Rocky Fork State Park, TN


Area Rep: Shannon Millsaps: smillsaps@carolinaclimbers.org

We are very excited to announce that as of summer 2020, the Whitehouse Cliffs within Rocky Fork State Park are open to climbing access (with some current caveats)! Thank you for the support Rocky Fork State Park! 

SInce 2018, the CCC has been working with Rocky Fork to open climbing at the Whitehouse Cliffs. Powered by an Access Fund conservation grant and supported by Trango Climbing, the CCC organized a biological survey of the cliff with cliff ecology experts, conducted peregrine falcon monitoring, assisted construction of the Whitehouse cliffs trail, planned and constructed the Whitehouse Cliffs Base Trail, and created a cliff map of potential routes at the request of Rocky Fork State Park.  

There are several considerations before climbing at the Whitehouse: 

  • TN State Park online climbing registration is required before climbing at Rocky Fork. Write your registration number on paper and display on your dash.
  • If you do not have new routing experience or extensive trad climbing experience, you likely will not find many climbing options for at least another few months as routes go up.  The rock appears as if most potential routes will protect primarily by traditional means. Everything is unknown and "adventurous". Climb at your own risk. 
  • There are only a handful of completed routes at Whitehouse. Per TN State Parks, new routes require climbing registration and express permission from Rocky Fork State Park. At the request of RFSP, please email Tim at tim.pharis@tn.gov and copy info@carolinaclimbers.org with your plans for new routing and fixed anchor additions. This is a requirement of Rocky Fork and TN State Parks for new route additions. Rappell anchors must be placed below the cliff top edge to avoid trampling of sensitive cliff top species. Camou all hardware. Stainless hardware only. Use removable protection wherever possible. 
  • Due to sensitive cliff top vegetation, NO cliff top access and NO topping out. Due to these sensitive species, cliff top access for top roping, sport rappelling, or free soloing is not permitted. 
  • There are loose flakes on the cliff. Beware of people below, especially your belayer. Beware of what you pull on. Wear a helmet. Venomous snakes are prevelant. Due to hazards above and below, this is currently not a good environment for children and dogs. 
  • A base trail is under construction by CCC in coordination with RFSP. Beware while walking on the natural scree fields and attempt to not dislodge rocks while traversing the scree fields. Come on out and volunteer with the CCC to build this great (and challenging) base trail! 
  • The rock is quartzite. Routes appear to be in the 5.6?-5.12? range. 60-200+ feet 
  • Whitehouse is currently the only cliff in Rocky Fork State Park where climbing is permitted. We hope that other cliffs within the park can be open at sometime as well, but these will also require biological surveys per TN State Park guidelines. Support the CCC and Access Fund so we can have resources to open more great areas like the Whitehouse! 
  • The gate closes at sunset. Be back to your car well before sunset. 
  • Cliff will be closed Jan 1 to March 1 for at least the first two years for potential peregrine observations. 

Getting there: Park at the Rocky Fork State Park Trailhead. Walk roughly .5 mile up the Whitehouse Cliffs Trail (there is a sign for this trail at the trailhead) to the screefield with a large stone patio. Cross the screefield and the cliff begins in 1 minute. Be sure you have your climbing registration completed if walking past the scree field.