Rock Climbing in New Mexico: The Best Spots for Summer SenDs
23 March 2022
The great thing about rock climbing in New Mexico is that you can do it year-round. There is a lifetime of climbing to enjoy with countless outdoor opportunities that offer various difficulties, experiences, settings, and rock types. Whether a beginner or an avid climber, the beautiful and vibrant Taos, New Mexico, should be on any climber's radar.
We've put together some of the best places to climb this summer in New Mexico and even added a few local favorites tucked outside Taos. So pull out the maps and the climbing gear and start planning your summer list or routes to climb near Taos.
PLACES TO CLIMB IN NEW MEXICO RIO GRANDE GORGE There are a handful of great routes and bouldering opportunities in or near the vast Rio Grande Gorge, including the Panorama Wall, The Bend, Where the Bobbalo Roam, and Pilar Area Bouldering. All of which are located within a 30-minute drive from downtown Taos. So whether you're climbing with a bumbly friend or a couple of your experienced best buddies, there will be plenty of climbing routes to choose from.
JOHN DUNN BRIDGE AREA The John Dunn Bridge Area is a popular spot for local climbers with numerous sport and trad climbing routes. Located within a short 20-minute drive northwest of Taos, you can choose between multiple 5.9 and 5.12a/b routes. Some favorites are Sunburned, The Houston S, Pockets, and Alberta. After an exhilarating climb, head to the nearby Manby Hotsprings to relax your arm and leg muscles.
UTOPIAN VISTAS The Utopian Vistas is located at 6,300 ft elevation and has some of the best pocketed basalt near Taos. Most climbing routes, such as Stimulus Package, Nirvana Blues, and Obamanos! tend to be in the 5.10 to 5.11 range. Regardless of your climbing experience, you can enjoy a little solitude and adventure while tucked into the beautiful Rio Grande Gorge.
TRES PIEDRAS Spanish for the "Three Rocks," the Tres Piedras combines multiple rock formations that offer unique longer trad and sport routes varying from moderate to hard. With a range of 5.6 to 5.11+ climbing routes, any member of your climbing party can feel comfortable finding a route that suits their skill level on the bullet-hard granite.
Keep an eye out for seasonal closures from mid-February to late May, as this is a nesting area for Peregrine falcons. If you have any questions about closures, reach out to the Tres Piedras Ranger District to learn more!
QUESTA DOME To the north of Taos, located within the Latir Peak Wilderness, is the Questa Dome climbing area. The 600-foot-tall south-facing granite dome is a sought-after destination for experienced and adventurous multi-pitch climbers. With an elevation of 9,801 feet, the weather can play an essential factor during the late spring and summer months. Be prepared to encounter snow, hail, rain, or the occasional free-range livestock. There are some great opportunities for bouldering along the hike into Questa Dome, so if you need some additional time practicing your hand jams, you can indeed find it.
ROY, NEW MEXICO The lengthy 2.5-hour drive to reach Roy, New Mexico is undoubtedly worth it. The area offers world-class sandstone bouldering, sport and trad climbs. The region is a hidden gem among the climbing community, and it takes a certain level of willingness and curiosity to find excellent sandstone sport lines.
Nestled along the canyon walls of the Canadian River, inside the Cibola National Forest are routes such as Batman, The Cobra, and Pumped Full of Roy. Climbers have enjoyed these challenging, multi-layered climbs and described them as absolutely classic.
DIABLO CANYON RECREATION AREA Whether you’re going solo or on a group climb, the Diablo Canyon Recreation Area in Santa Fe has tons to offer. With hundreds of routes on 300-foot basalt cliffs, there are plenty of climbing routes for all skill levels. Keep in mind, that the recreation area is a popular spot with extremely high sun exposure, however, it is still worth a trip.
INDOOR CLIMBING NEAR TAOS SANTA FE CLIMBING CENTER If you're not quite ready to venture outdoors and rig up your equipment or anchors, you can head over to the Sante Fe Climbing Center for some indoor climbing fun.
At the climbing gym in Santa Fe, you can sharpen your hold and foot placement skills by taking Indoor Climbing, Lead Climbing, or Movement and Training classes. In addition, they offer youth classes, specialized clinics, and fitness classes to improve your climbing skills and get you ready to head outdoors. Turn your indoor climbing trip into a memorable road trip by visiting other noteworthy outdoor recreation landmarks along the way.
CLIMBING GEAR AROUND TAOS TAOS MOUNTAIN OUTFITTERS With over 50 years of experience, the Taos Mountain Outfitters is a must-stop for your outdoor gear needs in historic downtown Taos. So whether you're looking to grab an extra carabiner or resupply on chalk before heading out on an adventure, stop in and check out the notable Taos Mountain Outfitters.
MUDD N FLOOD The owners, Elana and Chris, will gladly offer knowledgeable and personalized assistance as you shop for outdoor gear and prepare for your next adventure. Located right in the heart of Taos, you can grab a quick bite to eat nearby in preparation to fuel
up for your adventurous day afterward.
MOUNTAIN SKILLS ROCK CLIMBING GUIDES Not sure where to go or don't have the gear? Then contact Mountain Skills Rock Climbing Guides to set up an exciting rock climbing adventure in the beautiful Taos region. In addition, the owner, Jay Foley, wrote the guidebook on climbing in Taos and is an incredible resource. Even if you want to swing in to chat with the local guides to pick their brain or ask for recommendations, this would be the place to do just that.
They offer opportunities tailored to your skill level, but they also offer a Rock n' Raft adventure in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. So if you're looking to combine rock climbing and rafting, you might want to reach out to book a trip!
So, are you ready to send it this summer? After a day at the crag, stop into one of the best restaurants in Taos to grab a beer or bite to eat with friends while you reminisce about that incredible lead climb.