The 5 Best Climbing Gyms in Denver (2023 Guide)
Colorado is one of two states in the American West that can claim to be the center of the rock climbing universe in the USA. The Centennial State and California boast thousands of developed crags within their mountainous environs. They also have long histories of famous (and infamous) climbers and their deeds. California has classic areas like Yosemite and Joshua Tree. Colorado counters with Eldorado Canyon and the Diamond on Longs Peak.
Accordingly, Colorado climbers were early adopters of indoor climbing as a method to train for climbing on the real thing. Colorado has one of the country’s highest concentrations of indoor climbing gyms.
In addition to providing artificial walls for climbing, it’s essentially a baseline requirement for any new climbing gym in Colorado to offer an extensive personal training area with free weights, strength training equipment, and cardio machines. Another mandatory component is a climbing training area with hangboards, Moon boards, campus rungs, and other equipment specifically designed for finger strength training and climbing power-endurance.
The popularity of Indoor Rock Climbing Gyms in the Denver Area
Residents of the Denver, Colorado, metro area are incredibly fortunate for indoor climbing gyms. There are currently at least a dozen full-service rock climbing facilities for the local climbing community to choose from. Also, many recreation and fitness centers have smaller climbing walls installed to meet the high demand and interest in the sport.
While many climbers choose their preferred gym based on location and convenience to work or home, sometimes it’s worth extra time and effort to travel to a location that better suits your personal training needs. Any indoor climbing gym can offer you a productive workout routine, but that doesn’t mean they’re all the same.
Keep reading to discover the top five climbing gyms in Denver, and find out if one of them is perfect for you!
Denver Bouldering Club – Best Denver Climbing Gym for Atmosphere and Community
As you might guess from the name, the Denver Bouldering Club is all bouldering, all the time. And when we say all the time, we literally mean 24-hour access, 7 days a week. That’s one of the unique membership options at the DBC for night owls and swing shift workers who want to chalk up after regular business hours.
Climbing boulder problems may be a solitary sport, but that doesn’t mean there’s no camaraderie amongst boulderers. On the contrary, climbing at any of the Denver Bouldering Club’s three locations always feels like you’re among a diverse group of supportive friends.
Denver Bouldering Club Highlights
The best climbing gyms make you want to return again and again, not because they set the best routes or have the tallest walls, but because the atmosphere is welcoming and encourages you to perform your best. The Denver Bouldering Club feels like such a sanctuary for several reasons.
First, the DBC has many programs that help members make stronger personal connections with other climbers and the larger climbing community. The club promotes inclusivity by hosting monthly Pride Night, Denver Asian Climb, Latino Outdoors, and Cruxing in Color meetups.
Other events that bring Denver Bouldering Club climbers together are seasonal bouldering leagues and classes. Interestingly, it also offers outings to help indoor climbers transition to bouldering outdoors. Last but not least, there’s DBC a youth team for young crushers on their way up.
The DBC holds one other annual event that unites local climbers for a more fulfilling purpose: the Heart & Soul Competition. It benefits the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and consistently attracts pro-level climbers who live in the area. The 2022 men’s winner was Olympian Colin Duffy, and other past winners include Alex Puccio, Carlo Traversi, Brooke Raboutou, and Natalia Grossman.
Terrain and Level of Difficulty
The Denver Bouldering Club has three locations with over 35,000 square feet of combined climbing area. Most boulder problems are set for intermediate to advanced climbers, but there are plenty of easier slab problems and jug hauls for beginners to start practicing their new craft. With regular, scheduled resets on all of their walls, you’ll always find a fresh challenge, whatever your level.
The DBC has walls up to 15 feet tall, with a majority of problems on overhanging terrain from horizontal to near vertical. Over 80 problems with regular updates at the South location and over 120 problems at both the Central and North locations.
- Day Pass – $20
- Youth – $13
- 7-Visit Punch Pass – $124
- Annual Membership (Individual) – $719
Movement Englewood – Best Denver Climbing Gym for a Variety of Climbing and Workout Options
Movement Climbing, Yoga, and Fitness is the behemoth of climbing gym operators in Denver. Starting with its original location in Boulder, Movement recently absorbed the former Earth Treks climbing gyms. It now runs five separate, full-service facilities on Colorado’s Front Range.
The Englewood facility, just south of Denver, was billed before its opening as the largest climbing gym in North America at approximately 53,000 square feet. The expansive indoor space has more sport climbing routes and boulder problems than any other rock climbing gym. Not only that, it still has room to encompass large areas dedicated to weight lifting and cardio machines, fitness, and yoga.
