Outdoor

AAA Wall, Michigan (MI)

In 1844, when William Burt and Jacob Houghton (the brother of geologist Douglass Houghton) discovered iron deposits near Teal Lake west of Marquette, the Jackson Mining Company, the first organized mining company in the region, was formed. Marquette continues to be a shipping port for hematite ores and, today, enriched iron ore pellets, from nearby mines and pelletizing plants. About 7.9 million gross tons of pelletized iron ore passed through Marquette's Presque Isle Harbor in 2005. There is some remaining stone, primarily quartzite that has left some great climbing routes here in Michigan. There is free camping near the rocks and you are asked to be respectful of the area.

Location

AAA Wall, Michigan
Marquette, MI 49855
United States
46° 32' 51.2988" N, 87° 23' 44.142" W
US

Beach City, Ohio (OH)

When the National Road reached Columbus from Baltimore in 1831 it was because of trade opportunities, not rock climbing, that more settlers wanted to travel to this little city nested on the confluence of the Scioto and Olentangy rivers.  Most of the rock in this area is limestone, but there is also a lot of shale, both cut and flattened by another one of those pesky glaciers.  This particular glacier, which covered Ohio during the Wisconsin Ice Age, left this area with sizable differences in elevation through the area, with the high point of Franklin County being 1,132 feet (345 m) above sea level near New Albany, and the low point being 670 feet (200 m) where the Scioto River leaves the county near Lockbourne. Numerous ravine areas near the rivers and creeks also help give some variety to the landscape. Thankfully this gives way for a few great rock climbing problems at Beach City Nature Preserve, just outside of Columbus. There is however public hunting allowed here, so be cautious if you climb during hunting season.

Location

Beach City, Ohio
United States
40° 37' 8.04" N, 81° 36' 39.96" W
US

Bee Rock, Tennessee (TN)

Bee Rock is one of the more popular climbing areas in middle Tennessee. Located on private property near Monterey Tennessee belonging to The Garden Inn Bed & Breakfast, the owners have been gracious enough to allow the public to continue to use this area for climbing, hiking and caving.  By 1895 Monterey was flourishing and by 1899 Monterey was on its way to becoming one of Tennessee’s leading tourist attractions. Monterey’s location on the Cumberland Plateau, 2000 feet above sea level and midway between Nashville and Knoxville made it the perfect destination point.  Bee Rock is also known for its spectacular views, especially in the autumn.

Location

Bee Rock, Tennessee
United States
36° 7' 44.4" N, 85° 17' 11.04" W
US

Big South Fork, Kentucky (KY)

Big South Fork, Kentucky is home to the Daniel Boone National Forest, the Big South Fork National River, and some of the most scenic and uncharted rock climbing opportunities in the state. The river basin itself is littered with massive boulders some 50' tall, offering tons of bouldering opportunities.  The particular area of Big South Fork that is charted is called Blue Heron. Outlying is an historic preserved mining town, the sounds of coal trains and dynamite have all dissipated, leaving you the whispers of the beavers, wild turkeys, and blue herons that still roam the territory.  That is unless you’ve brought your iPod along for the climb.

Location

Big South Fork, Kentucky
United States
36° 29' 11.4" N, 84° 41' 54.6" W
US

Black Mountain, Tennessee (TN)

Haley Mountain and Black Mountain dominate the view from the south in Crab Orchard, Tennessee. Nestled at the base of both mountains, it is just a short drive to some spectacular rock climbing and bouldering. Here in Crab Orchard you will find a rare type of sandstone to climb on, which was first used in local structures and sidewalks in the late 19th century, the Crab Orchard stone gained popularity in the 1920’s when it was used in the construction of Scarritt College in Nashville. Numerous buildings in Crossville, including the Cumberland County Courthouse, have been constructed with Crab Orchard stone. Crab Orchard is also home to a large limestone mine operated by Franklin Industrial Minerals. Although unique, this type of sandstone can be hard on the hands.

Location

Black Mountain, Tennessee
United States
35° 52' 4.08" N, 84° 53' 38.76" W
US

Bridle Trails Rocks, Ohio (OH)

Nestled along the Hocking River in Southeast Ohio, sits the historic college town of Athens, Ohio, home to Ohio State University as well as the Bridle Trails Rocks.  The Mound Builders were groups of Native Americans who built large earthen mounds along the Mississippi and Ohio River Tributary Systems. Together these groups left behind thousands of mounds in the eastern United States. While these groups were spread out throughout this region, some lived in and around Athens, Ohio, from about 1000 B.C. to A.D. 700, producing over two hundred mounds in Athens County alone. The underlying geology is mostly sandstone and shale, including "redbed" shale that presents a severe slip hazard when structures are built over it on hillsides. However, there are safe zones above sandstone beds, most notably the Connelsville Sandstone that outcrops high on the hillsides.  The Bridal Trails Rocks offer one majestic boulder with many climbing possibilities. There is also lots of cliff line along the opposing hill heading downstream towards the lake.

Location

Bridle Trails Rocks, Ohio
22245 SR 78 Nelson, Ohio
United States
41° 21' 18.7092" N, 80° 58' 25.914" W
US

Buzzard Point, Tennessee (TN)

Just north of Chattanooga, inside of the Pocket Wilderness, lies Buzzard Point. This rock climbing location is worth it not only for the climbs, but for the amazing view that you will soak in while adventuring these rocks. Lots of moderate to difficult sport routes with some great crack lines are simply one hundred percent worth the trek it takes to locate Buzzard Point. The term Pocket Wilderness is a name used by Bowater corporation and the State of Tennessee for any of several tracts of Bowater-owned private land on and near the Cumberland Plateau that the company set aside beginning in 1970 "for preservation in its natural state, with no logging or development other than hiking trails permitted within its boundaries" and registered as Tennessee state natural areas. Several areas formerly managed as Bowater pocket wilderness are now incorporated into state-owned natural areas or National Park Service sites.

