Tennessee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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