The confluence of Clear Creek and the Obed River are home of a series of beautiful sandstone cliff bands and some of the best sport climbing in the Southeast. Just bring a rack of draws, a stick clip (high first bolts are commonplace in these parts), and guns (double entendre intended). The rock here is Cumberland Plateau sandstone, and the sedimentary layering of the rock tends to form huge horizontal roofs, jugs, and slopers. The rock is generally bullet hard and provides good friction. Climbing happens year-round — chase the shade or sun depending on the season.
There are several camping areas but by far the best is Del & Marti Scruggs' place. Del lives in the heart of the Obed and has quite a bit of land that he graciously offers to traveling climbers: As you drive into the Obed, after passing Doc Howard Road on the left, Ridge Road drops steeply down to the Lilly Bridge. Just before this drop there is a mailbox and a gravel drive to the right. Turn here and bear left at the fork. Camping rules and the pay kiosk are on the left (the fee is $5 per person, per night). If you make use of this incredible resource please leave the area nicer than you found it and be considerate: The Scruggs live right amongst the "campsites" which are actually just pulloffs along their driveway. Make sure to bring food/beer/stories to share around the fire on weekends!
About 45 minutes NW of Knoxville. Take highway 27 North through Harriman and Wartburg. Take a left onto highway 62 and follow this windy road through the town of Lancing. After about three miles, turn left again on Ridge Road. This road brings one to the Obed and Clear Creek after only a few miles. For more specific directions, see the area pages.
Anyone been to the little clear creek area lately? I headed down the trail today after finding too much ice and melt on Lily Bluffs. Took the trail right by the bathroom by the bridge and followed it to the creek, which was 3 feet deep and raging. Is there a good crossing or bridge I don't know about or should I just ditch the boots and roll up my pants?
@Jeff sorry this is a little late, but whenever I got to Little Clear I just take my shoes off and wade (but there could be a better way I don't know about!). I did it this past January (brr!) and the water was frigid but totally worth it, you just gotta choose between wider and shallower or narrow but deeper.
Hey thanks for the info, I barefooted too it in Feb and March and it was hella cold but also worth it. When the trail veers right there used to be a log bridge to the left but it was washed away(more like collapsed, logs are still there ) a couple of months ago. I'll probably try to bring fishing chest waders and rebuild it in the next couple of weeks.