Location

Buzzard Point, Tennessee
United States
35° 49' 50.16" N, 84° 48' 4.68" W
US

Cedar Bluff, Illinois (IL)

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.

Location

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

Chippewa Creek, Ohio (OH)

 

** LEGAL NOTICE **

Pursuant to the June 18, 2015 Policy of the Board of Park Commissioners of the Cleveland Metropolitan Park District, swimming is prohibited at Chippewa Creek Gorge due to elements that pose unsafe hazards and conditions. Furthermore, swimming at Chippewa Creek Gorge is illegal pursuant to Cleveland Metropolitan Park District’s Regulation Section 543.02(a). Whoever violates this section shall be fined not more than one hundred fifty dollars ($150.00) for the first offense and not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each subsequent offense.

** END LEGAL NOTICE **

Colonel John Breck and several partners purchased the land now known as Brecksville in 1807.  This location became a very populous area in Ohio though settlement came to a halt as other cities such as Cleveland and Detroit expanded. Outside of town in a secluded location is Chippewa Creek, a set of boulder problems with a range of difficulty.  Climbing here is debated - Cleveland Metroparks sent us a note saying that it is not safe and referenced the above legal statement. 

Location

Chippewa Creek, Ohio
United States
41° 19' 9.84" N, 81° 37' 1.92" W
US

Clack Mountain, Kentucky (KY)

Legends of disappearing trees and occult activity are said to haunt Clack Mountain, or maybe they are just stories that the climbers have made up to keep the boulders to themselves.  Either way, Clack Mountain offers some terrific bouldering opportunities and slabs that will test you and help you to define your greatness.  Clack Mountain is primarily known for a bluegrass music festival that takes place there every summer.  The most populous city near Clack Mountain is Morehead, home to Cave Run Lake and some of the best scenery at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

Location

Clack Mountain, Kentucky
United States
38° 7' 34.32" N, 83° 24' 39.6" W
US

Cliff Drive, Michigan (MI)

If you are persistent, blessed, or just plain lucky, you may get the chance to see the Aurora Borealis while you are climbing at Cliff Drive on the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan. The rock deposits on this peninsula were formed by erupting volcanoes many years ago. For hundreds of years, the basalt piled up thicker and thicker; groundwater percolated in, too, filling the bubbles and cracks with minerals, creating the Keweenaw’s vast deposits of pure copper. Eventually, the basalt layers sank, forming a basin surrounded by tilted, uplifted rock. These high spots today are visible as the Keweenaw Mountain Range, the spine that runs the length of the peninsula and across Isle Royale. Consequently, the basalt found throughout the Keweenaw is believed to be among the oldest—perhaps the oldest—exposed volcanic rock on earth. This same basalt is the rock that you will traverse if you climb at Cliff Drive.

Location

Cliff Drive, Michigan
2701 Sunset Bay Beach Rd Ahmeek, Michigan
United States
47° 17' 55.7232" N, 88° 23' 47.4036" W
US

COAD Boulders, Ohio (OH)

Located in the same vicinity as Witches Hills and Hocking Hills State Park are the COAD Boulders, there is not a lot of information for on this area but the bouldering seems to be quite efficient. The COAD Boulders AKA Copper Head Ridge and Point Boulders are adjacent to the Trailer Park. They are also the boulders that are visible from East State Street as you look over top of Odd Lots. This Area is currently home to about 30 problems with a few open sandstone projects.

Location

COAD Boulders, Ohio
22245 SR 78 Nelson, Ohio
United States
41° 21' 18.7092" N, 80° 58' 25.914" W
US

Devil's Lake, Wisconsin (WI)

Devil's Lake was originally a gorge of the Wisconsin River prior to the last ice age. At what is now the southern end of the lake, the river turned from a southerly direction to an easterly flow. During the ice age, a lobe of the glacier passed to the east of the Baraboo Hills and came up the river valley. It deposited materials and then melted, leaving a terminal moraine blocking the river, forming an earthen dam. Another moraine was deposited at the north end of the lake. The river eventually found a new course to the east of the Baraboo Hills, where the glacier had been, leaving a portion of the river gorge between the moraines filled with water. This body of water is Devil's Lake.  Devils Lake Rock Climbing is composed of six areas of climbing options.

Location

Devil's Lake, Wisconsin
United States
43° 24' 37.08" N, 89° 42' 54" W
US

Dismal Rock, Kentucky (KY)

Karst topography defines the climbing at Dismal Rock in Kentucky.  Many karst regions display distinctive surface features with caves and sinkholes being the most common. While standing on the Nolin River Dam, one can look south and see the sandstone wall that has come to be known as Dismal Rock.  Reaching up to 200 feet, the farther down river you go, the more difficult the climbs will be.  This is federal land managed by the Army Corps of Engineers (Nolin Dam). Currently, there are no problems to access for climbing.  The top of the cliff including the walk in on the cliff side (opposite the Park) is privately owned. Climbers may not park in the upper park, cross the road and walk in on the cliff-side of the rock. Instead, park in the upper lot and hike around the spillway to the other side of the river. 

Location

Dismal Rock, Kentucky
United States
37° 16' 22.08" N, 86° 14' 58.92" W
US

Drapers Bluff, Illinois (IL)

Just south of Marion, Illinois and echoing the sounds of the Shawnee National Forest, lies a beautiful landscape of sandstone and limestone called Draper’s Bluff.  Once open to the public, this private bluff can now be accessed by paying a fee and opting for a guided climb.  Climbers ranging from beginners to superstars all say that this bluff is worth the fee.  The bluff is full of mixed-pro routes for beginning climbers to routes that will test just how comfortable you really are with being 100 feet up in the air hanging from a rock.
 
The owners of Drapers Bluff offer a variety of options for folks wanting to climb.  Their programs are in two general formats:  Technical Instruction via open-enrollment pre-scheduled classes and Guided Top Rope Climbing for individuals and groups by reservation only.

