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Areas in Sunset Park

Sunset North 65 / 0 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 65
Sunset South 48 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 48

Description

Stretching along the western face of Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga is Sunset Park, home of some of Tennessee's finest single-pitch trad climbing.

Sunset has a long and interesting history, both for climbers and Civil War buffs. Lookout Mountain was an important vantage point for observation of troop movements during the siege of Chattanooga. Climbers began scaling the excellent sandstone back in the early 60s; Rusty's Crack, one of the earliest ascents, remains a classic.

Route development continued through the 60s and 70s, with pioneers like Tim McMillan, Stan Wallace and Bill Smith putting up numerous lines on old-school gear. In the 80s, the ubiquitous Rob Robinson and Forrest Gardner pushed the grades ever higher at Sunset with their ground-up trad first ascents of strenuous routes like The Prow.

Sunset has a great variety of climbing for anyone from beginners to the hardest trad leaders (there is no sport climbing at Sunset due to a total ban on fixed protection). New leaders can try their skills on routes like One-Ten, while 5.12s like Jennifer's World will make the most experienced leaders stop and think. And there's plenty to toprope for non-leaders.

Because it's a west-facing crag, Sunset is a nice destination in the summer months; it stays in the shade until well after lunchtime. This makes it a chilly place to climb in the wintertime, however.

Some important considerations:

  • Sunset is a national park, so to help maintain future climber access, be aware of and observe all park regulations. One of the most important of these is to be off the crag before sundown; this is strictly enforced and rangers will be waiting at the trailhead to write you a hefty ticket after sundown.
  • This is a residential neighborhood, and residents' attitude toward climbers tends to be hostile. Keep noise to a minimum and park only in designated areas (parking at the trailhead is extremely limited).
  • Erosion has been an issue on the crag trail, and the Southeastern Climbers Coalition has been active in work to remediate this problem. Stay off sections that are closed due to erosion.
  • Being an urban crag, there is no camping anywhere near Sunset Park. If you want to camp, you'll have to head over to nearby Tennessee Wall or Prentice Cooper State Forest.

The Dixie Cragger's Atlas is the guidebook for this area.

Getting There

In downtown Chattanooga, take exit 178 off I-24 onto U.S. 27 north, then exit to Market Street. Continue to a left on Broad Street (going south) and follow this for several traffic lights and under a railroad overpass. Watch for signs for Ruby Falls and turn left onto a ramp; this is the South Scenic Highway (148). Follow this up the mountain past the Ruby Falls entrance, then turn in at the Cravens House historic site and park in either the upper or lower parking area. From the upper parking area, hike the wooded trail.

For access to Sunset North, continue up the Cravens House trail for about 20-30 minutes; this will bring you to the north end of the North section in the area of routes like Slip Stream and Bubble Bath. For access to Sunset South, either hike to the North section as above and continue through to the South section; or shortly after leaving the Cravens House parking, look for a fork trail on the right (Rifle Pits Trail). Follow this for about 10 minutes to a sort of access road (Upper Truck Trail) and continue another 10 minutes to the intersection with the Gum Spring Trail on the left. Take this fork and hike up to the main cliffline trail, turning right for Sunset South. NOTE: These two alternate ways of getting to Sunset South are about equal in length, though the Gum Spring Trail is somewhat steeper.

113 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Sunset Park

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 69
One-Ten
Trad
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 66
Blonde Ambition
Trad
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 47
Afternoon Delight
Trad
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 51
Walk in the Park
Trad
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 60
Bill's Route
Trad
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 62
Stan's Crack
Trad 2 pitches
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 57
S'More
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 33
Wind Walker
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 66
R.J. Gold
Trad
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 42
Second Sun
Trad
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 51
Jefferson Airplane
Trad
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 38
Train Time
Trad
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 27
Silent Runner
Trad
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 51
Rusty's Crack
Trad
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 27
Flagstone
Trad
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
One-Ten Sunset North
 69
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad
Blonde Ambition Sunset South
 66
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Afternoon Delight Sunset South
 47
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Walk in the Park Sunset South
 51
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Bill's Route Sunset North
 60
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Stan's Crack Sunset North
 62
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 2 pitches
S'More Sunset North
 57
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Wind Walker Sunset South
 33
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
R.J. Gold Sunset North
 66
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Second Sun Sunset South
 42
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad
Jefferson Airplane Sunset North
 51
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Train Time Sunset South
 38
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Silent Runner Sunset South
 27
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Rusty's Crack Sunset North
 51
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Flagstone Sunset North
 27
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad
More Classic Climbs in Sunset Park »

Weather Averages

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ChillFancy
Chattanooga, TN
ChillFancy   Chattanooga, TN
Just giving everyone an update on climbing at Sunset. The climbing regulations are posted at LINK Please use tree pads when using them for anchors. You will get ticketed for bare webbing on trees. Hope to see you out there! Mar 18, 2012
Blake Cash
Chattanooga, TN
Blake Cash   Chattanooga, TN
Why would anyone hike DOWN the rifle pits trail, across the upper truck trail, then back UP the gum springs trail? That's horrible hiking beta. You can just stick to the Bluff trail the whole way...it's flat the whole time. From Cravens it's 1.5 miles to Sunset. Sep 24, 2012
LOST GEAR!!!

I have lost a yellow TCU. Would have been left this past Saturday Nov. 3 around either RJ Gold area or further down by Jug Mania. If found please email me @ lee.collette022@gmail.com. The piece can be identified by turquoise nail polish on the under side of the center lobe. Thanks. Nov 7, 2012
kenny m  
Found something at the top of "Fun with dick and Jane". Describe what it is and ill get it back to you. kenee1010@yahoo.com Sep 20, 2013


You can download a FREE Sunset Park Day Guide from Rockery Press by clicking on the following link: rockerypress.com/free-day-g…

Sunset Park Free Guide includes:
Driving & Approach Beta
Rules & Recommendations
Several days of route descriptions and recommendations Oct 13, 2014
David Koslowski
Albany, NY
David Koslowski   Albany, NY
A laundry-basket-sized rock got pulled off an overhang by a lead climber on Screamwall Direct (Sunset North) and hit his belayer this past Saturday. They both walked out of there, miraculously; belayer probably needed stitches in a couple places on his head, messed up his leg a bit; as a reminder please consider that sandstone can be weaker for at least a day after it rains (I know that's tough in this area during the summer, I know the sandstone is apparently higher quality also) and whatever your climbing choice in that regard please wear a helmet, for your sake and the people around you. Jul 25, 2016
Is there any bouldering on Lookout Mountain/at Sunset? I'm heading to LM for Thanksgiving and am hoping to duck out a climb a few times. In previous visits, I've found a few small but okay stones in a little park off Oak(?) St., but some variety would be nice.
Thanks,
Will Nov 20, 2016
Buddy of mine found a rope this morning (1/25), that was apparently forgotten (didn't appear to be stashed). If you have a description, send an email out to hgpilot@gmail.com to arrange a pick-up. Jan 25, 2017
Mason M
Carrollton
Mason M   Carrollton
Found some gear at one-ten this past Sunday. If it's yours or you know who's it is describe it and I'll get it back to you! Oct 23, 2017

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