5 Great Places To Boulder This Fall

Bouldering in the fall can be an incredibly memorable activity. Naturally the actual climbing is always fun and often challenging. But doing it in the fall, you escape the punishing heat of summer and usually enjoy the best possible surrounding scenery. Keeping that in mind, we’re taking a stab at listing some of the world’s best places to boulder this fall season, and a few other things you might enjoy at each one.

1. Fontainebleau, France

Fontainebleau has the dual advantage of being a developed climbing area, and yet feeling like a very natural getaway. It’s a fairly dense forest covered in pretty colors and fallen leaves during the fall, and it’s been a popular bouldering destination for over a century. That means there are guided paths passing by sandstone boulders that are all over the forest, making for a lengthy and enjoyable sort of trek through the area.

Fontainebleau also happens to be one of the better bouldering destinations in the world specifically because of where it’s located. It’s only about 65km south of Paris on the main roads, which means you have a terrific option as far as somewhere to stay and keep yourself entertained. As it happens, in addition to being one of the most popular cities in the world, Paris is full of unmissable things to do during the fall.

2. Squamish, British Columbia, Canada

Despite its somewhat silly name, Squamish is one of the more popular bouldering destinations in the world. And British Columbia in the fall is considered to be one of the most beautiful places in North America. While you won’t exactly be bouldering on The Chief – a massive granite mountain that can be hiked there are boulders littered across more than 1,000 paths through the  town and surrounding province.

This is frankly a good destination for a full-fledged nature experience without any additional attractions. But it’s also only about an hour’s drive from Vancouver, a beautiful city known for views, a laid back culture, and thriving breweries and restaurants.

3. HP40, Alabama, United States

This is probably the most unexpected destination on the list, but it definitely belongs. HP40, or Horse Pens 40, is a famous park near the southern end of the Appalachian Mountains, and about an hour outside of Birmingham, Alabama. Sandstone rock formations make for excellent bouldering at several specific locations in the area, and the Appalachian area is incredibly beautiful while the leaves are changing during the fall. Alabama, meanwhile, may not seem like the most exciting place to spend some time.

But if you’re going for fall bouldering, you’ll also be there at the height of football season. The University of Alabama’s football team has made the national championship in the United States two years in a row, and is arguably the strongest overall side in the mix once more. If you work in a few good days of bouldering, you should head to Tuscaloosa for a game – it’s said to be one of the best sports viewing experiences in the country.

4. Joshua Tree, California, United States

Joshua Tree doesn’t always make lists like these. It’s a national park named for a certain kind of tree that grows there and situated in the Mojave Desert. And while it’s a very popular stop for tourists, it’s more closely associated with sightseeing, hiking, and camping. Nevertheless, for a more casual bouldering experience you’ll enjoy the quartz monzonite boulders that have broken off of the hills and small cliffs throughout the park.

Meanwhile, you can just about take your pick as far as what else to do while traveling to the area. Joshua Tree is roughly equidistant from Los Angeles, California, Las Vegas, Nevada, San Diego, California, and Phoenix, Arizona, all of which have a lot to offer. Hanging out for a few days in San Diego might be a particularly good option; it’s a city famous for great weather, and the fall season might be best of all.

5. Ticino, Switzerland

Ticino is a renowned bouldering destination that’s sometimes referred to as one of the best in the world, regardless of season. It’s best for moderate-to-expert climbers, and can be a little bit cold already in the fall. But it’s still worth the trip. The forest is typically beautiful throughout the season, and even if you go when it’s particularly cold, it doesn’t tend to snow much in the region. Ticino provides gneiss and granite boulders.

As for a broader vacation, the actual area of Ticino is beautiful enough that you might simply want to relax there. However, it’s also very close to the Italian border (and specifically Milan) if you’d like to explore another country. And Ticino also brushes up against Lake Como, one of the most famous natural landmarks of Italy (you know, where George Clooney famously maintains a villa).