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Cherokee Bluff TN

Cherokee Bluff, while small, is a unique and very valuable East Tennessee climbing resource. The existence of such a crag just a rocks throw from the heart of Knoxville is amazing. Perhaps more amazing is the fact that access has been able to be maintained over the years.

The limestone bluff offers over 45 routes of all grades, all sport. Be aware that the access trail comes into the middle of the bluff, which overlooks Ft. Loudon Lake. This means lower routes must be accessed be rappel and then led with a hanging belay or top roped from a top belay. Please be careful! A serious injury or death would shut the place down. Chris Watford's Dixie Cragger's Atlas contains a good guide to the bluff.

To get there, take Alcoa Highway (129 South) out of downtown Knoxville towards the airport. After passing the Marine Reserve Center, turn right onto Mont Lake. Take the first right onto Craighead, following it to the fork where you bear left to the dead end. Take the trail off to the right into the woods. It is a short walk the bluff.

The owner of the Bluff itself does not object to climbing. With the assistance of the Access Fund, early liability concerns were addressed and a line of communication is maintained with him. As new homes go in on the road, a danger of objections by new residents to parking problems, noise, etc. exists. For this reason all climbers should take care to not interfere with any driveways, keep down noise, pick up any trash you can, and in any contacts with folks, put your best foot forward. To comply with city ordinances, park parallel to and within one foot of the curb. If possible carpool to the site; parking space is limited.


Climber info signs are going in soon; if they are not there please pass that fact on. Non-climbers may remove them. Partying, drinking, dope dealing and anonymous sexual activity have all been problems at the dead end of the road in. The presence of climbers has at times actually helped reduce these problems but be aware! Please report any problems to Frank Harvey, Access Fund regional coordinator at faharvey@aol.com.