On your next hike or outdoor excursion, don’t forget to look up—or down. Cliffs great and small can lead to peril, but they also offer great beauty for any onlooker. Whether you are on the hunt for coastal bluffs, dramatic red rock canyon views, or high alpine steeps, cliffs are often legendary, scenic, and located in some of the most epic outdoor destinations.
"Cliff" is a somewhat ambiguous term, since it can describe anything from your favorite cliff jump at the local swimming hole to the jaw-dropping rock faces of Yosemite. In either case, cliffs make for great locations for a variety of outdoor sports in addition to sightseeing.
These vertical and exposed faces are usually formed by water, erosion, or some combination of the two. Glacial movements, rushing rivers, and the continuous pounding of the ocean’s waves are all likely causes of cliff formation. They provide fascinating insights into the geological history of the area, exposing rock, layers of sediment, and steep angles that drive adrenaline junkies crazy.
Cliffs are a great reminder to always check in with your surroundings and be aware of your footing on any outdoor excursion. Also proceed with caution if you are scrambling in loose scree below a cliff, especially if climbers or other triggers on the cliff can cause loose rocks or debris to fall on you.
Whether you are hiking around them, climbing up them, or jumping (safely) from them, cliffs are incredible landscape features that are awe-inspiring as well as fun to play on. Here are a few of our favorites:
We believe good things come from people spending time outside. We strive to provide inspiration and supporting information on incredible adventures to make it easy for you to get outdoors and explore new places. We understand that life is busy, but we strongly encourage you to make time for outdoor recreation on a weekly, if not daily, basis. To keep you inspired all year, we've put together a list of 52 geologic features and adventure themes. Check them out and join us in our #52AdventureChallenge!