Top 10 Climbing Spots in Southern Utah

Posted: June 24, 2022 | Author: Kate Lyons | Read Time: 6 minutes

Best places to climb in southern UtahSouthern Utah University is in the center of an outdoor paradise for explorers from all over to visit. From tall sandstone cliffs to shady slot canyons, there’s an adventure in the world’s best backyard fit for everyone. Among these adventures, there are many beautiful places to rappel, rock climb, and boulder within driving distance of campus. Here are some of the best locations for climbing in southern Utah for you to check out all year.

Best Locations for Climbing in Southern Utah

Graveside Wall

9 miles from campus, a 13-minute drive

Explore the SUU-owned calcite-rich sandstone at the Graveside Wall – a hidden oasis for climbing just outside of Cedar City, Utah. This advanced climb offers the ideal escape due to its beautiful aspen surroundings. The cliff receives morning shade and late afternoon sunshine and is best to climb when it’s not snowy. Two of the well-known routes are Fallout and The Adventure Road. Grab your gear and head out for a day of adventure on this two-tiered limestone crag!

Swett Hills Area

11 miles from campus, a 16-minute drive

This Cedar City classic comes in at 5,800 feet in elevation and provides four crags – The Wash, Pocket Rocks, Sprocket Rocks, and The Cone. The Wash is meant for advanced boulderers, while Pocket Rocks, Sprocket Rocks, and The Cone are roped climbing areas and are wonderful for beginners! Enjoy the southern Utah atmosphere any time of year at Swett Hill. The area also offers moderate hikes to get to all of the crags, and the experience, challenge, and desert views are well worth the effort!

Overlook at Brian Head

21 miles from campus, a 30-minute drive

Pants and long sleeves are encouraged! This spot offers an escape from the burning heat from the valley below due to its 11,000-foot elevation, making it top out at 80 degrees Fahrenheit even in July and August. Paired with an exquisite 360° view, this welded tuff cliff is perfect for a summertime climb. It offers 30’ to 70’ climbs and is great for more intermediate and advanced climbers. Feel free to top rope when you’re here as well and join in on a cooler climbing adventure in the summer.

Zion National Park’s Kolob Canyon

24 miles from campus, a 28-minute drive

Located in Zion National Park, Kolob Canyon holds the world-famous Namaste Wall. People from all over travel to Utah to get the chance of completing this awe-inspiring climb. The well-known 2,000 foot cliffs are perfect for the experienced and adventurous climber. The area includes Navajo sandstone, beautiful falls and streams, and provides visitors with days worth of exciting adventures not only through climbing, but camping and hiking. If you’re up for world-class challenge, then these difficult routes are for you!


46 miles from campus, a 50-minute drive

This exciting and challenging route with a 3,000-foot elevation located in Hurricane, Utah is great for advanced climbers. This shady ten-minute climb up a limestone cave with overhung routes that rate at 5.11 and up, makes it a fantastic place to marvel at and explore. The Hurricave is where you can go to push yourself on the Cliff Dwellers and Flight Concord routes and become inspired by one of nature’s wonders.

Black Rocks

56 miles from campus, a 45-minute drive

This basalt cliff with an elevation of 3,244 feet has over 70 routes that are perfect for climbers of any age and experience! The area has both a sunny and shady side to fit any weather and is sure to fit your tastes for the perfect climbing experience. Enjoy either sport or traditional climbing that’s less than one hour away from campus.

Turtle Wall

56 miles from campus, a 49-minute drive

One of the most popular local climbing spots, this sandstone cliff with an elevation of 3,089 feet is a great place to practice overhanging routes–and it even has a small cave. Just be sure to climb on a dry day, as climbing when the stone is wet can erode away the holds. Named for the borderline-endangered desert tortoises that call the canyon home, Turtle Wall also has a fantastic hiking trail to explore. Bring your climbing and hiking friend to the Turtle Wall to make for an adventurous day.

Moe’s Valley

56 miles from campus, a 53-minute drive

Better known for its amazing bouldering routes, Moe’s Valley is a southern Utah classic that has a ton to offer! This area gives a refreshing experience for climbers to face the 2,723-foot elevation in the spring, fall, and winter. The beautiful desert environment offers several routes and gorgeous sandstone for climbers to enjoy. Be sure to leave no trace and not to disturb the wildlife to keep the area intact for future enjoyment.

Green Valley Gap

57 miles from campus, a 54-minute drive

Popular among mountain bikers, Green Valley also hosts a great spot for climbing in southern Utah. The area naturally provides for top-roping and sits at 2,870 feet elevation. Its sandstone crags are great for introducing new climbers to the sport or for providing a refresher for more experienced climbers. Be careful when going after any precipitation! Breakage on the cliff face is likely since sandstone is so soft. The best times to visit are spring, fall, and winter. If you adventure out in the summer, be sure to go in the mornings to help you avoid the desert heat.

Crawdad Canyon

62 miles from campus, a 1-hour drive

Supplying you with fifteen climbing areas, each with multiple routes, Crawdad Canyon is a local paradise for climbers. Even though traditional climbing isn’t allowed, climbers can still use belay chairs and belay platforms on the 4,407-foot elevation. This area does require an entry fee to access as it is on private land, but it is well worth the visit due to the stunning environment of sixty-foot basalt cliffs lined with cottonwood forests and flowing streams.

Woodbury Road Crags

80 miles from campus, a 1 hour and 20 minutes drive

Enjoy scenic views with a wide range of climbing routes that sit at 3,700 feet in elevation. Composed of three crags – Black and Tan, Kelly’s Rock, and Solstice – The Woodbury area offers an isolated location that allows for all climbing abilities to enjoy. Visit during the spring and fall for the best experience and take notice of the landscape, flora, and fauna in the area that calls this specific region home.

Beginner Rock Climbing in Southern Utah

Southern Utah provides so many opportunities for outdoor adventures especially when it comes to beginner rock climbing. However, knowing how to start rock climbing as a beginner is difficult and jumping into the rock climbing scene can be really intimidating.

If you’re new to climbing or are interested in starting, check out SUU’s climbing tower, rappel station, and tread wall to get the hang of things. Or talk to the experts at SUU Outdoors for information on climbing and renting equipment.

Prepping for a Climbing Trip

Different gear is needed for different kinds of climbing, but SUU Outdoors is here to help with a climbing trip packing list. Sport climbing is a form of rock climbing that relies on permanent anchors fixed to the rock for protection. Other types of the activity, like traditional climbing, require the climber to place removable protection as they climb.


As the University of the Parks Southern Utah University is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream come true. Feel free to explore the natural surroundings within a quick drive from campus and see the best spots for climbing in the region. Remember to follow all posted rules when you’re in nature and to bring proper equipment, food, and water with you to ensure you have the best experience possible. Adventure awaits!

Tags: Outdoors SUU Outdoors

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