Just a short drive heading northwest out of Chattanooga, right along the Tennessee River, sits a fiery orange and magnificent sandstone cliff line called the Tennessee Wall.
Possibly more known as T-Wall by climbers, its climbing possibilities were first discovered in 1984 by local Chattanooga climbing legend, Rob Robinson, as well as his friends Arno Ilgner and Roger Fleming. The T-Wall is about two miles long and famous for its diverse features including cracks, aretes, dihedrals, and overhanging walls and roofs. Fall, winter, and spring are the best climbing seasons here due to the great amount of sun exposure and favorable temperatures.
T-Wall is mostly known for its traditional style of climbing with a few sport routes mixed in, boasting over 600 documented routes that are sure to keep you busy for years to come.
What Makes It Great
The Prentice Cooper State Forest owns and manages this breathtaking area, which includes miles of trails and roads for all kinds of recreational purposes, as well as the unimaginable amount of sandstone at T-Wall. The climber friendly attitude toward recreation here has lead to a steady development of the area, and there is still a lot more to be discovered. As a convenience to climbers, camping is allowed and free of charge near the main parking area when it isn’t closed for hunting season. The campsites each have fire rings available for you and your friends to stay warm and cook up a yummy post-climbing feast. You can pick up groceries at any of the local marts at the base of Signal Mountain, but if camp stove cooking isn’t your thing, Shuford’s BBQ, also at the base of Signal, is a popular recommendation.
Who is Going to Love It
Everyone from trad newbies, to hardcore veterans will love T-Wall.
In the words of Rob Robinson: "The Tennessee Wall is going to amaze, inspire, and delight you for as much time as you have here—be it days, weeks, or years.”
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Once you hit River Canyon/Mullens Cove Road, drive six miles, and then there will be a campsite parking lot for the T-Wall. There are seasonal hunting closures in the spring and fall. Don't sneak in, or you will be fined!
Note: The vast majority of routes at T Wall are traditionally protected and top-roping is difficult without leading at least one route to gain the top. The first time visitor would do well to hike up the aerobic approach trail (25 minutes), bang a right at the waterfall where the trail meets the cliff and press onward about 100' or so to this collection of nice routes, identified by a large boulder/walk through at the base.
For more information on parking, sections, routes and history of the T-Wall, be sure to pick up the newly released trad guide called ChatTrad or the Tennessee Wall guide book, both authored by Rob Robinson, available at any of the local climbing gyms and Rock/Creek shops.