Nestled on a plateau of the Ozark Mountains, Bentonville, Arkansas, is known for its exceptional mountain biking trails. However, another sport thrives in the Ozarks: rock climbing! Northwest Arkansas serves as a central hub for climbers eager to pursue their passion, whether they prefer climbing with ropes or bouldering with a crash pad. You can find indoor facilities at Climb Bentonville or outdoor climbing spots at various crags. With routes ranging from 5.4 to 5.14, there are opportunities suited for climbers of all skill levels right here in the Heartland.


Rock Climbing - Chalk

What is rock climbing?

Rock climbing involves scaling natural rock formations or artificial climbing walls using hands and feet, often secured with ropes and specialized equipment, as a challenging recreational or competitive activity. There are many ways to climb, but we will focus this blog on two styles of climbing: Bouldering and Sport Climbing.


Bouldering is a form of rock climbing where climbers ascend shorter rock formations or artificial boulders without ropes. Typically outdoors, you will see crash pads for the climber's protection.


Sport Climbing is the act of scaling taller cliffs on predetermined routes using equipment including harnesses, ropes, helmets, and quickdraws, kept safe with a belayer. In this style of climbing, you will see fixed anchors glued or bolted into the rock formation as well as bolts along the route, which a climber will clip into with their quickdraws to progress upwards safely. 


Type of Rock

If you haven’t touched Southern Sandstone yet, you’re in for a treat. Unlike other sandstone crags throughout the country, the rock in our region is absolutely bomber due to its high iron content. It offers excellent grip with its rough texture and sturdy holds, boasting unique features such as plentiful chicken heads, large flakes, and massive plates reminiscent of those found in the Red River Gorge. Arkansas stands out as a top-tier climbing destination thanks to these exceptional characteristics.

Top 5 Climbing Crags Within 2 Hours of Bentonville

Rock Climbing

Bentonville is an ideal destination for climbers visiting from other areas. Our airport, XNA, provides direct flights from 20 destinations, and that list is continually expanding! While you're in town, you can make the most of our excellent hotels or vacation rentals, explore nature on our extensive trail systems, and indulge in the finest dining experiences Northwest Arkansas has to offer. When you're ready to hit the rocks, head to any crags below for a fantastic day of climbing in Arkansas!

Disclaimer: Climbing is inherently a risky sport. Climb at your own risk and make responsible decisions for your own safety.

8th St. Boulder 2 8th St. Boulder 1

Bentonville Boulder at 8th Street Market

Distance from the Square: 5 Mins

803 SE 8th St, Bentonville, AR 72712


The Boulder at 8th Street Market may be artificial rock; however, it offers some unique climbing. From easy climbing on artificial holds for the whole family to more challenging climbs on realistic textured surfaces, including hard overhangs, fist jam-worthy cracks, and good ole jug hauls. The best part is that Bentonville Radio bumps some awesome tunes from the larger-than-life boombox a few feet away. Once you’re done climbing, enjoy a beverage at Bike Rack Brewing Co. or a snack from one of the many food trucks!

Fitzgerald Mountain Rock Climbing Fitzgerald Mountain Rock Climbing

Fitzgerald Mountain

Distance from the Square: 20 Mins

GPS: 36.02499, -94.10653


Fitzgerald has historically been a climbing spot for our local enthusiasts, but in the Fall of 2023, the Arkansas Climbing Coalition, working with The Access Fund and Trailblazers, dedicated efforts to bolt and develop the area into the fantastic sport crag it is now! Fitzgerald South boasts over 60 sport climbs, ranging from accessible 5.6 routes to challenging overhangs and perma-drawed 5.11c climbs. Moreover, its west-facing orientation makes it a pleasant spot for climbing, even during the heat of summer!

Make sure to sign the waiver before climbing here: Trailblazer Climbing Waiver.

Lincoln Lake Rock Climbing


Lake Lincoln

Distance from the Square: 45 Mins

GPS: 35.9983, -94.427


Known for its easy approach to roped climbing and plentiful bouldering, Lake Lincoln is a rock climbers paradise. With over 200 climbs, you’ll be sure to find a worthwhile project at the lake! For the boulderers, head to Mountain Project, as some approaches can be challenging if you’ve never been. Fortunately, the climbing community has posted some great directions there! Please respect our local waterways and pack out any trash you bring in.

Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Rock Climbing

Horseshoe Canyon Ranch

Distance from the Square: 1 Hr 45 Mins

GPS: 36.0118, -93.2922


Known as the best, well-rounded graded climbing area in Arkansas, Horseshoe Canyon Ranch is a destination for climbers from around the world. With more than 700 climbs available, you could spend years exploring the canyon and still not conquer them all. Situated on private land, visitors should stop at the Trading Post upon arrival to sign their waiver and settle fees for climbing and camping, especially if planning an extended stay. If you’re looking to give your hands a rest, head over to the nearby Buffalo River for a paddle or a dip in the amazing waters of the Ozark Mountains.

Sam's Throne Rock Climbing

Sam’s Throne

Distance from the Square: 2 Hrs

GPS: 35.87509, -93.04751


Sam’s Throne has been a beloved fixture in the Arkansas climbing scene since the 1970s, boasting numerous classic routes. This area offers free primitive camping, convenient access to the top of the bluffs, and an authentic Ozark wilderness experience. While there's an abundance of traditional climbing routes, you'll also discover hidden gems among the sport routes, particularly at the popular Candy Mountain wall and amidst the large boulders scattered around. Enjoy breathtaking views of the valley below as you crush your climbing projects!


Other Great Climbing Areas to Check Out



Rock Climbing Lincoln Lake

No matter where your climbing adventures take you, you'll discover a welcoming climbing community. We can’t wait to celebrate your sends when you Visit Bentonville!