Last Updated on March 27, 2024

If you are an adventure seeker and are wondering where the best places to try paragliding around the world are, this post is for you! Paragliding, I would argue, is the perfect blend of adrenaline and adventure and it’s an outdoor sports activity that you simply must try.

12 best places in the USA for paragliding

Furthermore, the USA boasts some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes in the world, and it is dotted with destinations that are tailor-made for paragliding.

From the rocky cliffs of the West Coast to the secluded valleys of the Appalachian Mountains, paragliding is not just a thrilling experience; it is a gateway to some of the most breathtaking views the country has to offer.

1. California’s Golden Paragliding Spots

As a state known for its variety of terrains, California is a paragliding paradise with options suitable for both newbies and seasoned acro pilots.

Legendary sites such as Torrey Pines and Dockweiler Beach offer coastal winds perfect for soaring, while the updrafts of the San Bernardino Mountains provide thermals for some high-flying adventures.

The Cool Coastal Breezes of Torrey Pines

The coastal cliffs of Torrey Pines State Park near San Diego provide a beautiful backdrop for a scenic flight.

Launching off these dramatic sea cliffs, you can catch the Pacific Ocean’s breathtaking views. The mild ocean breezes create a gentle uplift, making it an ideal spot for beginners.

You can find Torrey Pines Glideport info here.

High-flying in San Bernardino

For the more experienced pilots, the gliderport near San Bernardino is the place to be.

This mountain site offers consistent thermals and a variety of terrains to cross-country pilots.

The views are spectacular, ranging from the desert to Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean on clear days.

2. Colorado’s Rocky Mountain High

Mountain paragliding

Colorado’s high altitude and rugged mountains make it one of the best paragliding destinations in the USA.

Buena Vista and Telluride are popular for their stunning scenery and exceptional conditions.

Buena Vista’s Cross-Country Beauty

Buena Vista is a nexus for cross-country flying.

Its proximity to the Collegiate Peaks ensures that there is almost always a decent thermal to carry you as far as your skills allow.

The watered updrafts over the Arkansas River add that extra kick to your glide.

Telluride’s High-Flying Prospects

Telluride is a picture-perfect location, high in the Rocky Mountains. The Bridal Veil Falls launch is one of the highest in the world and provides a solid lift for long flights.

It is also a starting point for one of the most iconic paragliding races, the Telluride-to-Moab Cross Country, which is a bucket-list item for many paragliders.

3. Hawaii: The Paragliders’ Dream

Hawaii paragliding

The Hawaiian Islands, with their year-round warm weather and consistent trade winds, offer a paragliding experience unlike any other.

Oahu and Maui are especially well-known for their excellent conditions.

Oahu and the North Shore’s Eternal Summer

The North Shore of Oahu is a favourite among paragliders for its consistent trade wind conditions.

The views of the island’s lush landscapes and crystal-clear waters make the upward journey as enchanting as the downward glide.

Gravity Hawaii is worth taking a look at for Oahu paragliding.

Maui: Where to Find a Paraglider’s Paradise

Maui’s upcountry gives rise to thermals that provide long and rewarding flights.

The smooth ridge-soaring conditions of the West Maui mountains make it the perfect spot for beginners to gain experience.

Paraglide Maui is a great option if you want lessons, equipment, or a first-time paragliding experience.

4. Utah: A Playground for the Sport

Utah’s unique landscapes are a paraglider’s dream. The undulating terrain, high desert plains, and mountains create a diverse range of flying opportunities.

Point of the Mountain: Famous for a Reason

Point of the Mountain in Salt Lake City is one of the most iconic and reliable ridge-soaring sites in the world.

Its predictable and steady winds mean pilots can stay aloft for hours, gliding along the Wasatch Front.

The Sky Islands of the Wind: Canyons Around Moab

The canyons around Moab offer some of the most diverse flying experiences in the USA. Launch areas such as Mineral Bottom and Fisher Towers provide the chance to catch a rising thermal and glide over the otherworldly landscapes.

5. Oregon: A Pacific Northwest Adventure

Oregon’s coastal winds and mountain updrafts present paragliders with a smorgasbord of flying conditions.

Cape Kiwanda’s Spectacular Setting

Cape Kiwanda is a coastal launch spot with strong and consistent winds.

The towering sandstone cliffs and sweeping ocean views offer a dramatic flying experience unlike any other on the Northwest Coast.

Mingus Park: A Training Ground for Pilots

In the heart of Coos Bay, Mingus Park is not just a pleasant city park but also a training ground for new pilots.

The consistent sea breeze and expansive views of the bay make it a great spot to log those first few flights.

6. Arizona: Desert Highs and Lows

Arizona’s diverse environments are more than just home to the Grand Canyon; they also provide a collection of unique paragliding opportunities.

Sailing the Skies of Sedona

Sedona’s famous red rocks create thermals that are perfect for long flights.

The Mogollon Rim provides an excellent ridge soaring experience with panoramic views of the desert landscape below.

Maricopa’s Remarkable Cross-Country Flights

Less renowned but equally rewarding, Maricopa is a hotspot for paragliders interested in cross-country flights.

The flat open desert and the convergence of wind patterns make it possible to fly great distances without the need for constant altitude gains.

7. New York: Where Urban Meets Uplifting

New York’s paragliding scene is as diverse as the state itself, ranging from quiet rural skies to metropolitan launches.

The Sky Above the Finger Lakes

The Finger Lakes region offers consistent thermals combined with picturesque views of the glacially formed landscapes.

This peaceful rural area’s calm and predictable conditions are a great draw for pilots looking for a tranquil flying experience.

