Black Mountian TN
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 Foundation www.tenngreen.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
Local SCC contact:
Jim Looney firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional Info on Black Moutain from The Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation www.tenngreen.org
DIRECTIONS: 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.