Texas Living

5 of the Best (Scariest) Rock Climbs in Texas

By Peter Simek 2.19.20

Sure, a lot of Texas might be flat. But our state’s vastness packs a fascinating geological history with every imaginable kind of terrain. It’s no surprise, then, that outdoor enthusiasts looking to explore, climb, and challenge themselves will find that Texas offers opportunities for rock climbers of all levels of experience. For the truly daring, here are five of the best rock climbs in the state that should only be attempted with the proper equipment and supervision.

Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site

Hueco Tanks State Park, outside of El Paso, is the mecca of Texas’s rock-climbing universe. Some of its climbs are considered some of the hardest in the world, and its bouldering opportunities are among the best in the world. What makes Hueco Tanks so special is also what makes it dangerous: plenty of overhangs, roof climbing, and the need for some serious skills to conquer many of its thousands of possible routes. If you’re planning a trip Hueco Tanks, plan ahead; reservations or guided tours are required for many of its climbs.

Rogers Park

One of the state’s best kept climbing secrets, Rogers Park offers climbers of all levels an opportunity to tackle the boulders in the park. Some of the most challenging routes run up the steep limestone cliffs that line the shores of Belton Lake. Already-difficult climbs are made more treacherous by the moist conditions and lack of sunlight that make for slippery rocks.

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Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

Hiking to the top of Enchanted Rock, the massive granite dome north of Fredericksburg, is a Lone Star tradition that should be on every Texan’s bucket list. To explore the site at its most extreme, tackle some of Enchanted Rock’s challenging boulders or climb either of its two domes along some of the best bolted routes in the state.

McKinney Falls State Park

Don’t underestimate the size of the boulders at this popular spot near Austin. McKinney Falls State Park’s climbs are short, steep, complicated, and grueling. What makes McKinney such a challenge? The pockets are thin, the grades are unusual, and the moves required to conquer some of its problems beguile even the most experienced of climbers.

Milton Reimers Ranch Park

Before Travis County purchased this site along the Pedernales River from rancher Milton Reimers, the owner charged a small fee. Today, the enthusiasts who have begun flocking to the walls 30 miles southwest of Austin enjoy a park managed by the county that features a few dozen climbing spots along the stunning limestone cliffs that rise from the river valley.

Tackle more of Texas’s heights on these mountain ranges.

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