Location

Drapers Bluff, Illinois
United States
37° 30' 53.28" N, 89° 2' 37.32" W
US

Eden Park Reservoir, Ohio (OH)

Completed in 1878 the two basins of Eden Park Reservoir covered a total of 12 acres. The east basin retaining wall consisted of eight elliptical arches, each spanning 55'. The length was 1,250'. The width at the base was 48.5', tapering to 25' on the top walk. These basins were cleaned in alternate years and everything was found from wrecked cars to suicide victims. When this cleaning took place municipal picnics, complete with music and dancing were held inside the empty basin.  Although chemical purification of city water began in 1907 at the new water plant upriver at California, the Eden Park reservoir remained in use. In the 1960s the stone retaining wall of the lower/eastern basin was largely removed and the basin filled in for ball fields. The upper/western basin was made deeper to increase its capacity to 80,000,000 gallons. The reservoir was used until 1965 when it was covered with a shallow 3/4 acre reflecting pool.  Now, one part of the wall remains for rock climbing.

Location

Eden Park Reservoir, Ohio
United States
39° 7' 0.12" N, 84° 29' 34.8" W
US

Elywood Cascade, Ohio (OH)

Elyria, Ohio was founded in 1817 by Heman Ely, who built a log house, dam, gristmill, and sawmill on the site. Ely began to build more houses to accommodate immigrating settlers. By the time Ely died in 1852, Elyria had 5 churches, 3 grocery stores, 3 flour mills, a newspaper, and a population of more than 1,500. Now, lying 50 miles outside of Cleveland the town has grown to over 25,000.  Unfortunately the residents here have not taken the greatest care of Elywood and Cascade Park, but it still offers some nice sandstone bouldering and climbing options.

Location

Elywood Cascade, Ohio
United States
41° 22' 37.2" N, 82° 6' 20.52" W
US

Europa Nickajack Lake, Tennessee (TN)

Nickajack Lake is the reservoir created by Nickajack Dam as part of the Tennessee Valley Authority. The lake stretches from Nickajack Dam to Chickamauga Dam, and runs along the shores of Chattanooga, TN. The stretch of the Tennessee River commonly referred to as the "Grand Canyon of Tennessee" also is part of Nickajack Lake. The word Nickajack referred generally to the rugged Appalachian foothills in Eastern Tennessee and Northeast Alabama. A popular story about the origin for the name is that the town was named after "Jack Civil", supposedly a free black man who led a renegade band of white and black fugitives and Cherokee and Creek warriors in "Five Lower Towns" on the Tennessee River west and southwest of Chattanooga during the Chickamauga wars. The warriors were actually Cherokee led by Dragging Canoe, though small groups of Shawnee and Muscogee lived and fought with them, in addition to occasional large bands of Muskogee as allies, renegade whites, white traders, Spanish, French, and British agents, and runaway slaves (at least in the earlier years).  There are a few of the toughest limestone climbing routes in Tennessee here at Europa, just next to Nickajack Lake.

Location

Europa Nickajack Lake, Tennessee
United States
35° 0' 15.12" N, 85° 37' 9.84" W
US

Ferne Clyffe, Illinois (IL)

In 1899 Miss Emma Rebman charged 10 cents admission to enter Ferne Clyffe State Park.  Ferne Clyffe soon became a popular attraction, and local entrepreneurs began to provide transportation from the Goreville train depot for an additional 10 cents.  Now it is free for climbers to come in and experience the sandstone at its best.  Impressive rock formations can be seen from almost all of the park trails and climbing and bouldering is restricted to only one bluff and the boulders directly adjacent.  Other bluffs are closed to protect endangered flora. There should be NO bolts in Ferne Clyffe at all. 

Location

Ferne Clyffe, Illinois
United States
37° 31' 46.2" N, 88° 58' 58.08" W
US

Foster Falls, Tennessee (TN)

In 1840 local boys digging a groundhog out of the ground discovered coal. In the early 1870's Tracy City an experimental blast furnace was built by Samuel Jones and owned by the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company. The furnace, called "Fiery Gizzard", was built to see if local coal would be used to produce iron. All of this exploring and a lot of natural wonder left Tracy City with one of Tennessee’s premiere sport rock climbing locations, Foster Falls. High quality lines surround the falls and are embraced with gorgeous views and fantastic waterfalls and caves to explore after a long day on the crags. This location proves to be a great spot for indoor climbers to make the switch to the great outdoors.

Location

Foster Falls, Tennessee
United States
35° 10' 54.12" N, 85° 40' 32.88" W
US

Giant City, Illinois (IL)

Formed over 12,000 years ago and attracting 1.2 million visitors yearly, Giant City State park boasts some of the most exciting and scenic rock climbing in the Midwest. Here you can get some advice from the ghost of a confederate soldier who used these grounds as a haven or have a powwow next to the remains of one of the oldest Native American stone walls.   These sandstone bluffs provide adventure to the climbers of today, but provided shelter to ancestors over 10,000 years ago.  Climbing and rappelling are permitted at the park in two locations. The areas of Devil's Standtable cliff and Shelter #1 bluff at the Makanda entrance are accessible to climbers, and ropes are permitted on these cliffs. No permanent anchors allowed. Watch out for the copperhead snakes that like to sunbathe on the ledges!

Location

Giant City, Illinois
United States
37° 36' 18" N, 89° 11' 18.24" W
US

Governor Dodge, Wisconsin (WI)

More than 8,000 years ago, men and women made winter camps at the base of rock overhangs enjoying the protection of the sandstone walls. As the weather warmed, they moved into more open areas of what is now Wisconsin and Illinois to hunt bison and other game. Now men and women still camp in Governor Dodge State Park and those sandstone walls have become the home to a new adventure. Rock Climbing and bouldering are becoming a more popular sport as people begin to more whole heartedly embrace the outdoors of the United States. Please respect the rock at Governor Dodge State Park, as some of it is fragile. It is requested that no more bolts be places in to the sandstone.

