Everything You Need to Know About Bouldering in North Carolina

If you are reading this blog, chances are you already love climbing and are committed to the sport. You may be a beginner or a long-time addict, but you certainly know the routine of leaving town every weekend to get on the rock and live out your passion. Bouldering in North Carolina is some of the best in the southeast, and the Rumbling Bald climbing area in Chimney Rock is a top destination you don’t want to miss. Enjoy a beautiful day out on the boulders, discover a wide variety of problems, and meet great people in a stunning setting. We will tell you all you need to know about bouldering in North Carolina, and once we do, you will want to get in your car and drive here immediately! 

If you love bouldering in North Carolina, you will enjoy all the other outdoor activities Chimney Rock has to offer. Download our free Vacation Guide and get our top recommendations for scenic drives, secret hiking trails, delicious restaurants, fun events, and more!

Discover the Best Spot for Bouldering in North Carolina

How to Experience Bouldering at “the Bald”

Rumbling Bald in Chimney Rock is a hidden gem when it comes to bouldering in North Carolina. It is considered a world-class terrain and counts more than 1,500 problems. Before you head out, make sure you pack the right items: several layers of clothing (flannels and puff jackets are a must), crashpads, chalk bags, and a good pair of climbing shoes. Don’t forget to bring a water bottle and a few protein bars! You’ll want to stay there as long as possible without letting hunger stop you.

You might have difficulty finding parking up on the mountain. Parking spots are rare, and the park rangers won’t hesitate to give you expensive tickets. We recommend you drop your equipment off with some of your teammates and park at the base of the mountain, near the church. Then, walk back up or ask a fellow climber to give you a ride!

Once you are all set, you will need to hike a 1.5-mile loop to get to the boulders. The Trailside Boulder is a good place to warm up. It has some great V0 and V1 problems to wake up your muscles, as well as V3 and V4 problems such as Dime Crack. (We recommend picking up a guidebook, as it will make your navigation around the boulders easier.) Or, challenge yourself and move on to more difficult problems. Moby Dick (V4) is a well-beloved one, as is the French Maid (V7). The Devil’s Boulder features a spectacular V6 that makes for an impressive picture! If you want to test gravity and get a core workout, try Kung Fu Grip (V5). It’s located on the Cave Boulder which offers a variety of problems.

The climbing in Rumbling Bald is so fine that it will take more than one day to discover it all! Save some problems for the next day when your arms are less pumped out and head downtown for a burger or a grilled cheese at the Riverwatch Bar and Grill.

Bouldering When It Rains

Even though we recommend you check the weather before planning a trip, there’s always a chance it might rain during your weekend. Don’t panic! You can still have fun. The best way to make the most out of a rainy weekend in Chimney Rock is to climb indoors. The Climbmax Climbing Gym in Asheville is the closest place to do so. It’s only 40 minutes away from the Esmeralda Inn and is a great place to work on your moves. Plus, the gym has a lot of problems and a great variety of levels; you can spend several hours here!

Want to go for a hike instead? The loop trail leading to the Bald is still beautiful in the rain. This is also a great time to get to know the boulders for a future climb. Discover stunning caves and cliffs and enjoy the early morning light during your invigorating walk.

Chimney Rock State Park also  features several hiking trails, each as stunning as the next. Hickory Nut Falls Trail takes you to the bottom of a 404-foot waterfall that was used in a few scenes of The Last Mohicans. The Skyline Trail appeals to explorers and adventurers. Climb along sheer cliffs for a magnificent view of Lake Lure.

Experience the Climbing Weekend of Your Dreams at the Esmeralda Inn

Participate in the NC State Parks Passport program this year!We know how complicated it can be to organize a climbing trip with several people. That’s why we provide top-notch rooms and cabins at the Esmeralda Inn! Our stunning accommodations are the perfect place to relax and enjoy the serenity of the mountains.

Book our Chimney Rock River Cabin for your climbing crew and enjoy the ultimate Rumbling Bald experience with all the comforts of home. Take a hot bath in your private bathroom, then sit by the fireplace with a bottle of wine and unwind! Retire to one of three bedrooms and fall asleep to the sound of the Rocky Broad River. Wake up the next morning to birds chirping in the surrounding forest, make yourself a hot cup of coffee, and head over to the main lodge for a delicious breakfast. We have everything you need to power through another great day of bouldering in North Carolina!

Book your stay today at the Esmeralda Inn and have a wonderful time bouldering with your friends!