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Access Issue: Closed (Private Property) Details


Cherokee Bluff is currently closed to climbing. This page will be updated if anything changes.


This area has a handful of sport routes located a short distance from downtown Knoxville. Half of the routes are accessed from a trail midway up the bluff and the other half are accessed by rappelling down from the trail. The cliff is right next to (and in) Ft. Loudon Lake. Sunny and exposed. And usually not many climbers. A great place for a little afternoon climbing if you're tired of the gym.

Getting There

Take Alcoa Highway (129 South) out of downtown Knoxville. Turn right onto Montlake Dr. after 2-4 miles. Take the first right onto Craighead, bear left at the fork to a dead end. There will be a short trail to your right. Take to get to the bluff.

Routes from Left to Right

5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
All Chalked Up and Nowhere To Go
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Die Capitalist Dog
Trad, Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
All Chalked Up and Nowhere…
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13 Sport
Die Capitalist Dog
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, Sport

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Jonathan Petsch
Chattanooga, TN
[Hide Comment] Just for your information, this area has been closed to climbing. Aug 29, 2010
Andrew R.
Linden, VA
[Hide Comment] Anyone know why this place was closed? Was it by the people who own the big ass house on the hill or by the city??? Any work on getting it open ever again? Dec 20, 2010
Reece Henson
Knoxville, TN
[Hide Comment] apparently someone (not a climber) tried to jump off the top so the owners saw it as a liability. I have talked to the access fund about opening it back up but haven't really gotten far. Feb 3, 2011
Benjamin Chapman
Small Town, USA
[Hide Comment] Thank you for your efforts, Reece. Jul 2, 2013
Brad Caldwell
Deep in the Jocassee Gorges
[Hide Comment] Don't forget Khowe765 that this property is private property and has, as you mentioned, No Trespassing signs on it...trying to find another way to climb this area is still trespassing. For general future access sake in this area, please don't trespass, and if you do, please don't advertise it across the internet. Cherokee Bluffs is a small fish in a big pond and access problems definitely don't need to originate from here. Sep 26, 2013
kyle howe
Knoxville, TN
[Hide Comment] ETCC is currently working on projects to re-open Cherokee Bluffs, possibly partnering with the Legacy Parks Foundation. The landowner wants to preserve the land, but is not willing to let climbers climb there for liability reasons.

In the meantime, DO NOT climb here, as climbing could jeopardize any negotiations that may occur in the future. Feb 11, 2014
[Hide Comment] I just saw a few climbers on Cherokee Bluff while running at a park across the river. Not sure if it's open or they were trespassing. Anyone got any updates? I stare at those cliffs all the time, I'd be super amped if they had been opened back up! Apr 23, 2014
Derrick Peppers
Terrebonne, OR
[Hide Comment] Awe. This is sad that Cherokee bluff is closed. My first climbing experiences were here in 2002. I made my first climbing friends and we’re shown the ropes. People were so kind to teach me how to be safe. I now work as a climbing guide with the AMGA in Smith Rock Oregon. I have learned trad, sport, bouldering, big wall, but never ice. I owe my growth as a climber to those people in Knoxville who gave there time and energy to show some random kid how to do things. It’s because of those people that I have had a chance to travel as a climber, live as a dirtbag. Be scared to death, and come out the other side a better person because of it. Thx Knoxville. Thx Cherokee bluffs. Nov 17, 2018