Family Friendly Obed Trip


Original Post
Zabadoo · · Grand Rapids, MI · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 0

Looking for some advise from those who have been to the Obed.  I'm going to be in the Knoxville area next week with the family (my parents like south of Knoxsville) and was wondering how family friendly the Obed is? More specifically I am wondering what the best crag would be to set up an easy top rope (≤ 5.8) for the kids?  I have three kids between the ages of 3 to 8 and a 7mo puppy, so we will need some space for folks who are not actively climbing at the base.  Also it'd be great to have something other than climbing to do?  I saw that there is a waterfall close by and, like all kids, mine love to play in creeks.  Is there an accessible place for kids to play in the creek and cool off?

I'm leaning towards North Clear Creek in the morning until it gets too hot and then south in the afternoon after a play in the creek and lunch.  Is there a glaring problem with this plan if my family is pretty accustomed to spending the day outside?

Jameson Young · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 0

I would also look into little clear creek as well. There are a couple easier routes there, down to a 5.5.  And don't forget the over look, its always worth a visit with a very shaded trail out to it

Chuck Parks · · Atlanta, GA · Joined Jan 2008 · Points: 1,886

Jameson hit the nail on the head with Little Clear. It's a shorter, easier approach which involves a creek crossing the kids will enjoy. All the easy routes are bolted: you don't need to haul a bunch of gear out there along with all the kid's stuff. Once you work your way down to the River Wall there's a nice swimming area right there.

Also the trailhead parking for Little Clear is the same for the main swimming hole downstream from the bridge. So when you're done with Little Clear you can go explore that and swim some more if you want. Or you can walk across the bridge and hike up to Lily Bluff -- even all the way to the overlook up top if everyone's fired up. Or you can hop in the car and drive to the top, where the hike is much easier. You could even go check out the boulder field, but I suspect everyone will run out of energy way before then.

North/South clear is a much longer hike, which might cause some misery with tired kids at the end of the day. The cliffline is pretty far removed from the river there, so you can't just pop down easily for a quick swim like you can at Little Clear.

Zabadoo · · Grand Rapids, MI · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 0

Thanks Jameson and Chuck!

This is exactly the kind of advice I needed and is hard to get except through folks who have actually been there.

My wife is super into water falls and I keep finding obscure pictures of one in the area.  Will that be close to Little Clear creek?

paul.adams.3 · · Knoxville, TN · Joined Sep 2012 · Points: 15

That waterfall looks like one that is to the left of Lily Bluff.  Instead of hiking right to the climbing, just swing a left at the cliff line.  It should be flowing pretty well with all the rain we're having.  Lily Bluff is a super short approach, although there isn't anything under 5.9.  I would definitely advise you to not try to hike from North to South Clear.  It would be a long hike with kids.  Also, south clear is probably just as hot as north clear.  I would also say that the hike to Little Clear isn't exactly a gimme.  There's a creek crossing and a steep up hill.  Not terrible, just know what you're getting in to.  There is a swimming hole down past the river wall.  Just follow the trail til it ends, head down to the creek and go right.  Can't miss it.  It's one of my favorite places to swim and there's a small waterfall and a rock to jump off.  Beautiful

Chuck Parks · · Atlanta, GA · Joined Jan 2008 · Points: 1,886

I think that's a picture of one of the waterfalls (Melton Mill Branch) off of the trail that goes from the bridge to the top of Lilly Bluff. I found a really nice photo journal some guy posted that details that hike. Also shows a picture of the main swimming hole below Lilly Bridge.

I'm pretty sure there's a cascade somewhere around the swimming hole at Little Clear as well, but I don't recall for sure. I only went down to that swimming hole once, and it was years ago. There are tons of falls, cascades and rapids all over the place at the Obed. If you end up at the Lilly Pad, ask Del or Marte and I'm sure they can direct you to all kinds of cool stuff. Just make sure the pup stays on a leash at the Lilly Pad. There have been incidents with the chickens...

Zabadoo · · Grand Rapids, MI · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 0

You're funny Chuck.  My puppy would love to play shake with some chickens to be sure.

I have one more since you guys have been so helpful in regards to Look Rock access.  Base camp for our long weekend is actually Maryville (the wrong side of Knoxville in my opinion).  I saw that Look Rock is listed in the areas but has a warning about access due to NPS.  Is this a "climb with the risk of getting a ticket, but you probably won't see a ranger thing"... or is this more of a "A Ranger will find you, take your climbing gear and jail you and the only reason the area is on MP is because its from before they stopped climbing access on NPS land"?  I would love to get out and plug a little gear with my dad one or two of the mornings since this is 15min away from his house.

Chuck Parks · · Atlanta, GA · Joined Jan 2008 · Points: 1,886

Sorry, I don't know anything about Look Rock. Besides that cryptic note in Mountain Project, I can find no evidence that climbing isn't allowed there. A more recent entry on Roots Rated seems to indicate that it's fine to climb there. Do be advised that because it's on National Park land, the dog probably isn't allowed to come along.

Jessie Fae · · Boulder, CO · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 0

watch out for copper heads if you go to the Obed. 

waldo · · Knoxville, TN · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 0

Lilly bluff or little clear may be what your looking for. I take my kids to both areas. Lilly bluff is a much better choice with the short hike and the three bolted anchors in the cave. These routes are there just for kids. Pm me if your looking for a partner, I'm always looking for an excuse to take my kids climbing. 

Zabadoo · · Grand Rapids, MI · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 0
waldo wrote:

Lilly bluff or little clear may be what your looking for. I take my kids to both areas. Lilly bluff is a much better choice with the short hike and the three bolted anchors in the cave. These routes are there just for kids. Pm me if your looking for a partner, I'm always looking for an excuse to take my kids climbing. 

Are the three cave routes on MP? I didn't see anything I would consider moderate.  Are they the early vertical sections of some of the other harder routes?  If so that might work perfect for us as I would like to have a couple goes at a harder (11+, 12-) climb.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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