Go for Gold: Rock Climbing in Almost Heaven

With the Summer Olympics quickly approaching, it is the prime time to train as the competitors do. Having an abundance of rocky ridges, steep hillsides and destination crags, West Virginia is the perfect place to exercise your rock climbing skills this summer. In Almost Heaven, you can reach new heights while scaling the sides of these expansive Appalachian Mountains. Not to mention, you’ll have some pretty impeccable views to complement your climbs.

Reminder: If you’re trying your hand at rock climbing for the first time this summer, be sure to practice the utmost safety in this sport. Read up on climbing safety and always bring a friend along for the trip. If you’re looking to make the most out of your learning experience, try out one of ACE Adventure Resort’s guided climbing trips.


Though you won’t be using them, it’s crucial that you have learned the ropes before your bouldering expedition. The climber’s goal in bouldering is to advance over large boulders, scaling shorter walls with no ropes or harnesses. Though bouldering spans over a short distance, it requires extreme skill, strength and concentration.

Almost Heaven Bouldering

You’ll have no “problem” finding a place to practice bouldering this summer in Almost Heaven. With 600 routes and numerous bouldering problems, Cheat Canyon is a climber’s dream destination. Also located within the vast Cheat Canyon, Coopers Rock State Forest hosts several bouldering sites. You can get creative with your climbing as you navigate its stiff grades and bulging boulders. The capital city’s Kanawha State Forest also boasts some of its own bouldering areas.

Lead Climbing

This year’s Olympic competitors will participate in lead climbing, scaling tall and challenging walls with the protection of ropes and harnesses. The most popular type of lead climbing outdoors in West Virginia is sport climbing, which requires climbers to clip into anchors fixed into mountainsides as they make their ascent.

Take the Lead… Climbing in West Virginia

The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is well-known for its extensive opportunities for sport climbing. On these rocks, you’ll be getting the birds-eye view of America’s newest national park. Standing nearly 900 feet above the ground, Seneca Rocks also provides quite the view- and challenge- for a sport climber. Lastly, if you’re for spending the day both climbing and swimming, head over to Summersville Lake to check out its sport routes.

Speed Climbing

Ready? Set? Go. Hence its name, speed climbing is a fast-paced discipline. It is often done in a gym, but we recommend finding a top-route spot in Almost Heaven and working on your speed as you race to the top.

A Need for Speed Climbing

One of the optimal places in West Virginia to speed climb is North Bend State Park. Set the record among your friends by getting the best time on this park’s routes. Another spot for speed climbing is the Devil’s Nose, a portion of the Sleepy Creek WMA. On your climbs here, you’ll have to practice rock climbing safety by checking for snakes in all rock crevices. After you’ve taken these precautions, feel free to speed up the wall.

This summer, take on the rocky ridges of the Mountain State. For more rock climbing and high-speed adventure inspiration, check out our free Vacation Guide.

Travelers are encouraged to check the status of individual businesses and to review all Travel Responsibly guidelines before taking a trip.

This post was last updated on May 18, 2023