The Best Places To Rock Climb in Pennsylvania

A woman scales the side of a cliff with mountains in the background.

Pennsylvania’s mountainous landscape is famed for its many climbing opportunities for professionals and hobbyists of all skill levels. The rugged cliffs of the east, the rolling hills of the central region, and the scenic beauty of the west combine to offer climbers like you a geographically diverse selection of challenging courses and leisurely trails. 

But how do you know which destination is right for you? As experts in finding the right fit, let Freedom Storage Management help you assess your climbing options in Pennsylvania to choose the course that best matches your experience and skill level so you can take in the unparalleled views of Pennsylvania’s rich mountainous landscapes. 

Eastern Pennsylvania

Delaware Water Gap

With its stunning views overlooking the Delaware River valley, The Delaware Water Gap is among the most iconic climbing destinations in eastern Pennsylvania. Straddling the border between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, this gorgeous natural environment presents stunning scenery and a variety of climbing routes that cater to all skill levels. 

Composed primarily of quartzite, the cliffs are shrouded by a lush forest and provide excellent grip and challenging features along popular trails like “Ricks Rocks” and the more challenging “Mount Tammany,” which offers multi-pitch routes for experienced climbers. The Delaware Water Gap is also a popular camping destination, so don’t forget to bring your tent with you as you climb to enjoy a night of stargazing under the maple trees. 

Ralph Stover State Park (High Rocks)

Ralph Stover State Park, or more specifically, the section known as High Rocks, is another highly popular climbing destination in eastern Pennsylvania. The park features a dramatic cliff face that rises above Tohickon Creek and a variety of climbing routes that range from easy to extremely challenging. The cliffs are primarily composed of sedimentary rock, providing a different climbing experience compared to the quartzite of the Delaware Water Gap.

Climbers at High Rocks have several routes to choose from, which offer unique challenges and rewarding views for those who reach the summit. Like other trails and parks, the best times to visit are during the spring and fall when the weather is mild, and the foliage adds to the natural charm. Remember that this park is a popular destination, so climbers should also be mindful of other visitors and maintain good climbing etiquette.

Birdsboro Quarry

Located in Berks County, Birdsboro Quarry is a reclaimed industrial site that has been diligently transformed into a climbing paradise. The quarry offers a range of unique climbing routes on its steep, quarried walls, making it a unique and exciting destination for climbers of all abilities. The rock here is primarily diabase, known for its durability and the unconventional climbing features it presents.

We recommend starting with the more moderate climbs that introduce climbers to the area’s unique rock formations before moving on to more advanced routes. As always, we strongly advise you to wear helmets, check your gear thoroughly, and stay updated on any local advisories or closures to enjoy a safe climbing experience. 

A close-up view of a person climbing a boulder in special climbing shoes.

Central Pennsylvania

Safe Harbor 

Safe Harbor, located along the Susquehanna River in Lancaster County, is a beloved climbing destination in central Pennsylvania. Similar to Birdsboro Quarry, the area is known for its impressive diabase cliffs and a variety of climbing routes that cater to different skill levels. The rock at Safe Harbor offers excellent friction, making it a favorite among amateur climbers and those looking for a casual day on the rocks. 

Try “Hydroman,” a popular moderate climb, and “Autumn Arch,” which offers stunning views of the Susquehanna River. Accessibility is relatively easy, with parking areas close to the climbing sites so you can save your energy for the climb rather than the walk. However, despite its name, Safe Harbor presents the same risks of injury as other climbing destinations, so please remember to adhere to local guidelines and stay prepared. 

Clarence Schock Memorial Park at Governor Dick 

Governor Dick Park, located in Mount Gretna, is another central Pennsylvania gem for rock climbers. The park features a variety of boulders and short cliff faces that offer excellent climbing opportunities in a beautiful forested setting. The rock here is primarily diabase, known for its toughness and the excellent climbing conditions it provides. 

Unique to this park is its 66-foot-tall tower, which dates back to 1954. Either before hitting the cliffs or after your climb, ascend this beast to experience a once-in-a-lifetime panorama of the surrounding landscape. 

Western Pennsylvania

McConnells Mill State Park

Renowned for its stunning sandstone cliffs and boulders, McConnells Mill State Park of Lawrence County is an exhilarating climbing experience. The park’s natural beauty and challenging terrain make it a top destination for climbers in western Pennsylvania.

Among the favorite challenging routes in McConnells Mill are “Breakneck Bridge” and “Mission Impossible.” Their ominous names should serve as an indication of this park’s difficult slopes, so attempt your climb with extra caution and only do so in good weather. 

Breakneck Rocks

Don’t get confused. Breakneck Rocks is its own climbing destination, separate from McConnells Mill and its similarly named Breakneck Bridge.

Another gem in western Pennsylvania, Breakneck Rocks, is famed for its rugged landscape and demanding climbs. The remarkably challenging sandstone cliffs here offer a variety of routes that attract seasoned climbers seeking a challenge. The rock formations at Breakneck Rocks present unique climbing opportunities, creating a memorable experience for all who successfully tackle its routes. As one of the most difficult climbs on the list, we would only recommend Breakneck Rocks and its routes like “Bio-Fear” to highly experienced climbers, so attempt your climb carefully and at your own risk. 

A close-up view of carabiners and climbing gear.

Stay Ready for the Climbing Season With Freedom

Pennsylvania is not short on climbing destinations to explore and conquer, but when you’re short on space to store your climbing equipment, Freedom is here for you. Our storage units provide the perfect solution for keeping your ropes, harnesses, helmets, and other essential equipment secure and in top condition. Contact us today to rent or reserve a unit, learn more about our storage solutions, and stay prepared for the next climbing season with some help from Freedom.

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