Located along the Cumberland Trail, Black Mountain is a wonderful place to get started as a climber. At 2,900 feet, it's also one of the highest points on the Cumberland plateau, offering fantastic views. Known for spectacular views and short sandstone cliffs and boulders, Black Mountain consists of 528 acres of land, conserved and protected by the Tennessee Parks and Greenway Foundation.
Just outside of Maryville and Townsend is Look Rock, a small sandstone crag that sports boulders and cliffs up to about 40 feet tall. It has some excellent bouldering and top-roping, and there are some decent trad routes for beginners as well.
Red River Gorge is the American destination for sport climbing. Some New River Gorge folks might argue otherwise, and for pure climbing, they have a strong case. But the Red, with its centralized camping and slightly-less-remote location, makes it a very popular destination. And even though its reputation involves long, steep, pre-hung sport lines, there is also a lifetime's worth of trad climbing to be had here.