Milstein’s Urban Spectacle

Closer to ‘home’, Milstein Hall in Ithaca offers a unique launch experience: paragliding off a building.

This urban launch site gives an unparalleled city view as you sail the skies, a stone’s throw from city life.

8. Washington: The Evergreen’s Updrafts

The Evergreen State’s diverse landscapes provide varied paragliding opportunities, from coastal soaring to mountain thermals.

Chelan Ridge’s Record-Breaking Heights

Chelan Ridge is a legendary state spot where national records have been set for height and distance.

The ridge stands tall, capturing mountain winds that create robust thermal conditions, perfect for seeing just how high and how far you can go.

Tiger Mountain’s Community of Clouds

A member of the U.S. Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, Tiger Mountain outside of Seattle offers mountain flying just minutes from a major city.

This community launch site fosters a friendly gathering of pilots sharing the skies above the Puget Sound and Snoqualmie Valley.

9. Texas: A Southern Soaring

Texas may not be the first place that comes to mind for paragliding, but its varied terrains and ecosystems make it an underrated gem for the sport.

Dell City: High Altitude and Desert Serenity

Dell City’s high-altitude desert offers some of the best thermal conditions in the state.

The Guadalupe Mountains provide consistent updrafts, taking you high above the rugged terrain below.

La Junta’s Desert Waves

The silent, wide-open prairies near El Paso are home to La Junta, where pilots can catch the desert waves and soar for hours.

This serene desert environment offers a unique experience of boundless freedom.

10. North Carolina: Where the East Coast Takes Flight

The Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina offer paragliding experiences with some of the oldest mountain ranges in the world serving as a backdrop.

Grandfather Mountain’s Regal Ridges

Grandfather Mountain, with its famous Mile-High Swinging Bridge, provides a launch spot for flying high above the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The ridge’s consistent winds allow for a serene soaring experience, level with the tree lines.

Buffalo Mountain’s Breezy Crossroads

Buffalo Mountain in Tennessee, near the North Carolina border, offers some prime ridge-soaring experiences.

The confluence of air currents provides the perfect training ground for paragliders to learn the intricacies of mountain flying.

11. Idaho: Where Vast Horizons Call

Idaho’s broad skies and rugged backcountry are a natural fit for paragliders, with some fantastic launch sites to explore.

Horseshoe Bend’s Bird-Eye Views

Horseshoe Bend, near Boise, offers paragliding enthusiasts a chance to fly over the winding Payette River and the expansive valleys below.

The consistent afternoon thermals mean you can usually find a friendly updraft to guide you.

Union in the Sun Valley

Beyond just skiing, Idaho’s Sun Valley is a great spot for paragliding, particularly at Union in the Sawtooth Range.

This launch site provides both beautiful ridge-soaring and the potential for high-altitude thermals and cross-country flights.

12. Nevada: Desert and Mountain Mix

Nevada’s high desert plains and the Sierra Nevada Range offer a unique blend of conditions for paragliders, including some soaring above the famous Las Vegas Strip.

Flying High at Slide Mountain

Slide Mountain, near Reno, offers a launch with views of the azure waters of Lake Tahoe.

The mountain’s name hints at the thrills of an exhilarating slide off its peak, carried by the thermals that rise from the valley floor.

Vegas Valley’s Urban Oasis

Las Vegas Valley is home to several paragliding spots that allow you to launch within sight of the iconic Strip.

Experienced pilots can take advantage of the desert’s strong thermals and soar near the towering Red Rock Canyon.

Useful Apps for Paragliding & Paragliders

1. FlySkyHy

flyskyhy app

FlySkyHy is one of the most comprehensive paragliding apps available. Its user-friendly interface offers real-time flight statistics, navigation, and weather forecasts.

With FlySkyHy, you can plan your flight routes, log your flights, analyze your performance, and even replay your flights in 3D.

Key Features:

  • Extensive weather forecasting tools.
  • Airspace information to ensure safe flying zones.
  • Support for topographic maps and offline use.

2. XCSoar

xcsoar app

XCSoar is an open-source tactical glide computer aimed at improving cross-country flying.

This app provides detailed information on terrain, navigation, weather, and thermal hotspots – all invaluable data for the long-distance paraglider.

Key Features:

  • Customizable interface to suit individual preferences.
  • Post-flight analysis to study and improve techniques.
  • Integration with online contests for competitive fliers.

3. Windy

Windy app for paragliders

Windy is known for its detailed and visually appealing wind and weather maps, Windy offers accurate weather forecasting.

It is essential for deciding whether conditions are conducive for flying, planning your takeoffs, and ensuring your safety while in the air.

Key Features:

  • Live wind and weather patterns worldwide.
  • Advanced forecast models like ECMWF and GFS.
  • Waves and hurricanes tracking for coastal fliers.

4. Paragliding Map

Paragliding map app

Paragliding Map shows pilots where it is flyable on an interactive map. Current weather observations and forecasts are visible, helping pilots to make quick, informed decisions about where to fly.

Key Features:

  • Real-time site status indicators to show if sites are flyable.
  • User-submitted reports & site data.
  • Filters based on pilot proficiency & gear to find appropriate sites.

Final Thoughts

If you are into adventure sports and love to try something new, you must try Paragliding as it really does combine the thrill of adventure with a real sense of freedom as you fly, whilst also often providing you the chance to see stunning scenery and in a unique way.

Remember, safety is paramount in any adventure sport, so ensure that you are well-equipped, well-informed, and ideally, accompanied by a local expert. So, pack your wings and set your sights on the skies — the paragliding adventure of a lifetime awaits!