Cherokee Rock Village
How to get there:
From I-59, exit 205, take 68 east
toward Collinsville, turn right on 11 and left again back onto on 68 for 11
miles. Look for a right turn onto CR 36/Valley Street (there is a small brown
sign that says Cherokee Rock Village with an arrow) and continue 1.5 miles.
Watch for the big wooden sign on the left pointing to Cherokee Rock Village
at CR 70/Indian Creek Ave.
From Huntsville/Guntersville, take 431 to 75 (left turn) and make a right onto 68, which passes right under I-59 and follow above directions
The road is all paved now. There are a few steep parts that bring back visions of roller coasters, this is a steep and hilly road! The road dead-ends in the parking lot, so just keep driving, just keep driving, just keep driving ah-ah-ah! (3.4 miles). Go slow, especially leaving, there is a really tricky spot in the road going out, after you pass the big blue water tower on the right, it looks like the road goes down a hill and up another hill ahead, but really it goes down a hill and makes a sharp left turn and that is a different road you see from the top of the hill.
What to expect:
$3 per car entry fee for up to 9 passengers
For more info and rates on things like camping, check here for most updated info:
The plan is to expand camping facilities, trails, add a playground, better parking and other amenities. Many of these things are well underway.
Your kids will go crazy and start Spidermaning on every rock they see, so just be prepared to watch them shimmy 30 feet over your head and yell with glee the whole time, getting their much-needed-for-normal-growth "LOOK AT ME!" quota for the day. There are 20 acres at Cherokee Rock Village, named for the fact that Native Americans used the area for ceremonies until they were sent off on the Trail of Tears. Now it is used by people from all over the Southeast as a climbing spot supreme. There are about 10 acres of house-sized boulders tossed willy-nilly over the top and side of Lookout Mountain with winding trails and narrow passages, piles of room-sized rubble rocks perfect for scrambling on and views that will take your breath away. There is an unfortunate HUGE graffiti problem so you are filled in on the love-lives of the local Billy-Bob and Charlene's here and there, but the road has been repaired and paved, I can only hope the trend will continue and the graffiti will be cleaned off.
The area is popular with climbers during the day, so watch for them doing their stuff on the rocks. Most don't mind being watched and are happy to answer questions and show off a bit for you.
Just be aware this is an isolated place with steep drops and lots of twisty enchanting trails that could be a nightmare if you lose a kid in one. You know your child, if you can trust them to stay away from the edge, not do anything boneheaded and not run off into the maze of trails unless they are old enough to wander back at some point without you panicking, this can be a magical adventure. There are enough rocks that are gently-sloped enough that even the little guys can 'climb' pretty high and the big-little guys can feel like they have done something dangerous and brave. Older kids and teens that want to learn or practice climbing will be right at home here, and even cranky earth-bound adults can get a thrill looking over the edge to see Weiss Lake below.
One of a dozen or so trails winding through the huge rocks
Some of the trails dead-end
Beautiful natural arch
There is a nice hiking trail
There is a new 7.1 mile in and out trail with a 1000 foot elevation change and a .6 mile nature trail with expansion underway
View from the brow
To get a scale, look closely for the 6 year old.
Huge rocks, big excitement
One of many different rock formations.
The overlooks are breathtaking.