Maine Rock Climbing Adventures
From Maine’s craggy coast to its rugged mountains, the state provides a variety of opportunities for rock climbers. If you’re still practicing your skills, check out an indoor climbing wall for easier, supervised climbs. Alternatively, several outfitters offer rock climbing classes to bring your skills up to par. In no time, you will be scaling the rocky cliffs of Maine’s coastline with the sea waves crashing beneath you.
Outdoor Climbing Opportunities
Acadia National Park
Located in the Downeast and Acadia region of Maine, Acadia National Park is world-famous for its rugged coastline, sea kayaking, and excellent bird watching. The park also offers climbing opportunities not found elsewhere in the United States. Otter Cliff and Great Head are two popular sea cliff climbing locations featuring coarse-grained pink granite cliffs. Otter Cliff offers 60 foot sea cliffs, crack and face climbing, and fixed anchors at the top to belay climbs. Great Head offers rappel access but can be dangerous at high tide or during uncertain weather conditions. Cliffs climbers must pay a park entrance fee and register at the ranger’s station. Call 207-288-3338 for more information about the park.
Camden Hills State Park
Camden Hills State Park is located in the Midcoast region of Maine, near the town of Camden. The large park offers miles of hiking trails and dozens of campsites in addition to high-quality climbing opportunities. Although most of the climbs at the park are relatively short, it offers seclusion from more touristy climb areas. Barrett’s Cove is a popular climb, with a 250-foot high cliff overlooking Lake Megunticook. Climbers must pay the park entrance fee of $2; call 207-236-3109 for more information.
Clifton, Maine is located just east of Bangor. This area features excellent crags that attract beginners as well as more seasoned climbers. There are nearly a dozen crags with a variety of routes, most of which are relatively short. The rock face is solid granite with feldspar and quartz crystals for face climbing. The Clifton area is less busy than many other climbing areas in Maine, giving you the opportunity to practice your rock climbing skills in relatively solitude. Several outfitters in the area offer guided climbs for individuals or families.
Baxter State Park
Baxter State Park, located in the Maine Highlands region, is home to the largest mountain in Maine — Mt. Katahdin. At over 5,000 feet, this mountain offers spectacular opportunities for people who enjoy alpine climbing. Mt. Katahdin is the northern end-point of the Appalachian Trail; as a result, it sees thousands of visitors each year. Most of the climbs are accessible from Chimney Pond, where a park ranger will check your gear and ensure that you have the required helmet. The rock is weathered alpine granite with numerous cracks and holds. Always prepare for your climb by bringing a flashlight or headlamp as well as foul-weather gear. Storms can come up quickly in this alpine environment, so be prepared to abort your climb early if necessary. Call Baxter State Park at 207-723-5140 for more information.
Indoor Climbing Opportunities
Maine Rock Gym
The Maine Rock Gym, located in Portland, is an excellent place for beginners to learn how to climb or for veteran climbers to practice their skills. The facility features over 5,000 square feet of rock-like climbing surfaces with thousands of holds. Some routes are easy and suitable for younger children, while other challenging routes are more appropriate for experienced climbers. An introductory package, complete with basic instruction and equipment, is $28. If you wish to become a member of the Maine Rock Gym, a one-year membership costs $450 for adults and $120 for students. Call 207-780-6370 for more information about availability and rates.
The Maine Bound facility at the University of Maine in Orono features indoor climbing opportunities at affordable prices. The indoor climbing center offers a 32-foot climbing tower as well as a boulder wall over 150 square feet in size. A two-hour workshop teaching basic climbing skills costs just $5 for members and $10 for non-members. University of Maine students climb free, while a non-member’s day pass costs $7. All climbers must complete a liability form, and parental permission is required for anyone under 18 years of age. Call 207-581-1794 for more information about the climbing wall.
Outfitters and Guides
If you have little experience with outdoor climbing, hiring a Registered Maine Guide or booking a guided tour through an outfitter is a wise choice. The Acadia Mountain Guides offer private or semi-private lessons starting at $45 for a half-day of instruction. Guided climbs are more expensive, starting at $140 per person. Visit the Acadia Mountain Guides website for more information. The Atlantic Climbing School, located in Bar Harbor, also offers guided climbing experiences in Acadia National Park and Camden Hills State Park. Half-day lessons begin at $60. Call 207-288-2521 to inquire about rates and reservations.