Location

Governor Dodge, Wisconsin
United States
43° 0' 51.84" N, 90° 6' 36.36" W
US

Grandad Bluff, Wisconsin (WI)

The bluffs along this portion of the Mississippi River are Prairie du Chien dolostone capping Cambrian sandstone. Grandad Bluff is a classic mesa, as are all the bluffs along the river. In 1928 there was a movement to change the name to Granddad Mountain, and to change all the Bluffs along the Mississippi to The Mississippi Mountain Range. Bliss Road provides access to the bluff. The road was closed due to the floods of August 2007. However, after major repairs, Bliss Road was reopened to traffic on November 20, 2008. Trucks and buses are still prohibited from using Bliss Road, because of weight limits but the rock climbing is superior.

Location

Grandad Bluff, Wisconsin
United States
43° 48' 45" N, 91° 12' 21.6" W
US

Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio (OH)

Hocking Hills State Park is full of deep gorges and high cliffs, the result of the erosion-resistant Blackhand Sandstone, which extends well to the northeast of the Hocking Hills.  Hocking County was named from a shortened version of the Hockhocking River. Hockhocking, in the Delaware tongue, signifies a bottle. In Shawnee, Wea-tha-Kagh-Qua-sepe, meant bottle river. The Hockhocking River had a waterfall of nearly 20 feet located about 6 or 7 miles northwest of Lancaster. Above the falls, the creek was very narrow and straight, forming the "bottle" neck.  As a result, these cliffs left some of the best opportunities for rock climbing and rappelling in all of Ohio.  Remember, there are lots of tempting spots to climb at Hocking Hills, but climbing is only permitted in the designated area.  You will be fined if you are caught climbing at any other location.

Location

Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio
United States
39° 25' 50.16" N, 82° 32' 19.68" W
US

Hunters Bluff, Kentucky (KY)

Settled about 5 miles east of the heart of an historic community, scattered with remnants of the Revolutionary War, a quiet 150 foot wall of stories is waiting to be told.  Dawson’s Bluff, also known as Hunter’s Bluff is a small climbing area with routes ranging from 30 feet to 150 feet.  Although small in comparison to other crags, this location boasts some of the most famous cracks in the Midwest and arguably in the United States.   Neighbored by the Keene Wildlife area and loaded with amazing views of protected flora, fauna, and animals, the sandstone rock itself is sure to mesmerize you.  This privately and state owned crag and is still being developed for all types of climbing and bouldering.  As always please be mindful of this and clean up after yourself.

Location

Hunters Bluff, Kentucky
20781 Pennyrile Lodge Rd., Dawson Springs, KY 42408
United States
37° 10' 2.1648" N, 87° 41' 33.0252" W
US

Interstate Park, Wisconsin (WI)

Interstate Park comprises two adjacent state parks on the Minnesota-Wisconsin border, both named Interstate State Park. They straddle the St. Croix River, a deep basalt gorge with glacial potholes and other rock formations. At the end of the last glacial period 10,000 years ago, torrents of water flowed south from the melting glaciers, carving the St. Croix River Valley. The soft Cambrian sediments were easily eroded into a wide valley, but the hard basalt was resistant to erosion and when it reached the hard basalt floor, the river was channeled into a deep, steep-walled gorge, which makes for some fabulous climbing opportunities.

Location

Interstate Park, Wisconsin
United States
45° 23' 20.76" N, 92° 39' 26.64" W
US

Jackson Falls, Illinois (IL)

130,000 years ago the Laurentide ice sheet that covered up 85 percent of Illinois probably seemed like a pretty big problem to our ancestors. Instead of fretting over glaciers in 2011, we are blessed to have had that ice sheet form canyons and bluffs across the Shawnee National Forest that can be perfect for modern day rock climbers. Jackson Falls, part of the Shawnee National Forest, now offers a scenic plethora of 60 foot sandstone bluffs with hundreds of named climbing routes. This presents climbers with what is noted as the best spot in Southern Illinois for sport rock climbing. The area does offer a few traditional routes and top-rope options, and most routes are 5.9 and above. While climbing at Jackson Falls, you are expected to stay on the obvious trails as there are many protected plants and endangered species in the forest.

Location

Jackson Falls, Illinois
United States
37° 17' 43.8" N, 88° 24' 20.52" W
US

John Bryan State Park, Ohio (OH)

Some of the first people to experience the area's beauty were the Moundbuilders, and later, the Shawnee Indians.  Just five miles south of Yellow Springs, approximately where the town of Oldtown is now, was the site of Old Chillicothe, one of the leading Shawnee settlements in Ohio. The great Shawnee warrior, Tecumseh, was a frequent visitor here and to the nearby James Galloway House, which has been kept intact by the Greene County Historical Society. Much of the history of John Bryan State Park is "written in the rocks" of the Little Miami River gorge. Entering the area at Clifton, at 980 feet above sea level, the Little Miami drops 130 feet through layer upon layer of bedrock. Each layer has a story to tell of times when the area was covered by warm, shallow seas or was a part of a muddy river delta or was scoured by tons of slow-moving glacial ice. Each layer has its own characteristics as well. Some of the shale layers are easily worn away by the forces of erosion, causing undercutting in the cliff face. The more erosion-resistant dolomite or limestone rocks above are weakened by this undercutting and large "slump blocks" fall away, creating unusual rock formations including Steamboat Rock.

