Rock climbing tours and lessons in Ontario
The Niagara Escarpment of Southern Ontario provides the ultimate gateway to outdoor rock climbing with clean limestone walls and easy access. Central Ontario climbing hotspots in Haliburton, Muskoka and Eastern Ontario afford a tantalizing taste of the wild north with rugged granite faces and tall, windswept pine. And in Northern Ontario, you’ll discover uncharted routes and opportunities for guided tours and lessons in wilderness settings that allow even beginners to experience the ultimate in rock climbing adventure.
Easy access to great climbing has fostered a dedicated community of climbers in Southern Ontario. Some climbing companies include:
All of Zen Climb’s rock climbing courses for total beginners and aspiring climbers are held at Milton’s Rattlesnake Point.
Elora-based One Axe Pursuits climbing company provides beginner-friendly lessons and tours at several Southwestern Ontario crags.
On the Rocks Climbing specializes in lessons and tours at two locations: Rattlesnake Point, just outside of Toronto, as well as Metcalfe Rock near the shores of southern Georgian Bay in Thornbury.
Opportunities for rock climbing become more rustic in Ontario’s Cottage Country, where you’ll find a mix of conditions on limestone and Canadian Shield granite and a far more remote vibe. Sign up for a course or guided tour with one of these Central Ontario climbing companies:
Muskoka Mountainworks provides custom, guided climbing tours and instruction for beginners, intermediates and advanced climbers in Muskoka, Haliburton, the Bancroft area and Madawaska.
Liv Outside offers something different, fun and adventurous to do while you’re at the cottage. A 25-foot outdoor climbing wall overlooking the Muskoka River in Bracebridge is available for individuals and custom group bookings.
Yours Outdoors in Haliburton delivers a range of climbing courses, ranging from “try it” lessons for total beginners to instruction aimed specifically at experienced indoor gym climbers looking to take their passion outdoors.
Northern Ontario operates on a different scale for just about every type of outdoor adventure activity, including rock climbing. Find bigger climbs with more exposure and challenging approaches, as well as a greater variety of routes, fewer climbers and a serious and legitimate wilderness feel. Embrace the adventure with one of these experienced companies.
The Northwestern Ontario city of Kenora is known for its stunning surrounding lakes. The region is also cradled by some of the world’s oldest rock, with ancient outcroppings of Canadian Shield being just as prominent as the rivers and lakes. Green Adventures is your go-to source for climbing in Kenora. The company offers guided trips and lessons throughout the region, with trips to established climbing routes that are bolted and top-roped for safety. The Kenora Rock Climbs guidebook provides details for more than 400 climbs in eight locations around the area.
Based in Thunder Bay, Outdoor Skills and Thrills offers the type of rock climbing many don’t expect to find in Ontario, including ascents of a stunning volcanic spire known as the Dorion Tower for more advanced climbers. Lead instructor and founder Aric Fishman is certified by the Professional Climbing Guides Institute, and he leads full-day outings on Lake Superior’s north shore, including Orient Bay, Kama Bay, Red Rock and Nipigon, with year-round programs for all levels of climbers.
This Thunder Bay-based climbing gym maintains a variety of indoor routes for all levels of climbing, providing a great alternative to typical fitness gyms. Boulder Bear Climbing Centre offers birthday parties and group bookings, as well as instruction and rental equipment, with one-month, three-month and annual memberships. The company also offers Association of Canadian Mountain Guides-certified instruction to ease your transition from gym climbing to experiencing the thrill of natural rock, with scheduled four-hour lessons and custom programs east of Thunder Bay at Pass Lake and Silver Harbour.
Natural climbing walls in the rugged Algoma Highlands north of Sault Ste. Marie have earned mysterious names, including Sumerian Slabs and Alien Wall. This area was largely unknown to climbers until Shawn Parent’s Superior Exploration Adventure and Climbing Company pioneered routes up to 140 metres tall. Based in Batchawana Bay, Parent offers guided tours and instruction for all levels of rock climbers including advanced techniques like multi-pitch climbing, which are essential skills on bigger rock walls. Parent’s winter ice climbing lessons and tours enhance the adventure quotient with year-round wilderness climbing.
Sudbury’s ARC Climbing and Yoga is an indoor climbing space with dozens of challenging routes for all levels. Besides offering a great workout for locals and visitors, the ever-changing climbing walls are a great source of inspiration to take your climbing skills outdoors. It’s no surprise that Nickel City has no shortage of climbing opportunities and the Climb Sudbury website is your best guide to what’s available for all levels of climbers.
In between rock climbing and ice climbing seasons, check out the amazing variety of indoor rock climbing gyms in Ontario.
Last updated: December 14, 2022