The Via Ferrata, a new and exciting challenge is here, it is a mixture of alpine hiking and rock climbing. The Via Ferrata is a pretty new sport to the United States, but there are courses for explorers of all levels all over the US.
Intro to Via Ferrata
For those of you that aren’t too familiar with a via ferrata, it first was used during World War I in the Dolomites to help soldiers’ traverse across the rough mountain terrain. The routes were equipped with cables, rungs, ladders, and bridges. As the climber, you are always attached to the safety cables with a special clip-in system.
No matter where you are in the US, there is sure to be a Via Ferrata ourse not to far from you. These are the top courses in different regions, but this does not include all of the via ferrata courses across the US. If you do not see a course near you, I am sure you will be able to find one!
The North West:
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
So, let’s start with the first one on U.S. forest service land the Jackson Hole Via Ferrata. Jackson Hole is becoming a premier destination for adrenaline junkies.
The Jackson Hole Via Ferrata opened in 2016, with eight routes and a 120 ft suspension bridge, that allows inexperienced adventurers to get a taste of what the Teton Mountain range offers for climbing.
The South West:
Another awesome via ferrata in the Rocky Mountain regions is the Telluride Via Ferrata, which was one of the first in Colorado. Chuck Kroger started building the Via Ferrata more than a decade ago. He often worked alone and sometimes at night as well to install his masterpieces in the darkness. It was kept a secret for a while and the locals called it the Krogerata after the creator that passed away in the 2007.
This Via Ferrata is unlike most others as it traverses horizontally instead of the typical vertical trek. The trail is about 2 miles long and is rated a grade IV. You have stellar views of the Bridal Veil Falls and Box Canyon and breathtaking views of the city of Telluride.
Buena Vista, Colorado
Another new addition in Colorado is the Via Ferrata in Buena Vista. The newest addition to Via Ferratas is the Granite Via Ferrata. It has an awesome mixture of ladders, cables, rungs, and bridges.
You will enjoy great views of the Collegiate Peaks, The Arkansas River and Long Horn Sheep. This course is over 500 feet off the ground, this tour is guided for adventurers with cliff traversing, rappelling and ziplining.
The West Coast:
Squaw Valley, California
In Squaw Valley, CA they built the newest via ferrata in the western area. They have 2 via ferrata routes. The routes will allow those without climbing experience the opportunity to safely scale the iconic rock face.
The North East:
Nelson Rocks, West Virginia
The second Via Ferrata to open in the United States is Nelson Rocks in West Virginia. You gain over 1000 ft in elevation, there is suspension bridge that is 150 ft high and 200 ft long. The trip is around 3.5 hrs. long, they also offer full-moon tours as well. There are also 2 escape points if it were to become too difficult for you.
Red River Gorge, Kentucky
Of course, the very first one built in the US was built in Torrent Falls Red River Gorge, Kentucky, in the horseshoe shaped canyon. It has 6 different sections with 4 different levels of difficulty starting form easy to expert. Each section has an exit point where they can make their way back to the facility.
The easier sections do not require as much strength as the more advanced section do, specifically upper body strength. Some awesome feature includes a 120-ft perch and a section of the climb that goes behind a seasonal waterfall.
Now with a little bit more knowledge on the Via Ferratas around the region, hopefully you get that opportunity to do one, it is must! Why would you not want to be part of the people to complete a Via Ferrata and if you happen to be in Colorado or thinking of traveling to Colorado be sure to check out www.coloradozipline.net or www.coloradorafting.net, for a via ferrata in Idaho Springs or in Buena Vista!