Elevation: 2,837 ft
GPS: 35.867, -84.894 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 6,939 total · 102/month
Shared By: Jeff Thilking on Sep 17, 2013
Admins: saxfiend, Brad "Stonyman" Killough
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Black Mountain could be called "Rocktown's Little Brother". The area is like a huge maze, with hallways and tunnels formed by the cliffs and huge boulders. The area lies at 2,900 feet on the Cumberland Plateau and is the focal point of the Cumberland Trail State Park which is currently under development.

Back in 2001, Black Mountain was purchased by the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundationtenngreen.org (TPGF) to preserve the area long term. Black Mountain is known for spectacular views and compact, short sandstone cliffs. By purchasing the land, the area will remain wild and undeveloped for the public to enjoy. The 528-acre conservation project is the biggest accomplishment in the TPGF's history. The recent acquisition was critical to completing a 283-mile long linear state park. The SCC joined the TPGF along with the Access Fund (AF) in donating money for the area. The AF approved a grant for $5000 to help keep the area open to climbers. The SCC sponsored a cleanup of the area during the fall of 2001, followed by a mini-bouldering session by all of the enthused volunteers. New bouldering areas have been discovered within the forest which is slowly being developed by local climbers.

The cliffs primarily hold all the top-rope routes; be sure to bring LOTS of webbing (50ft. or more) for anchors. There are also hundreds of boulders with established problems as well as a ton of potential. Some of the freestanding pillars have got to be holding some undiscovered routes, not to mention the boulders that are hiding farther out in the woods. The area has suffered abuse by people dumping trash in the past. Now that the Cumberland Trail runs right through the area, the trash situation has gotten better but please be sure not to leave any trash behind. There is a water source across the road from the first parking area, but it typically does not flow much, so bring all the water that you will need for the day. Black Mt. may not be as classic as Foster's or the Obed, but if you are looking for a new spot to explore - Black Mt. is a worthwhile venture.
- Jim Looney

(Information taken from seclimbers.org)

Getting There

Black Mountain lies west of Knoxville, Tennessee off of Interstate 40, near Crossville, TN. From I-40, take the Crab Orchard exit (east of Crossville) go south approx. 2 miles to a 4 way intersection (you will NOT have a Stop sign). Turn left onto Owls Roost Rd. and follow it up to Black Mountain. There are two areas to park. The first is at the base of the first radio tower you will see on your right - walk back across the road to find the trail and rocks. The second parking area is all the way at the top of Black Mt. where the road ends - walk around the fence to find the trail that leads to the rocks. The Dixie Cragger has a fair topographic map.

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Jesse James
Knoxville, TN
Jesse James   Knoxville, TN
The second parking area seems to be closed off now, but the first parking area is a huge lot on the right side just next a to the radio tower.

I'm surprised more people don't climb here, definitely a lot of potential for short sport routes and boulder problems. Anyone know why the old anchors were chopped, or if new bolts can be added? Jul 3, 2016
I bouldered here for the first time in March of 2017. This place is amazing. Tons of potential. I cleaned out several pockets and nailed some high ball first ascents up lichen covered rock. The rock is a bit brittle and has potential to break. The high balls are as high as you want to go. The landings are pretty solid for trying too. I recommend you take a small saw to cut down saplings at the bases of the boulders for your crash pad to be put down. You will also need a couple big soft brushes. The rock is untouched and pockets are full of dirt and ferns (and scorpions). I think this is a nice mix of red river sandstone and vedawoo, chew your hands to shreds, conglomerate. I can't wait to go back !! Mar 26, 2017
It's never a good idea to recommend cutting trees/saplings down for whatever reason...this is a general rule for most any area because most land owners don't like for natural areas to be altered/landscaped and this can many times jeopardize future access! Mar 27, 2017
Micah McCrotty
Micah McCrotty   Knoxville
I see there is some discussion about development, so I'll just comment that there are some climbers trying to begin the process of working with the park to reopen the area to climbing with intention, as it was in the past. The Cumberland Climber's Coalition would probably be the people to talk to if you're interested in being a constructive part of that effort.

facebook.com/Cumberland-Cli… Apr 13, 2017
Ryan Tabor
Ryan Tabor   Tennessee
I was born and raised in Crossville, the nearest town to Black Mountain, unless you want to call Crab Orchard a town lol. So I've done a ton of climbing from top rope to bouldering and even a few of the old sport routes. I'm pretty stoked to hear about development! My buddy who I always climbed with's dad was one of the earlier climbers of Black Mountain. Back in the late 80's and early 90's they did a ton of climbing throughout the area and put up lots of routes. There are still a few old anchors but the place has a ton of potential. I went up there with him one time and he told me about an old guidebook they had made with descriptions of all their routes, but after the park management chopped almost all of their bolts he lost it. His name is Jason Kemmer, so if you wanted you could maybe reach out to him via facebook and see if he might have it somewhere. Otherwise super stoked and would love to be a part of development! Jul 12, 2017