Location

John Bryan State Park, Ohio
United States
39° 47' 28.32" N, 83° 51' 15.84" W
US

Kings Bluff, Tennessee (TN)

In the late 18th century, Native Americans passed through the Natchez Trace, scaling bold cliffs without a safety rope and molding the limestone beneath their toes.  King’s Bluff, located in Clarksville, Tennessee, is almost ten acres of limestone crag, waiting for you to retrace the steps of some of the earliest Americans.  There are routes ranging from 5.3 to 5.13, based on the Yosemite Decimal System.   The entire area was donated to the Southeastern Climbers Coalition in 2002 after it had been overrun with vandalism. After parking near the Max Court cul-de-sac, climbers can take short walk through some of the only remaining American Chestnut trees to the base cliff while sounds of the rippling Cumberland River can be heard as you gear up and begin your adventure.

Location

Kings Bluff, Tennessee
United States
36° 30' 6.48" N, 87° 19' 22.8" W
US

Laurel Falls, Tennessee (TN)

Hidden in the shadows of the awesome climbing area of Buzzard Point, is a little gem of a rock climbing and bouldering opportunity called Laurel Falls. Possessing some of the most spectacular sandstone in the area, is pure white and superior strength provides some amazing climbing opportunities. This location is somewhat in the boondocks, and definitely more peaceful than the more popular areas, but don’t discount the awesomeness of the climbs that you will find here.

Location

Laurel Falls, Tennessee
United States
35° 2' 55.32" N, 85° 24' 27.72" W
US

Leda, Tennessee (TN)

Leda is a small roadside crag located near Soddy Daisy, TN, just outside of Chattanooga. The sandstone bluff offers both sport and traditional lines, and is a great place to learn to climb or get in a quick climbing session after work. Because of the dangerous mountain road at Leda, please leash dogs at all times. The Landowner of Montlake Properties has asked all climbers to sign a liability waiver to climb at Leda. This only has to be done once (no renewal). If you have already signed a waiver for Little Rock City, then you don’t have to sign one again for Leda. Waivers can be found online at this site by signing up for Little Rock City. Waivers can also be found at Leda in the kiosk. Please submit signed waivers to Montlake Golf Club House or put them in the Leda kiosk box.

Location

Leda, Tennessee
United States
35° 14' 8.16" N, 85° 13' 35.4" W
US

Little Rock City, Tennessee (TN)

Little Rock City is one of the premier destinations for boulderers and climbers alike. It lies just outside Chattanooga and is waiting for you to conquer the amazing amount of problems that it has to offer you. Little Rock City was closed until recently, when the landowner and the SCC worked out their differences, so I am including a list of all of the rules and regulations, so that you can be sure to follow them, ensuring that this climbing location can stay open.

Little Rock City / Stone Fort is on private property. Use your best judgement and avoid any behavior that could compromise our opportunity to climb there. Please abide by these rules which were set forth by the landowner and encourage others to do the same. Your cooperation is very important for keeping LRC / Stone Fort open.

Location

Little Rock City, Tennessee
United States
35° 14' 50.64" N, 85° 13' 13.08" W
US

Logtown Quarries, Ohio (OH)

Logtown Quarries lies just outside Lisbon, Ohio and was originally known for its iron and whiskey production. Because of this the area became a hodge-podge of mills, tanneries, a cement works, salt works, carpenters, gunsmiths, hotels, and clothiers.  Now you can explore the remnants of this town that was a bustling production village in the 1800’s and dig up some new rock climbing treasures in Logtown Quarries. When you are ready to climb here, you should stop by the City Hall and be sure to get permission from them or from the local Boy Scout chapter which owns the land that the quarries are located on.  This location is very well maintained and provides some of the most excellent climbing opportunities in Ohio.  Oh, and do not tempt fate by climbing the Tower.  You will be fined if you are caught, if you do not injure yourself first.

Location

Logtown Quarries, Ohio
United States
40° 46' 30" N, 80° 45' 44.28" W
US

Mills Creek Park, Ohio (OH)

Mill Creek Park was founded in 1891 due to the "untiring efforts of Youngstown attorney Volney Rogers".  Rogers secured options on much of the land and was able to purchase large tracts of it. This was no small task given that he was compelled to deal with more than 90 landowners. Once the land was secured, Rogers framed and promoted what he called the "Township Park Improvement Law." Upon the law's passage, Rogers turned over all of the land he had secured for park purposes.  Rogers had the area declared a park by the state legislature. It officially opened in 1893. Climbing is not technically permitted in the park, so keep it clean and keep it on the down low.

Location

Mills Creek Park, Ohio
United States
41° 2' 27.24" N, 80° 41' 33.36" W
US

Muscatatuck Park, Indiana (IN)

Just a few miles north of the Ohio River, across a wheat field and through the Hoosier National Forest, you will find Muscatatuck Extreme Sports Park waiting to be explored.  Muscatatuck boasts as Indiana’s best climbing area, especially for those who love bouldering so bring your crash pad.  Muscatatuck uses the John Sherman V-grade system to rate their bouldering, V0 being the easiest and V16 the most difficult.  There are still a few routes for the climber who feels naked without a top rope and overall the limestone rocks present a fun and energizing climbing experience, as long as none of the ghosts from the local Muscatatuck Urban Training Center/former State Hospital come along to trip you up…

Location

Muscatatuck Park, Indiana
United States
38° 59' 5.28" N, 85° 37' 31.8" W
US

Necedah Petenwell Rock, Wisconsin (WI)

The name "Necedah" comes from the Ho Chunk peoples who inhabited the area before the arrival of European settlers and means "Land of the Yellow Waters", a reference to the Yellow River. Necedah, Wisconsin is situated at the base of a high cliff on the Yellow River, a few miles from its mouth, and is opposite the famous Petenwell Rock. Petenwell Rock is a highly acclaimed climbing location in Wisconsin with beautiful sandstone cliffs and boulders that ripple across the hillsides of this little logging town.

