Cherokee Rock Village Climbing Guide

Discover soaring cliffs and hundreds of climbs—all less than two hours west of downtown Kennesaw.

Cherokee Rock Village (CRV), formerly known as Sand Rock, is home to some of the most accessible high-quality stone in the Southeast. The two-hour proximity to metro Atlanta, plus the length of the approach itself—only about 100 feet from the parking area—is particularly hard to beat. So is the sheer variety of climbing. Here, you’ll find everything from juggy top-rope routes to techy crimp lines. At the Pinnacle, experienced leaders can pick their way up steep faces on CRV’s most famous freestanding tower. And at Fireplace Rock, challenging boulders abound. 

Of course, the only way to really understand the magic of CRV is to see it for yourself. This guide will outline everything you need to do just that, including:

  • Cherokee Rock Village History
  • Seasons
  • Recommended Routes
  • Other Activities 
  • Getting There
  • Permits and Camping

Cherokee Rock Village History

As you might expect from the name, the land surrounding Cherokee Rock Village has been of historical importance to Native peoples for centuries. This area of northeast Alabama is the historical homeland of the Cherokee, Shawnee, and Yuchi tribes.

Climbers first started recording first ascents in the area in the early 1970s. Back then, most of the new routes were trad lines. Then the bolting revolution arrived, and, by the ’90s, sport-climbing development had begun in earnest.

At that time, though, climbers remained the minority. CRV was a popular destination for ATVers, local delinquents, and graffiti artists, all of whom left their mark. For a while, it was hard to see past all the litter and spray paint. Then, in 2010, Cherokee County took notice. They bought up the land and cleaned it up with the help of the Southeastern Climbers Coalition. Now a beloved county park, CRV is one of the better-managed local climbing areas in the Southeast.  


Given the Alabama humidity, most climbers prefer visiting CRV when temps are cooler. Spring and fall tend to be most popular, with peak season striking in October and November. Around this time of year, temperatures are mild and rainfall is minimal.

Can’t help but visit on a rainy day? Head to The Hole or Sun Wall cliff, where steep overhangs keep the rock dry even when it’s pouring. The Sun Wall is also a great choice for chilly days, as it gets first light and holds heat until late afternoon. 

Recommended Routes

Cherokee Rock Village is practically eaten up with stellar climbs. Here are a few local favorites to try. 

Knob Wall (5.6, trad)

A first-time trad climber’s dream, Knob Wall offers straightforward climbing, giant holds, and a gorgeous view from the top. Be sure to bring plenty of slings; as the name indicates, rock knobs and horns abound.

Kennel Club (5.8, sport)

Big holds, safe falls, and more than 60 feet of consistent climbing make Kennel Club (aka That Eight) one of the most popular routes at CRV. (If you’re visiting on a weekend, come early; or be prepared to wait in line.) It’s a perfect first outdoor climb for new leaders. 

Comfortably Numb (5.9, top-rope)

Popular as both a trad lead and a top-rope route, Comfortably Numb was one of the first routes established in the CRV area during the local climbing community’s development spree in the 1970s. At about 120 feet long, it’s pumpy and demanding—making it an excellent challenge for climbers of all experience levels.

Misty (5.10b/c, sport)

Hands down the most classic sport route at CRV, Misty has a long and storied history. It was first bolted back in 1991 and has since come to exemplify the area’s varied style and stellar stone. The line arcs to the top of a striking, 90-foot panel of golden rock on the Sun Wall, carrying you through thin crimpers, juggy overhangs, and a techy bulge. It’s got a little something for everyone. Experienced leaders won’t be disappointed.

— For more route info, grab a copy of Dixie Cragger’s Atlas, the local guidebook. 

Other Activities 

Cherokee Rock Village is as popular among hikers and trail runners as it is among climbers, making it a great place to spend a weekend with the whole family, whether or not everyone climbs. The park boasts nearly 15 miles of trail, 100 tent sites, and dozens of species of unique birds. Come in the fall to catch sight of migrating hawks, and keep an eye out year-round for fluffy little Eastern phoebes, which make their nests in rocky crevices. 

Getting There

To get to Cherokee Rock Village from the north Atlanta/Kennesaw area, take Interstate 75 north until you reach Exit 290, after which you turn left onto state Route 20 toward Rome. After a few miles, take a left to get onto the ramp for U.S. Route 411N, continuing to follow signs toward Rome.

After Rome, keep left to stay on US-411 and take this all the way to Leesburg. In Leesburg, take a right to gain AL-68. After about 3 miles, hang a left onto County Road 36, which you’ll follow for 1.5 miles before taking another left onto County Road 70 toward Cherokee Rock Village. County Road 70 will take you to the parking area.

Permits and Camping 

You’ll need to pay a $7 day-use fee to enter the park. Camping is also available onsite near the parking area. It’s currently $18 per night, but can be much more economical with an annual pass. Reservations aren’t currently available online, but campers should register with the park office before setting up for the night. More info:

All articles are for general informational purposes.  Each individual’s needs, preferences, goals and abilities may vary.  Be sure to obtain all appropriate training, expert supervision and/or medical advice before engaging in strenuous or potentially hazardous activity.