Cedar Bluff, Illinois (IL)


Cedar Bluff, Illinois
United States
37° 31' 18.12" N, 89° 1' 22.44" W

Just outside of Ferne Clyffe State Park, there is another bluff, keeping to itself and waiting to be conquered.  Cedar Bluff is a beautiful formation full of traditional and sport climbs, great for beginners and difficult enough to challenge the experts.  Loaded with different routes and sectors, this bluff is available to climb only because of the diligent work that has been done to it by Adopt-A-Crag Volunteers.  Climbers are the ones leading the way to protect access to these formations, and are avid about pursuing this cause across the United States.  While climbing at Cedar Bluff, it is vital that you leave the terrace stones in place and use only the established trails.

Climbing Routes

The Little Big Wall- 5.6-5.12 The lower part of this sector is comprised of a huge cave-like structure.  The experience of climbing out through the cave and onto the face of the rock is breathtaking.  There are bolts in the roof of the cave, but beware, they may not all be sturdy.

  • Seams Hard- 5.12c This is a long strenuous climb that is worth the view on top. (Traditional)
  • Cave City- 5.6 This chimney will suck you in if you are not careful so be sure to set up a solid anchor on top. (Traditional)
  • Dizzy- 5.8 The first pitch will get your heart pounding as this route looks very dramatic from the ground.  This is a beautiful climb. (Traditional/Sport)
  • Fear of Flying- 5.9 This monster of a crack will test your strength mentally and physically.  Take your time on this one. (Traditional/Sport)
  • Unfinished Symphony- 5.10 A musical variation of highs and lows can drive you insane if you are not careful how many pitches you use.  Watch out for rope drag if you use too many. (Traditional/Sport)

Trinity Problems- V2-V4  This set of boulders is just past the church, defining the holy name.

  • The Holy Ghost- V3 Reach for the seam and shoot for the side pull jug and you just might make it.
  • Baptist- V2 Face The Son and reach for the jug.
  • The Son- V4 Be careful on the down climb and hope that the Holy Ghost is there to catch you.

The Playground Wall- 5.5-5.12 This is the main area at Cedar Bluff.  There are countless routes and paths up this massive bluff.  Listed are the most prominent routes and sectors.  

  • Mike’s Meander- 5.5 Here you have a great starter chimney that is great for a first traditional lead climb. (Traditional)
  • Cool Down- 5.8 A very clean, fun section of the face.
  • Africa- 5.8 The overhang will spice up this climb.  This route gets pumpy so be prepared, unless you are ready to solo it. (Traditional/Sport)
  • Dos Equis- 5.9 This is a sustained route that keeps the climber consistent and smooth. (Sport)
  • Community Property- 5.9 Great gear will get you through this climb. (Sport)
  • Big Sting- 5.9 Watch out for the wasps! (Sport)
  • Number 35- 5.9 Start on the ledge and get ready to scramble to the top. (Sport)
  • Ghosts and Goblins- 5.10a Be sure to bring the right gear for this route.  It is mixed-pro so traditional gear is a must or you will be hovering like a ghost. (Traditional/Sport)
  • High Flying Bird- 5.8 Hang out over Africa and reach for the stars! (Traditional) 
  • Detention- 5.10a Try this one twice and find a new route.  This is a fun climb that is worth the deuce.  (Traditional)
  • April Fool- 5.10a The lieback moves on this one are not fool proof. (Traditional)
  • School Yard Blues- 5.11a Bring out the big guns and get ready for some fun.  This route has it all.
  • St. Louis Graffiti- 5.11 Keep your belayer strong for this climb, they will be needed. (Traditional)
  • Thomas Bear- 5.11a The final bulge could get you if you are not careful.  (Traditional)
  • Vogue- 5.12 Technical and difficult, this route presents the option for a variety of holds. (Traditional)
  • The Lats Waltz- 5.12 The boulders will test you in the beginning and the crux will demolish you in the end. (Traditional)
  • Oily Easter Beaver-  5.12 Sustained and difficult, this climb will require some balance. (Traditional)
  • Let’s Play Doctor/Itty Bitty- 5.12a This is a fun route and other climbers recommend skipping the last bolt.  Try to stick it quickly or the tiny pebbles will strip off the outer layers of your skin. (Traditional)

The Unnamed Boulder- V3-V5

  • Pink Maynjo- V2 Take your time on this simple and fun problem with a tricky top out.
  • Hueco Problem- V5 Tricky and fun, watch for the sidepull.
  • Unnamed- V3 The pinch is the highlight of this one, while the top out is dirty.

Ferne Clyffe has a campground for every type of camper:  modern, primitive, youth groups, backpack or equestrian.  The shower facilities that are offered at some campgrounds are available seasonally.
Ferne Clyffe State Park
Rt. 37 South, P.O. Box 10 Goreville, IL 62939
Phone:  618-995-2411  
Rates range from $10-$40 per day depending on group size, location and discounts

The Gambit Inn
1550 State Route 146 East
Vienna, Illinois 62995
Phone:  618-658-6022

Rimrocks Dogwood Cabins
Bob and Dixie Dart
RR2, Box 124 Elizabethtown, Illinois 62931
Email: info@rimrocksdogwoodcabins.com
Phone: (618) 264-6036
Rates vary depending on Cabins.   

From the south, take Interstate 24 north or Interstate 57 north.  On Interstate 24, go to Tunnel Hill Road, west (left) to Rte. 37, left to Buncombe (a small town, easy to miss), turn right (west) at Main street, go about a block to Lick Creek Road; make a right onto Lick Creek Road and stay on it until you come to Cedar Grove Road on your right (a sharp right turn).   From the south on Interstate 57, go north to Lick Creek Road.  

From the north, get to Interstate 57, go south to Lick Creek Road.   From Interstate 57, on Lick Creek Road, go east to Cedar Grove Road on your left (almost immediately after passing Draper's Bluff on your left).   Take Cedar Grove road to the church, park in the lot, to the right side (be nice, quiet, and polite) as far from the church as you can reasonably get; don't use the outhouse. Follow the trail to the cliff.

Latitude: 37.5217
Longitude: -89.0229