Location

Necedah Petenwell Rock, Wisconsin
United States
43° 58' 15.96" N, 89° 59' 49.56" W
US

Obed, Tennessee (TN)

An excerpt from OBED: A Climbers Guide to the Wild and the Scenic

"The Obed Wild and Scenic River is a magical landscape of meandering rivers, dense forests, breath-taking vistas, and for the climber – miles upon miles of sandstone cliffs. Located in Northeastern Tennessee, about an hour outside of Knoxville, the Obed has been a secluded and peaceful climber hangout for more than 30 years. Originally a traditional only climbing area, the early 90’s sport climbing revolution transformed the Obed into one of the finest sport climbing areas in the United States. Known for its unrelenting steepness, the Obed is host to the largest collection of horizontal roofs (equipped for your climbing pleasure) anywhere in North America. The rock at the Obed is a very smoothly textured, but well featured version of beautiful Cumberland Sandstone that many climbers describe as nearly perfect. Combine these amazing attributes with one of the friendliest and easy going climber campgrounds to be found – Del’s Lilly Pad – located mere minutes from an assortment of crags, and you have a playground that should be a mandatory visit for all traveling climbers."

There are several different areas available to climb at Obed and each section is as good as the last.

Location

Obed, Tennessee
United States
36° 4' 45.12" N, 84° 45' 54.72" W
US

Paint Creek, Ohio (OH)

The Paint Creek region lies at the very edge of the Appalachian Plateau. This escarpment marks the boundary between the hilly eastern section of the state and the flatter western portions. Most of the plateau in southeastern Ohio was never reached by glaciers, although the Paint Creek area bears evidence of glacial activity. One stream near the park, Rocky Fork Creek, was blocked by glacial ice and reversed direction, rapidly cutting the 75-foot gorge seen today.  Equally impressive here are the Seven Caves, all located about 50 feet above Rocky Fork Creek.  A short trip to the caves from the park is well worth the time, as well as the few limestone rock climbing opportunities here in the park that is owned and run by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Location

Paint Creek, Ohio
United States
39° 15' 59.4" N, 83° 22' 42.6" W
US

Pictured Rocks, Michigan (MI)

Majestic sandstone cliffs, beaches, sand dunes, waterfalls, lakes, forest, and shoreline are all patiently waiting for you to visit Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The colors in the cliffs are created by the large amounts of minerals in the rock. The cliffs are composed of the Munising Formation of 500 million year old Cambrian period sandstone. Streaks on the face of the cliffs come from the groundwater leaching out of the rock. During the Romantic Era of the 1800s, a series of American writers described their feelings upon sight of the Pictured Rocks. Henry Rowe Schoolcraft visited in 1820 and remarked upon "some of the most sublime and commanding views in nature".

Location

Pictured Rocks, Michigan
United States
46° 33' 43.92" N, 86° 18' 45" W
US

Pot Point, Tennessee (TN)

Pass over a large natural bridge, which is invigorating enough in itself, and you can gain one of the most fantastic views in Tennessee. From Pot Point you can see much of the Tennessee River Gorge, Raccoon Mountain, and the Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage Plant. Just think, you can see all of this before you get to your primary destination, Pot Point, to do some great bouldering. Lots of solid sandstone in a great variety of grades offers hundreds of problems that are waiting to be discovered here at Pot Point. The routes here are not well defined and for the most part have not been rated, but it is a beautiful location and is definitely worth mentioning.

Location

Pot Point, Tennessee
United States
35° 4' 45.12" N, 85° 23' 38.04" W
US

Red River Gorge, Kentucky (KY)

Miguel's Pizza Red River Gorge, Kentucky (KY)

In my opinion, the best and most diverse climbing within proximity of the Midwest.  This a large, beautiful area nested in and around the Daniel Boone National Forest with thousands of acres of sandstone and over 2,600 established routes - lot of sport and trad routes. 

The Red River Gorge Rock Climbs guide is a must have for climbers heading to east Kentucky:

or or

Camp at Miguel's Pizza for $2 per person per day (and most amazing pizza on the planet) or our favorite Lago Linda Hideaway well worth the $5 per person per day.  Both have showers and other amenities. 

The GPS Coordinates are to Miguel's Pizza.  Once there, you can get trail guides and there are a lot fellow climbers to point you towards where you want to go.

Location

Red River Gorge, Kentucky
United States
37° 46' 59.16" N, 83° 40' 59.16" W
US

Southern Park, Tennessee (TN)

Southern Park, Tennessee is a new climbing area that is just recently open to the public. There is not a lot of information available, but there are some great roofs here, it is close to the nearby cities, and there is a lot of action for beginner climbers who don’t want to drive very far to climb.

Location

Southern Park, Tennessee
United States
35° 2' 55.32" N, 85° 2' 54.96" W
US

Starr Mountain, Tennessee (TN)

Starr Mountain is located partly in the southwest corner of Monroe County Tennessee and in Polk County, in the Cherokee National Forest. The flat plateau like mountain is about halfway between Tellico Plains and Etowah. Its elevation ranges from 750 to 2290 feet. Surrounded by valleys and bisected from Oswald Dome to the south by Hiwassee River, the two mountains look like islands encircled by a sea of green. Starr Mountain holds some nice rock in a great setting. According to the Flatliners, Starr Mountain is typical of other Tennessee climbing areas, a river has cut a canyon exposing cliffs high on its north side. The rock is characteristic good quality sandstone similar to that found in nearby locations, though it is unique here in that there are two bands of stone. The lower band of rock is most similar to the type of rock found at Sunset Rock. It's gray, more slabby and slopey, requiring more of a friction climbing approach. It's also more mossy and overgrown. The best routes are found on the upper tier. The rock here is most like that found at the Tennessee Wall, orange rock with sharp corners, cracks, and aretes, and roofs.

Location

Starr Mountain, Tennessee
United States
35° 14' 58.2" N, 84° 31' 37.92" W
US

Strouds Run and Richland Boulder, Ohio (OH)

Strouds Run and Richland Boulder are two more bouldering locations in Athens, Ohio.  Strouds Run State Park is located in the scenic forested hills of Athens County, in the midst of the unglaciated Appalachian Plateau. Although untouched by the vast ice sheets that moved across portions of the state over 12,000 years ago, the effects of the glaciers can be seen today in the deep ravines and high hills of Strouds Run. Stream valleys served as outlets for torrents of glacial meltwaters. The erosion power of these waters began carving valleys and hillsides into the familiar topography Ohioans know today. Richland boulder lies just off of Richland and has a variety of intermediate problems.

