Bouldering is one of the most accessible ways to kickstart your outdoor climbing career in Georgia. The good news for Metro-Atlanta residents is that North Georgia has no shortage of bouldering. That said, some of the more popular spots—like Rocktown and Boat Rock—can get pretty crowded on the weekends. If you’re looking to explore new areas, experiment with different styles, and nab a quiet session for you and your crew, try one of these oft-overlooked bouldering spots instead.
Similar in style to Boat Rock, the Shaking Rock zone offers dozens of short, engaging problems on high-quality granite. It’s located close to Athens, on land that once belonged to the Creek and Cherokee peoples. Because most of the boulders are very close to one another, this is a great spot to bring a group with varied interests, as you’ll never have to wander far to find something new. Another bonus: The guidebook for this area is currently free online.
- Hairy Hold (V2)
- Snake Eyes (V3)
- The Spoon (V5)
Shaking Rock is managed by Oglethorpe County Parks and Rec, which means it’s free to visit, but dogs must be kept on a leash and camping isn’t permitted. Be sure to pick up after yourself and stay on established trails whenever possible.
Zahnd Wildlife Management Area
Home to several dozen problems on unique conglomerate stone, Zahnd Wildlife Management Area is a swath of Cherokee/Yuchi land located about a 90-minute drive northwest of Kennesaw, near the Alabama border. A short approach and a wide variety of climbing grades make this one a popular spot among beginners and local pros alike. Other bonuses: It’s usually way less crowded than nearby Rocktown, and it’s not subject to the same hunting closures.
- The Turret (V4)
- Razor’s Edge (V6)
- Harvest Moon (V8)
You’ll need a Georgia hunting or fishing license to visit the WMA, even just for climbing. Be careful to park only in designated areas and pack out all trash and food waste.