon State Park, where you can also enjoy hiking trails and waterfalls.
3. Red Rock National Conservation Area, Nevada
Located just outside of Las Vegas, Red Rock Canyon is on everyone’s climbing list. It’s got everything from multi-pitch trad routes to fantastic boulders for all experience levels.
BLM camping is the name of the game here, so expect primitive sites with no amenities. This means you’ll need to bring in your own water once you’ve picked where to camp, then clean up after yourself. Be prepared to haul out all of your waste as well. Wag bags or blue bags are provided for free at several locations — ask rangers for specifics.
Check out the Lava Boulder or Vaya con Queso for some great beginner sends.
4. Leavenworth, Washington
Leavenworth, a Bavarian-themed town 117 miles from Seattle, hosts the most concentrated climbing walls and boulders in all of Washington. Try the Forestland Boulders for some great beginner sends.
After a day working on your project, set up camp at the Eightmile Campground. Some reservations can be made three days in advance, but the rest is first-come-first-served so arrive during the week to secure your site. Amenities here include water, fire pits, and picnic tables.
5. Joshua Tree National Park, California
Joshua Tree National Park is plump with climbing and bouldering. Scattered among the unique Joshua trees and desert landscape, boulders are the primary landscape feature, so you’ll find plenty of them for climbing.
Check out Hidden Valley Campground for a comfy place to rest and watch the stars after a long day of climbing.
Joshua tree is best saved for winter when the desert temps are milder.
6. Hueco Tanks near El Paso, Texas
Texas bouldering enthusiasts will rejoice in the stunning desert scenery. But beware, once you’ve decided where to camp, you’ll need to reserve your spot in advance by calling the Texas State Parks.
Be sure to keep your reservation number handy, rumor has it reservations frequently get lost.
Hueco Tanks Historic Site offers great camping options from $10 to $5 a night depending on if you are a member of the American Alpine Club or not. Unfortunately, you’ll have to leave Fido at home for this one, pets are not allowed.
7. Joe’s Valley outside of Orangeville, Utah
These sandstone boulders were made to climb. The rock is strong and skin-friendly. Quick approaches make these boulders a great bang for your approach buck.
Rocks of all grade are available, but Area 51 offers some great beginner routes. Since Joe’s has so much to offer, we recommend snagging a guidebook. There’s plenty of dispersed camping on BLM land, but for those looking for somewhere to camp that is more established, check out Indian Creek which offers large, group sites. There’s no garbage service or electricity though, so charge up before you head out, and be prepared to pack out your waste.
Are you wondering where to camp on your next adventure? We’ve got it covered! The Dyrt is the fastest-growing camping app on web and mobile, with new features being rolled out regularly. If you love the outdoors, discovering ideal spots to pitch your tent, and being part of a rich and active community, then join us.