Movement Englewood Highlights
Members receive access to all Movement’s Denver-area gyms: Englewood, RINO (Denver), Golden, Baker (Denver), and Boulder. Members also get free and discounted yoga, fitness, and climbing classes.
Whatever you can think of that might be necessary to you in an indoor climbing gym, Movement Englewood probably has it. More climbing space, more workout space, more training, and instruction space.
Fortunately, that space feels more like a giant indoor amusement park rather than a warehouse or industrial environment. And employees still treat guests like old climbing pals, which you might not expect given the parent company’s size and corporate dominance.
If you’re a beginner, Movement has you covered with introductory classes in rope climbing and bouldering offered daily. More experienced climbers can sign up for courses that cover lead climbing techniques, self-rescue, and other topics.
In contrast to some of the region’s other gyms, Movement does not offer any autobelay stations. You’ll need a belayer to sport climb at any of their Colorado gyms.
Yoga at Movement is not just a part of the corporate name. Movement Englewood offers members 1-5 free classes daily, with various styles from Hatha to Vinyasa to Gentle and more.
Terrain and Level of Difficulty
Movement Englewood contains five distinct top rope and lead climbing walls ranging from 30 – 60 feet tall, with over 170 routes. About 40% of the climbing area is devoted to an extensive bouldering area that includes over 270 problems with 16-foot top outs and roofs galore. In other words, you’ll find plentiful climbing routes and bouldering problems to satisfy anyone, from beginner to elite.
- Day Pass – $26
- Youth – $17
- 7-Visit Punch Pass – $161
- Annual Membership (Individual) – $999
Rock’n & Jam’n 1 – Best Denver Climbing Gym for the Rock Climbing Purist
Rock’n & Jam’n is a small chain with two locations, one in the north metro area and one in the south. Rock’n Jam’n #1 opened in 1997 as the premier rock gym in Colorado with an imposingly overhanging wall for climbing lead that offered the tallest indoor sport leads and the stiffest grades.
This gym’s Thornton location is convenient to climbers from central Denver to the north suburbs who prioritize rock climbing as the foundation of their fitness. Like most modern climbing gyms, Rock’n & Jam’n #1 has areas dedicated to other exercise disciplines
Rock’n & Jam’n Highlights
The central attraction at Rock’n & Jam’n #1 is the incredibly overhung lead climbing wall. Many newer rock gyms have steep sections where top roping isn’t allowed due to safety concerns (that is, dangerous swing potential). However, even considering its age, the lead wall here is extreme. You need to watch your head when walking through this area as lead climbers drop from the ceiling like spiders 35 feet out from the base of the wall.
Aside from the lead climbing area, two other main “canyons” offer slabs, less extreme overhangs, and cruxy horizontal roofs to surmount. If you’re accustomed to climbing at gyms with shorter walls, you may find fatigue setting in as you approach the top of Rock’n & Jam’n’s lengthy routes.
Because a significant amount of gym space is set aside for lead climbing, climbers who exclusively top rope have somewhat limited options, especially at the easiest grades. Fortunately, the staff resets routes with regular frequency, so nobody gets bored repeating the same routes.
Gym climbers who prioritize bouldering and cross-training opportunities will also find R’n & J’n allots less space to those activities than many gyms. The boulder cave has enough fun terrain and quality problems for a fulfilling session. However, hardcore boulderers may not find enough to keep them occupied for multiple weekly visits.
Terrain and Level of Difficulty
For advanced climbers, Rock’n & Jam’n #1 has a stellar lead climbing wall up to 40 feet tall with a 35+-foot overhang and two additional areas of lead and top-rope climbing for climbers at all levels. Several auto-belay devices are available for solo climbers. Bouldering on 15-foot walls and a large horizontal-roofed cave.
- Day Pass – $20
- Offprime / Youth – $17
- 10-Visit Punch Pass – $176
- Annual Membership (Individual) – $702
Movement RINO – Best Denver Climbing Gym for Taking a Break from the Hustle
As a change of pace from their other locations, Movement Climbing, Yoga, and Fitness opened a bouldering-only gym in Denver’s hip RiNo (River North) district in 2018. Located in a renovated industrial building, the interior feels bright and airy, with lots of open space between the climbing walls and free-standing boulders that dot the central floor area.
