New River Gorge Rock Climbing Destinations

Covered in jagged cliffs of rough sandstone, the New River Gorge has more than 1,000 rock climbing faces, a paradise for both new and experienced climbers. With so many rocks to scale, where should you start? Here are a few areas to go to get a full day of great climbs:


As its name implies, this section of the Gorge actually includes several climbing routes stretched along a snaking rock wall. There are simple, beginner-friendly and expert-level climbs interwoven throughout the cliff face.


This spot offers an escape from the harsh summer sun, shaded by the north-facing cliffsides. But this also means it stays wet and slick after a day of downpour. These aren't beginners paths, though: most of the more than 100 paths here require technical skill and a lot of power.


With some of the best overviews of the New River Gorge, Beauty Mountain also includes several of the highest and most difficult Gorge climbing routes.


Here you can find a multitude of beginners' routes, with several anchors in place. This is where many guides take new climbers out to learn and practice, so the area can get busy during the tourism season. The Cave Routes are a common starter climb, but the area does feature some rougher climbs for the more experienced.


The area surrounding the Summersville Lake at the mouth of the raging Gauley River boasts hundreds of climbing cliffs, most easily accessed via boat or by the lake. When the dam releases water into the river and the levels lower in the fall, more routes open up by foot.

If you don't have your own equipment, and if you've never been climbing, no worries. There are plenty of guides available to help you get started, or point you to the best climbs.

Get harnessed up! Which rocks are you scaling first?