Rock climbing with children, especially toddlers, requires special attention. With the birth of our daughter, I now explore crags with a new eye. The criteria I have for the list on this site is a combination of flat base that is safe for a child to play and easy approach.
To make sure a crag meets my criteria, I often hike or run to the crag before bringing my daughter. Some of these locations do require that I carry my daughter for some of the way, but she’s excited to walk. Both my wife and I encourage Claire to walk as much as possible. One thing we have done is avoided the stroller whenever possible from a young age.
This isn’t a complete list of climbing areas that are child friend. The two biggest factors I consider when looking a climbing area that I consider safe and child friendly are approach and base. I also like to include areas that have something to keep our daughter entertained and some easy climbing routes for her to play on.
In some case, I included multi-pitch crags that are child friendly because the first pitches can be climbed without completing the upper pitches. In these cases, it’s even more important to be aware of what other climbers are doing while your child is at the cliff. As parents, Ernita and I love taking our daughter climbing, but we also know, that like taking our dog to the crags, not everyone appreciates children at the cliffs.
Child Friend Rock Climbing Arizona
Paradise Forks- requires three people since this is a rappel access area. Claire enjoys the area, but not perfect for a climbing family.
The Pit- Flagstaff’s local climbing area. Requires some scouting, but child friendly if you plan ahead
Child Friend Rock Climbing California
- Donner Summit
- 90 Foot Wall
- Phantom Spires
- Sunnyside Slabs
- Swan Slabs
- Manure Pile Buttress (AKA Ranger Rock)
- Church Bowl
- I would say that 80% of Joshua Tree qualifies as child Friendly climbing.
Sonoma Coast California
- Sunset Boulder- Sonoma Coast (had to include this since it was my first climbing experience.
- Stinson Beach
- Malibu Creek State Park
- Stoney Point
- Point Dune
Child Friend Rock Climbing Colorado
Riffle- Sport climbing paradise with easy approaches and flat bases
Boulder Canyon- Numerous crags with child friendly bases
Clear Creek Canyon- I personally prefer Clear Creek to Boulder Canyon
Child Friend Rock Climbing Illinois
Jackson Falls- If you use the walk in access instead of the rappel access, Jackson Falls is 100% child friendly.
Drapers Bluff- 100% Child Friendly crag with great trad and sport routes.
Fern Cliff State Park- This top-rope climbing area is 100% child friendly with one of the easiest approaches on the list.
Hunters Bluff- This is a great place for kids. Some of the boulders at the base make great toddler friendly top-ropes. (10 to 20 feet) For mom and dad, great bouldering and routes from 5.7 to 5.13. (Sport and Trad)
Child Friend Rock Climbing Kentucky
Red River Gorge
- My information for this area is out of date, but numerous crags lend themselves to being child friendly.
Child Friend Rock Climbing Nevada
- Black Corridor
- Early Morning Wall
- (Ragged Edge)
- Calico Boulder
- First Corridor (Sand Stone Quarry)
Child Friend Rock Climbing New Hampshire
- The North End- excellent routes that have a very child friendly base.
- The Barber Wall- child friendly, but because of its location, children need to be closely supervised. A good place if you have three adults to share supervisory responsibility.
White Horse Ledge
- The whole cliff is child friendly. Some of the slabs on the right side could also make for some fun unintimidating multi-pitch routes.
- Nice sport climbing with several sub crags that offer child friendly bases.
Child Friend Rock Climbing New York
- Walk the base in any direction and decide which sections meet you and your family’s needs. I estimate that 60%+ of the cliff is child friendly. Do keep in mind, unlike sport climbing areas, most routes top-out and lend themselves to falling rocks.
Child Friend Rock Climbing North Carolina
- Cereal Wall- easy approach and some great single pitch crack routes that have a very child friendly base.
Child Friend Rock Climbing Tennessee
King’s Bluff- Clarksville’s local crag that is relatively child friend. You’ll have to scout ahead and decide which sections of the cliff you’re comfortable with. (Trail at the base is often narrow)
Foster Falls- Not only is this a very child friendly area, but it offers a great swimming hole too.
Lost Wall- Child friendly wall with nice easy and moderate routes. This wall doesn’t see the traffic of other areas, but definitely deserves a visit or two.
Rock Town- bouldering is everywhere, some great top-roping too. Many of the formation look like giant mushrooms. Great place for kids to play, hang-out or climb.
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