One unique benefit of visiting Movement’s downtown locale is co-tenant Improper City. This multi-faceted venue has a taproom, coffee bar, and courtyard with regularly scheduled food trucks in attendance. Climbers need to stroll next door to enjoy a post-workout beer and high-quality eats inside or out on Improper City’s spacious courtyard patio.
Right next to downtown, Movement RINO has the most urban vibe of any Denver rock gym. The clientele leans toward tech and business professionals seeking respite from their steel-and-glass cages.
Movement RINO Highlights
Sometimes rock climbing gyms developed inside older commercial buildings are dark and cramped. Luckily, you’ll never experience that feeling inside Movement. While the shell looks fairly nondescript on the outside—a low brick building with a handful of windows—once inside, the natural light and vast airspace make for a cheery environment.
One luxury allowed by the ample floor plan at RINO is a large area devoted to competition-style boulder problems. It will delight those who enjoy the big volumes and dynamic movements typical of modern comp route setting. Since this style of problem often consumes significantly more wall and floor space than a conventional route, even the best climbing gyms have trouble finding space for this type of route setting.
The rest of the interior comes with more conventional problems on the walls and several colorful boulders that pop up from the floor and promote the sense that you’ve entered an adult playground.
Movement’s pro route setters do a fantastic job of creating a massive variety of problems that accommodate different styles, body types, and skill levels. The staff welcomes beginners and provides free tours and intro to climbing classes for newcomers. They also have a full slate of classes and private coaching services for those who want to level up.
Terrain and Level of Difficulty
If you’re looking for ropes, you won’t find them at this Movement gym. Boulders only, with at least 180 regularly maintained problems from easy to impossible. Over 15,000 square feet of climbing area with walls and free-standing boulder features up to 15′ tall. Movement RINO contains a spacious area set aside for problems set in competition style.
- Day Pass – $24
- Youth – $17
- 7-Visit Punch Pass – $149
- Annual Membership (Individual) – $935
Übergrippen Indoor Climbing Crag – Best Denver Climbing Gym for Youth & Families
A relatively recent addition to the Denver indoor climbing scene, Übergrippen opened in 2017 in the northeast metro’s Central Park neighborhood. The company recently expanded to two locations with a new facility in Castle Rock, south of Denver.
The Denver gym’s building was built from the ground up for climbing and has massive windows to let in the sunshine. It sets it apart from some older facilities and gyms built in industrial parks. A lawn adjoining the building has outdoor bouldering and picnic areas.
Besides the comprehensive set of organized activities for kids and teens, there are many opportunities for adults of any age to learn and progress in their climbing journeys.
Übergrippen Indoor Climbing Crag Highlights
The gym accommodates families and young climbers from age 3 with several programs, classes, and discounts. While there’s no lack of challenging routes and problems for the elite climber at Übergrippen, the owners emphasize offering a full slate of programming to suit visitors from noobs to pros.
The Family Pack pass is a good deal for two adults and children who want to try rock climbing, with significant savings on gear rental packages. Kids under 5 receive free admission.
For older kids, the Crag Akademie teaches youth ages 6-13 the basics of climbing and prepares them for recreational and competition climbing. It’s also a precursor to joining one of two competitive youth teams. There are three recreation-oriented climbing clubs for kids 6-14 and a high school training club. Finally, a series of summer camps, training camps, and school year camps round out the youth program offerings.
A large section of Übergrippen’s floorplan is dedicated to The Alcove, a special children’s area with 30′ walls and autobelays that hosts birthday parties and other kid-friendly activities. Special features include a junior speed wall and a giant boulder slide.
Adults who want to boost their skills and meet potential partners can join a climbing league or sign up for a class at the Übergrippen School of Rock. Start with a Learn to Belay course (free for members), and you’re on your way!
Terrain and Level of Difficulty
Übergrippen offers over 100 roped climbing routes on 30′ – 43′ walls, graded 5.6 (easy) through 5.13 (hard). It also has 15 autobelay stations.
The bouldering section of the gym has 3,000 square feet of wall area and problems up to 16′ tall, with various difficulties from complete beginner to elite.
- Day Pass – $25
- Youth – $22
- 10-Visit Punch Pass – $205
- Annual Membership (Individual) – $990
Final Thoughts on Denver’s 5 Best Climbing Gyms
With so many options available, Denver-area climbers have the luxury of picking and choosing from many indoor rock climbing gyms to find the perfect match. From absolute beginners to more advanced climbers, one of the gyms on our list is sure to motivate you to get strong and send your latest project!