Living in KC and wondering where to climb? Rock abounds both near and far! If the place you're looking for isn't listed below, check the area guidebook (found at your local climbing gym and/or gear store) or Mountain Project.
The links below open documents with information about the climbing area including directions to, approach beta, route type, camping amenities, and links to other useful documents and websites. This is not a comprehensive list, but rather a list for which supplemental information is available.
The MO Beta guidebook is out of print, so you'll have to make friends to borrow a copy.
Cliff Drive - In the heart of Kansas City (MO) hides a secret crag. It's not very big, and limestone can be quite soapy, but it's climbing in the heartland, so who can complain?
Less than 2-hour drive to limestone and sandstone cliffs along various bodies of water. Not the most solid of rock, so helmets and attentive belays are recommended. Wonderful way to spend a day, although alpine starts are recommended in the summer to avoid the heat of the day as the sun bounces off the water and bakes the rock. Great winter climbing.
Trappers - Limestone cliffs rise above the confluence of the Sac and Osage rivers. Check the water level before you go and make sure the climb isn't mixed when racking up. The Pontoon Wall got fresh bolts in 2020-2021 thanks to KCCC members.
Warsaw - Limestone cliffs border the edge of Truman Reservoir. Mostly bolted, with a few enjoyable gear lines. Good area for top-roping.
Raven Rocks - Developed by local climbers in 2015, this new area brings lake-side sandstone climbing to the map in Missouri. Mostly bolted 5.6 - 5.9, so get out and climb!
Roughly a 5 hour drive to the favored destinations of most area climbers for weekend trips in the spring and fall, although climbing can be had year round. Surprisingly bomber, single pitch, sandstone cliff bands are tucked away throughout the northwest corner.
For more areas (and more details), check out the guidebook Rock Climbing Arkansas 2nd Edition by Cole Fennel. This book is hands-down the best guidebook I've (Carol) ever used.
Horseshoe Canyon Ranch - Full-service Dude Ranch and the largest crag in the state with over 400 routes and a lot of bouldering. Lots of moderates (under 5.9), and lots of bolts. Expect crowds. No dogs. $5/night, $10/day.
Sam's Throne - Previously the largest crag in the state with over 300 routes, mostly trad. Great top roping. Free camping on top of the cliff band.
Cave Creek - Sport climbing mecca! Fixed draws are common and crowds are a rarity. Especially great from 5.9 - 5.12a.
Fern - Short walls in a magical canyon. You might spot a fairy! Lots of moderate sport. Free camping just 2 minutes from the cliff edge.
Stack Rock - 45 minutes of dirt road driving (low clearance friendly), followed by 1 mile hike to the Wall of Moderates (there's a great, bolted 5.6!), followed by another 20 minutes of hiking to the Slackline Pillar are all made worth it by the remote setting, beautiful views, and quality routes of a variety of styles and grades spread out along the island of cliff-line.
Jamestown - A bit of a drive, but a climber-owned crag, well bolted, with lots of 10's and under.
Jackson Falls - Waterfalls and bolted, sandstone cliffs. Proximity to St. Louis and Chicago makes every weekend a busy weekend. About 6 hours from KC.
Wichita Wildlife Refuge - A pile of granite fulfills your climbing needs, but be prepared to place your own gear, build your own anchors, and pay for bolts with runout penalties. About 6 hours from KC.
Our neighbor to the west (roughly 9 hours to the west) is a fantastic destination for climbing and choosing where to go can easily become overwhelming. The document below lists some of my (Carol) favorite places with some of my favorite climbs, as well as advice on other attractions (brewery tour anyone?) all near the hub of Boulder.
Front Range Areas - Flatirons, Boulder Canyon, Eldorado Canyon, Horsetooth Reservoir, Poudre Canyon, Lumpy Ridge, Rocky Mountain National Park, Clear Creek Canyon, and Shelf Road.
Red River Gorge - Roughly 10 hours east of Kansas City lies a remote geological masterpiece containing over 3,000 climbing routes with grades ranging from 5.4 to 5.14. Be sure to visit (or camp at) the iconic Miguel’s Pizza while there. If you’re looking for somewhere to start, we recommend Muir Valley (warning: no dogs and a small fee) or Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve (PMRP). For guidebooks, we recommend Red River Gorge North and Red River Gorge South by Ray Ellington.
For more information and links to the guidebooks, visit:
For a quick synopsis, visit:
Utah & Nevada
This packet of information was originally intended for the KU Rock Climbing club for their 2011 Spring Break trip to Red Rocks, Las Vegas, NV via Moab, UT. Spring Break aside, it's chocked full of useful information including directions, camping, climbing, hiking, bouldering, and routes. If you're planning a road trip to either location, I'd recommend acquainting yourself with the information provided in the Red Rocks, NV & Moab, UT slideshow first! In case you're wondering, it's about 16 hours to Moab, and a long, 24 hour drive to Las Vegas.