Whether it’s your winter option for bagging some crag, or the artificial scene is your sport of choice, an artificial climbing wall provides a lot of ample resources for every adventure athlete. From yoga sessions to climbing classes, from lead routes to outdoor arenas, artificial rock walls give you the practice and networking needed to tackle other pitches in life. Thankfully, there are a number of awesome amazing walls across the country—here’s just a sampling of 10 awesome artificial walls in the U.S.
Vertical Endeavors – Glendale Heights, Illinois
While Vertical Endeavors originally began in Minneapolis, and have since expanded to other locations in Minnesota and Illinois, the Glendale Heights gym is featured because it was reported to be the largest in the U.S. in 2014. And with crazy numbers like 40,000+ sq. feet of total climbing space, including 3 separate stations for bouldering totaling 3,500 sq. feet, there are a lot of routes to choose from at Vertical Endeavors. And for those crack climbing enthusiasts, VEGH also has dedicated crack climbing walls and features.
Basecamp Outdoor Wall, Whitney Peak Hotel – Reno, Nevada
Not far from the California/ Nevada border is the Whitney Peak Hotel and it’s impressive collection of artificial climbing walls. This family friendly climbing spot has a few notable features including a certified 15-meter speed climbing wall, multi-pitch available sections with belay ledge, and 3 competition-ready boulders full of fun routes. Add onto that a movable slackline, a kid friendly zone, and a range of other activities to do in the surrounding area; this is a gym to pack a lunch for.
Historic Banning Mills – Banning, Georgia
Located roughly an hour west of Atlanta is the ghost town of Banning, Georgia. And amongst the leafy treetops in this scenic land of beauty lies Historic Banning Mills, a full-scale outdoor retreat center. And their outdoor rock wall, which claims fame as the Guinness Book of World Record’s tallest free standing rock wall, is a whopping 14 stories high (140 feet). With multiple features and somewhat reasonable pricing for what has to be a great view, this rock wall is open to all ages and skill levels.
High Point Climbing and Fitness – Chattanooga, Tennessee
This awesome and unique climbing wall has features that have you taking a rest right over the downtown streets of Chattanooga. That’s because unlike most of your climbing gyms, High Point features routes both on the inside and outside of the building. Lining the exterior of this sharp looking downtown establishment is transparent cells covered in climbing holds, that way when the weather is nice in Chattanooga (which is often), no need to feel stifled by the air conditioning inside.
Planet Granite – Portland, Oregon
Planet Granite also has 3 other locations in California, including another awesome one in San Francisco, but the Portland location is worth mentioning because it is not only one of the largest gyms in the West, but it is the only full service gym in the outdoor orientated Portland area. And Planet Granite seems to provide for all climbing levels with 55 foot tall heights, 150+ changing routes, and 4 hydraulically adjustable cracks.
Mesa Rim – San Diego, California
Mesa Rim claims to be the best climbing gym in San Diego, and they might be selling themselves short on their awesomeness. Mesa Rim is the tallest indoor climbing gym west of the Mississippi and offers over 30,000 sq. feet of climbing space. With over 200 routes, including a lead route that stretches out 95’ of your rope, and an emphasis on Yoga and wellness programs alongside the rock, Mesa Rim tops out as one of the best climbing gyms in the nation.
Carabiner’s – New Bedford, Massachusetts
Carabiner’s has the feel of your small-town local gym while still maintaining an impressive amount of vertical terrain and belay space. That’s because of the top 20 largest climbing gyms in the Nation, Carabiner’s is the only self-built facility. And with an array of routes featuring slopes and crimpers, alongside a cool atmosphere that climbers can dig, Carabiner’s is the hot spot in New Bedford to get some altitude under your belt.
Marymoor Park Climbing Wall – Redmond, Washington
This outdoor climbing structure located in scenic Redmond, Washington (15 miles east of Seattle), isn’t the tallest climbing wall around, nor is it the largest, but it is perhaps one of the most unique. This permanent outdoor rock wall, which looks like a huge adult playground in the middle of a park, has built in features for lead, top rope, and bouldering in a comfortable outdoor setting. And with free admission and $1 parking, this wall sees quite a bit of traffic.
Stone Summit – Atlanta, Georgia
Stone Summit is about the size of a football field and packs in over 30,000 feet of climbing space throughout the facility. Although packs in might not be the right way to describe it, because with plenty of room to breathe and even spectate other climbers, this facility also has been hosting the USAC Youth National Championship for the last 5 years. And although national championship youths climb here, with all the available space, Stone Summit has something for everyone.
Frozen Grain Silo – Cedar Falls, Iowa
This resourceful climbing destination in the middle of cornfields is truly a unique adventure. Back in 2001, Don Briggs, Professor at the University of Northern Iowa began to figure out how to safely attach systems to effectively ice over the side of a silo. And every year since, once the temperatures remain consistently below 26ºF he opens the wall and warming hut up to the public, beginners and experts alike.