Location

Strouds Run and Richland Boulder
United States
39° 20' 24.72" N, 82° 1' 28.2" W
US

Suck Creek, Tennessee (TN)

Climbing in Suck Creek Canyon dates back at least to the late 1970s. Rob Robinson, Forrest Gardner and Peter Henley established numerous lines in the Roadside Wall and Upper Passes areas during the 80s; later in that decade, Gardner and Todd Wells began developing the Concentration Camp section. There is not a lot of information on this location, but it is a nice, quiet, out of the way spot for climbers who enjoy a more peaceful location instead of the more popular routes.

Location

Suck Creek, Tennessee
United States
35° 7' 18.12" N, 85° 23' 29.76" W
US

Suicide Bowl, Michigan (MI)

The name Negaunee comes from a Native American word nigani (Ojibwa tribe) meaning "foremost, in advance, leading," which was determined to be the closest Obijwa translation for pioneer. The neighboring town of Ishpeming, whose name means "on the summit," often interpret Ishpeming as Heaven and tell the unknowing that Negaunee means Hell. "Caving grounds" have been reopened to the community and renamed as Old Towne. Residents can now tour Old Towne to visit the sites of historical family homes [markers have been erected] and mining artifacts can be observed. Just on the outside of this community on Suicide Road, you can find the Suicide Bowl. You can see the Suicide Ski Jump from the top of the crag.

Location

Suicide Bowl, Michigan
United States
46° 28' 55.92" N, 87° 37' 36.12" W
US

Sunset Park, Tennessee (TN)

An excerpt from the park Climbing Management Plan:

"A popular guidebook to rock climbing within Chickamaugua and Chattanooga National Military Park refers to the Sunset Rock area as the “birthplace" of sandstone climbing in the South. This same volume traces some of the early history of climbing in the park back to the 1940's. It further states that during the 1960's several climbers began developing routes on the cliffs of a limestone quarry on the northwest end of Lookout Mountain known as the Eagles Nest. Climbing then moved to the cliffs on the west side of the mountain around Sunset Rock. During the ‘70's that area received considerable attention as a large number of routes were developed. It was at Sunset Rock during the 1980's that local climbers achieved what was probably the first climb in the south rated at 5.12 (a very difficult climb). Use of motorized drills and installing bolts on routes also proliferated during the 1980's. In 1995 over 250 routes existed on the cliffs at and around Sunset Rock. Climber access to Sunset is tense! Because it is a national park, the cliff is shared by hikers and other users who come to remember the Civil War battle fought here. There is no guaranteed right to climb at Sunset, and any poor behavior by climbers has the potential of shutting down this fantastic crag."

Location

Sunset Park, Tennessee (TN)
United States
35° 26' 22.2" N, 84° 35' 29.76" W
US

Tennessee Wall, Tennessee (TN)

Tennessee Wall, or T-Wall as it is called by most climbers, is one of best locations for climbing, no matter what the weather is!  Tennessee Wall sits high up on the rim of the Tennessee River Gorge; the cliff is part of the Prentice Cooper Wildlife Management Area. Because the cliff-face faces south, the Tennessee Wall can get extremely hot during most summer months, but offers a great climb during the winter months. The best time to visit is September through June.  This cliff was founded by climber Rob Robinson, and is littered with amazing cracks and a plethora of cliffs for every type of climbing enthusiast! Climbing is not allowed at the following locations:

  • Indian Rock House - an archeological site.
  • Snooper's Rock
  • Bluffview at the end of Tower Road

Location

Tennessee Wall, Tennessee
United States
35° 4' 18.12" N, 85° 23' 59.64" W
US

The Ledges, Michigan (MI)

300 million year old sandstone and quartzite ledges decorate the banks of the Grand River just outside of Lansing, Michigan, waiting for climbers and explorers alike to explore their history and beauty. Indians who lived in the vicinity of the Grand River near the ledges were of Pottawatomi, Chippewa, and Ottawa ancestry. They dug clams in the river, mined coal on the river banks, and hunted for boar, deer, turkey, fox, and bear. They also fished for black bass. Their name for the ledges translated into English as "Big Rocks". Oak Park in Grand Ledge is one of the few places to climb in Michigan making it a popular destination for local climbers and it has recently been drawing in many climbers from other states. Since Grand Ledge is a resort town, there is a huge amount of camping and lodging available.

Location

The Ledges, Michigan
United States
42° 45' 27.72" N, 84° 45' 10.8" W
US

The Trailer Park, Ohio (OH)

The Trailer Park is another bouldering area in Athens, Ohio.  While you are driving from location to location in Athens you should look for the historic markers that are placed throughout the town. Athens County has a rich history.  Formed in 1805 from part of Washington County, Athens County has experienced coal mining, pioneering education and so much more.  Some of this history has been recorded on Historical Markers. These markers tell us stories from the past.  They commemorate specific sites, events and sometimes even people.  There are nine Ohio Historical Society Historical Markers and several privately erected markers in Athens County.  There are about 40 problems in the Trailer Park, which is on city property.

Location

The Trailer Park, Ohio
22245 SR 78, Nelson, Ohio
United States
41° 21' 18.7092" N, 80° 58' 25.914" W
US

Thompson Ledges, Ohio (OH)

The geological formation of Thompson Ledges is a pebble-like sandstone. The well-known ledge at this place furnishes a fine exposure of rock, and gives a rugged and very romantic character to the place, and many visitors are attracted to the place, especially during the summer season. State geologist says the dip of the ledge here is from four to five degrees to the southwest. A great amount of sandstone is quarried here, and taken a great distance for bridge and building purposes. The forests partake of and mark the geological features along the ledge, and probably more of the oak and chestnut abound in this than any other of the townships of the county. Bouldering is allowed but keep as low of a footprint as possible. No rope climbing!

