What started as a means to train for traditional rock climbing became its own way to exercise and a passion for many modern climbers. In bouldering, climbers scale short cliffs and boulders without ropes. It’s climbing stripped down to the essentials. Texas offers several great places to do it.
ENCHANTED ROCK STATE NATURAL AREA
While this pink granite dome north of Fredericksburg is popular for its traditional climbing, it also has many bouldering spots surrounding the Main Dome and other formations, especially Little Dome. The park has a wide variety of high-quality granite routes, including face climbs and cracks, in a scenic Hill Country setting.
REIMERS RANCH park
The limestone cliffs and canyons at this county park along the Pedernales River draw climbers from around the state. Most climbers come for the high-quality roped routes on the river-facing cliffs, but pocket-filled limestone boulders can be found scattered throughout the park and provide a nice change of pace. A dip in the river offers a cool way to end the day.
HUECO TANKS STATE PARK & HISTORIC SITE (pictured)
Hueco Tanks is recognized as one of the best bouldering destinations in the world, and you’ll run into climbers from all over the planet during the park’s busy winter season. It’s the birthplace of modern bouldering, and some of climbing’s all-time classic bouldering routes, or “problems,” were established here. In February, there’s the Hueco Rock Rodeo, the premier outdoor bouldering competition in the country. Note: Hueco Tanks is a sacred site for Native Americans. TPWD has worked to protect many of the park’s pictographs. Please follow all park rules.
PACE BEND PARK
West of Austin, this lakeside park is a popular site for deep-water soloing, or water bouldering. Climbers float in the water, climb a cliff right out of the water, then fall or jump back into the lake. It’s a great spot for cool summer climbing. The best places to climb at Pace Bend, a county park, depend on the changing water levels of Lake Travis.
EISENHOWER STATE PARK
Dallas-area climbers have been busy establishing bouldering routes on rocks along the lake shore of this state park near the Oklahoma border. The rocks are a mix of sandstone and limestone and provide a variety of challenges. The rock quality is inconsistent, so extra care must be taken while bouldering.
Sonja Sommerfeld | TPWD