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Obed & Clear Creek

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Obed & Clear Creek Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 1,165'
Location: 36.1166, -84.7317 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 281,121
Administrators: saxfiend, Brad "Stonyman" Killough, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Josh Janes on Nov 28, 2006

76° | 61°

65° | 45°

59° | 36°

53° | 37°

62° | 44°

66° | 45°
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Such a scenic area (Clear Creek/Obed)


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!

Getting There 

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.

Climbing Season

Weather station 2.3 miles from here

352 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',49],['3 Stars',147],['2 Stars',106],['1 Star',36],['Bomb',4]

Classic Climbing Routes in Obed & Clear Creek

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Obed & Clear Creek:
Rocking Chair   5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Lilly Bluff
Shadowhawk   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   South Clear Creek : Image Wall
Best Seat In The House   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 85'   South Clear Creek : The Balcony
Christine   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   South Clear Creek : Stephen King Library
Tarantella   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   Lilly Bluff
Ticks Are For Kids   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Lilly Bluff
Cheap Seats   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   South Clear Creek : The Balcony
Spawn   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   South Clear Creek : Image Wall
Double Feature   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   South Clear Creek : The Balcony
Dinosaur Jr.   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Lilly Bluff
Alchemy   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 50'   South Clear Creek : The Balcony
Pale Face   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   South Clear Creek : The Balcony
Pet Semetery   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   South Clear Creek : Stephen King Library
Whipper Snapper   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   Lilly Bluff
Lounge Lizard   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Lilly Bluff
Tales of the Sperm   5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 85'   Tieranny Roofs
Saddam Hussein   5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 2 pitches, 110'   North Clear Creek : North Clear Creek
Clyde the Mega Dude   5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Lilly Bluff
Heresy   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport   Lilly Bluff
Solstice   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   South Clear Creek : Solstice Cave
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Obed & Clear Creek

Featured Route For Obed & Clear Creek
Rock Climbing Photo: Obediah

Obediah V5 6C  Tennessee : Obed & Clear Creek : ... : The Warm-Up Wall
A Nice Roof Problem, Start low under the roof and work out to the arete. Top out With nice highball....[more]   Browse More Classics in Tennessee

Photos of Obed & Clear Creek Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Pocketeer 5.11b
Pocketeer 5.11b
Rock Climbing Photo: the dirty south
the dirty south
Rock Climbing Photo: Gunslinger 5.11d
Gunslinger 5.11d
Rock Climbing Photo: Tang 5.12a
Tang 5.12a
Rock Climbing Photo: May be tieranny roofs......really not sure was a l...
May be tieranny roofs......really not sure was a l...

Comments on Obed & Clear Creek Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 11, 2017
By TKHouse
Dec 8, 2011
Worth noting there's now a fantastic full-color guide to the Obed:

A great investment for any climber who frequents the area!
By Peter Winter
Oct 15, 2012
The Obed area is great. Staying at Del and Marty's is a treat as well. However, the bolts on pretty much all the routes are extremely rusty and need to be replaced.
By Jeff Thilking
From: Lynchburg, VA
Feb 4, 2013
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?
By Jeff Edge
May 15, 2013
@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.
By Jeff Thilking
From: Lynchburg, VA
May 23, 2013
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.
By Chet Butterworth
From: Chattanooga
Oct 2, 2013
Any word on how the government shut down has impacted the Obed? I know it's a part of the National Parks System.
By Tom Gnyra
Feb 25, 2014
any good spots to meet partners at obed? we're going as three and would like a forth probably.
By adam brink
From: Boulder, CO
Mar 4, 2014
Is it possible to climb in the Obed in July? Is there enough shade to chase to make it worth it?
By Jared Krauss
Mar 11, 2014
Any info on where to meet climbers for Obed would be great. Going with my family next week to Gatlinburg and would love to get on some
Rock at Obed. I'm not sure if my rope (new 9.4) will be in yet but I've got draws.

Not sure when I would go climbing, it's up for discussion. We'll be in TN from the 15 to the 20. Could go any day or two. Sport 5.9-510c/d is where I'm at. Happy to be a gun, or follow up
Some harder routes.
By Dave Vaughan
From: Boulder, CO
Dec 24, 2014
Unless you and your car are ready for Nascar, expect about 1:15 to 1:30 from Knoxville depending on starting point. Super fun sandstone!
By Ryan Nelling
Mar 30, 2017
I think I left a pair of blue La Sportiva TX2 approach shoes, size 40 EU, at South Clear. If anyone finds 'em a PM would be most appreciated! Gracias.
By Mitch Redford
Oct 11, 2017
I noticed that must of the trad routes here don't have anchors, do most people just top out and rap of a tree?

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