Sand Rock has been a go-to climbing destination since 1972 due to its top quality routes and rock. You may encounter some rowdy locals partying, but if you can get past this, it's well worth the visit.
With a few hundred routes ascending the freestanding sandstone pinnacles, Sand Rock is worth a weekend trip for the climber looking for the clip-and-go ease of sport climbing. Classic trad-routes and bouldering problems are also plentiful, so Sand Rock certainly has something for everyone. Beautiful sandstone spires with some truly classic sport and trad routes, and around every corner is more rock – the place is huge. The views from the top of the blocks are spectacular, and exposure on some of the routes is electrifying. The rock formations are striking and unique, and the rock quality is generally pretty great.
What Makes It Great
There’s a newly constructed bathhouse with running water, toilets, and showers, a covered pavilion, and office at the entrance to the park.There are no water sources except for in the bath house, so take plenty of water. The closest town is about 10 minutes back down the mountain and has gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants.
Aesthetically, the park is a juxtaposition; the pinnacles and cliff-faces are beautiful and unique formations, but many are tarnished by evidence of the mischief and debauchery that sometimes occurs after dark when misguided local youth take to the woods to participate in communal vice. Fill up a trash bag while you’re there and leave the park in better shape than you found it.
Still, for climbers, Sand Rock is a top-notch, perhaps underrated, climbing destination that can be an easy day-trip from Birmingham, Atlanta, or Chattanooga. Pitches range from 30 to 80 feet with grades ranging from 5.6 to 5.13 , with many of the classics ranging from 5.8 to 5.12. Campsites are littered along the edge of the parking lot, and a few more are tucked away past the lot and down the service road.
Who is Going to Love It
Sport climbers have a haven in Sand Rock. A rope, a harness, a full rack of quickdraws, and a competent buddy are all that’s needed to get 60-100 feet off the deck. Don’t expect a serene natural environment as much of the park has plentiful evidence of people, and popular routes can get busy on weekends, so there might be a wait for some of them.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Camping, day use and parking is free. To get there, Follow HWY 411 toward Rome and pass the city. Just outside of Rome, take a right onto HWY 53. Go through Cave Spring and Centre, AL to Leesburg. Take a right onto HWY 68 and continue nearly three miles. Keep an eye out for signs for the village of Sand Rock. Take a left onto CR 36 and go about a mile and a half to CR 70. At this point you should see signs for Cherokee Rock Village. Lake a left onto CR 70 and go up the mountain ridge right into the Sand Rock parking lot.