Location

Thompson Ledges, Ohio
United States
41° 41' 23.28" N, 81° 2' 46.32" W
US

Unlikely Wall, Indiana (IN)

Park under the overpass and look up.  There you will find the Unlikely Wall, as it is appropriately named.  This mostly manmade 25 foot tall wall of limestone was born when Highway 37 exploded onto the scene.  This location bears an average 5.10 on the Yosemite Decimal Scale, with lots of flaky crag.  If you don’t look closely, you may miss the overgrown trail on the west side of the overpass.  You should follow this trail up the steep hill until you are to the top. Do not walk along the highway, in all actuality you will be walking approximately 60 feet above the highway. Once you reach the top of the roadcut you will find about 30 bolted sport climbs.  This site is not always well maintained so it is recommended that you be a somewhat experienced climber to participate in the adventures along the Unlikely Wall.  

Location

Unlikely Wall, Indiana
8107 S Fairfax Rd, Bloomington, IN
United States
39° 3' 7.6464" N, 86° 29' 21.5088" W
US

Vesuvius, Ohio (OH)

In 1919 Ironton, Ohio had the first professional football team call the Ironton Tanks.  There is an old story in Ironton that says that professional football player, George Anderson McAffee would jog at Lake Vesuvius on the over 25 miles of hiking trails while preparing for the football season.  One cannot help but wonder if he did a little rock climbing to strengthen his biceps while he was there.  A historic iron furnace is located at the base of the dam. The narrows of Storms Creek offered a site for this lake, which was dammed in 1939 by the Civilian Conservation Corp. The rugged hills and out-cropping cliffs offer a scenic backdrop that is primed for some nice climbing adventures.

Location

Vesuvius, Ohio
1515 South 3rd Street Ironton, OH 45638-2141
United States
38° 31' 25.5972" N, 82° 40' 34.626" W
US

Warren County, Kentucky (KY)

Warren County, Kentucky is a dry, backwoods county seated upon Native American villages and burial mounds.  The land in this area is predominantly flat, so the striking boulders and climbs that are hidden among the farmlands and along the Gasper River are considered treasures to locals and sightseers alike.  This is a fun area to explore as all of the climbs are dispersed quite a bit apart and the majority of the land is privately owned.  Be careful, watch for no trespassing signs and if there is ever a doubt, you can contact the Kentucky Rock & Sports Trust, Inc. (KRST) and they will have the latest information. The climbs are short, pumpy, and mostly overhanging on limestone and sandstone. There are several cracks, but most of the rock is edgy or pocketed.  This is not a huge climbing area, but it is worth mentioning for those who like to explore uncharted territory.

Location

Warren County, Kentucky
United States
37° 8' 57.48" N, 86° 23' 11.4" W
US

Whipps Ledges, Ohio (OH)

On March 15 of every year, buzzards arrive in large flocks at the town, as if on a very exact biological clock. The town began celebrating the arrival of the birds in 1957, and today as many as 50,000 visitors visit the Hinckley Reservation in the town annually on "Buzzard Day" to witness the return of the avian residents. Hinckley is exactly five miles square but contains 1133 acres more than the conventional 16,000 acres, due to the hills and valleys and generally 'wrinkled' surface.  Some of these hills and valleys have formed Whipps Ledges, a nice little spot for some rock climbing and bouldering in Ohio. Be advised that permits are required! They are free with proof of $300,000 combined bodily injury and property damage insurance, and can be requested from:

Visitors Services Division
Cleveland Metroparks
Administative Offices
101 Fulton Parkway
Cleveland, OH 44114
Telephone- 216-351-6300

You can also contact Mike Barnhart (216) 351-6300, Ext. 264, with the Cleveland Metro Parks system or the Cleveland Zoo.  Camping is by permit only, and then only in designated areas.

Location

Whipps Ledges, Ohio
United States
41° 13' 17.04" N, 81° 42' 32.4" W
US

Willow River State Park, Wisconsin (WI)

Settlers moved in to Willow River State Park, and by 1830 logging and wheat farming were common in the Willow River Valley. The river was invaluable for the former, as logs were floated downstream to the St. Croix. A German immigrant, Christian Burkhardt, realized the river could also be harnessed for the latter industry, and built a grist mill here in 1868. Burkhardt became a wealthy landowner and followed developments in water-powered industry. Burkhardt eventually built four power plants and dams on the river, which provided electricity to Hudson. Northern States Power purchased Burkhardt's power company in 1945 and operated its sites until 1963, when damage to one of the plants from a lightning strike prompted the company to liquidate their Willow River holdings. In 1967 Northern States Power sold the land to the Wisconsin Conservation Commission for a state park, and stabilized the dams at a financial loss. The state park opened in 1971. Some of the dams were removed in the 1990s to improve the scenery and trout fishery, and now only one remains. What also remains is some amazing rock climbing opportunities.

Location

Willow River State Park, Wisconsin
United States
45° 0' 45" N, 92° 40' 59.88" W
US

Witches Hills, Ohio (OH)

The story of Witches Hills as widely circulated among various ghost websites by anonymous sources is that a woman accused of witchcraft was executed and buried at this cemetery.  The townsfolk did not erect a marker, but instead built an iron fence around her grave, which was next to an old tree.  An indentation next to the tree inside the fence marks her grave. Whether or not you believe that “witches” were sacrificed on the hills near Athens, Ohio, the little concentration of rocks that lies on these hills is a great opportunity for fresh boulderers, young and old to develop their problem solving skills.

Location

Witches Hills, Ohio
22245 SR 78 Nelson, Ohio
United States
41° 21' 18.7092" N, 80° 58' 25.914" W
US