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Big Rock

Land Manager: Naturaland Trust

Area Rep: Adam Johnson

Located near Pickens, SC Big Rock is the only significant cliff open year-round in SC. Through a partnership with Naturaland Trust we were able to officially open this wonderful place to climbers in 2017. Big Rock faces south and is primarily a Spring/Fall/Winter destination. There are around 50 routes and several hundred boulder problems spread out across the pinnacles and boulderfields, all overlooking upstate SC. In 2017, the CCC funded part of the current parking lot construction thanks to a grant from REI.  In 2019, the CCC contributed $5,000 to Naturaland Trust to secure a 1 acre lot north of the new parking lot, creating a buffer for future expanded parking.

Take a look for yourself on this excellent video produced by Adam Johnson and William Duncan: 

CCC presents - Big Rock from adam johnson on Vimeo.


What to expect 

Accessible top rope and lead routes at a variety of grades, with a mix of sport, trad and mixed climbs on coarse grained rock. Mostly slab climbing with some steeper faces and some really nice crack climbs. Most routes are 80 feet or less, with some 2 pitch routes in order to gain access to parts of the cliff.


Main Parking Area: The gravel parking lot with a paved entrance on Big Rock Lake Road, Pickens, SC. It is labeled with a "P" on a post on the road and is located just past Charles Towne Rd. DO NOT PARK ON THE ROAD IF PARKING IS FULL!!! DO NOT PULL DOWN CHARLES TOWNE RD!  The CCC funded part of the parking lot thanks to grants Trailhead locationfrom REI and help from Naturaland Trust. Follow the trails from the lot to the cliff and the boulders.

Alternative Parking: If you discover that the Main Parking lot is full, exit the neighborhood and drive to the intersection of Preston McDaniel Road and Nine Times Road. Here there is a gravel parking lot and a large grassy lot.

From the alternate parking lot, walk across E Preston McDaniel rd and follow the gravel road for 0.1 mile. Once you are beneath the power lines look for a trail sign on the right side of the road. Take the path to the right to begin the Big Rock Mtn Summit trail, which has green blazes.Follow the obvious trail with green blazes uphill for 0.4 miles to reach an old logging road. Continue to follow the green blazes on the logging road for 0.2 miles. At the next trail sign, make a right turn to continue on the Big Rock Mtn Summit trail. Continue to follow the green blazes for 0.1 mile to reach the left shoulder of big rock, near the inversion wall.  ~1.25 miles

Access notes

Only use the existing trail system. Camping is not allowed. No alcoholic beverages. Please be respectful of local residents - keep a low profile in the parking lot, keep the noise down and drive slowly on the road. Do not turn into driveways of nearby homes to turn around. 


Big Rock is covered in the Nine Times and Big Rock Outdoor Companion

Guiding Requirements

Any commercial guiding outfit1 wishing to guide at Big Rock Mountain must obtain permission from the landowners, Naturaland Trust2, by submitting the numbered items listed below to at least one week prior to working. Permission to guide at Big Rock Mountain expires two years after approval by Naturaland Trust. It is the guiding outfit’s responsibility to ensure their approval has not lapsed.

  1. It is recommended that the guide/instructor working hold a minimum certification of AMGA Single Pitch Instructor (SPI) or equivalent certification such as PCIA or PCGI.
  2. The guide working must also hold a minimum of first aid and CPR certifications, but recommended that the guide holds a Wilderness First Aid (WFA) certification that adheres to recommendations set forth by the Wilderness Medicine Educators Collaborative3.
  3. The guide working should understand and be willing to practice Leave-No-Trace (LNT) principles. A LNT certification is recommended.
  4. The guiding outfit must be insured to work at Big Rock Mountain with a minimum of $1,000,000 per occurrence.
  5. If possible, the guiding outfit should include Naturaland Trust as additionally insured on their insurance policy.

While working at Big Rock Mountain, the guiding outfit will practice leave-no-trace ethics. The client to guide ratio may not be larger than 6:1 for single-pitch and 3:1 for multi-pitch rock climbing. Total group size should not exceed 20 people. Naturaland Trust reserves the right to prohibit any guide/instructor, or organization from climbing, or offering instruction/guiding services at Big Rock. By submitting an application to guide at Big Rock Mountain, the guiding service acknowledges these rules and that Naturaland Trust does not maintain the fixed hardware, route conditions, or any other in-situ materials at Big Rock Mountain. Additionally, the guiding service and any client thereof accepts the following statement:

Hazardous conditions exist throughout this property. All persons entering this property do so at their own risk and by entering the property agree that they are solely responsible for their own safety. No one inspects this property or undertakes any duty to warn against hazardous conditions, structures, uses or activities on this property.

  1. A commercial guiding outfit is, for the purposes of this document, defined as any group, organization or person(s) receiving remuneration of any kind for providing access to, instruction in, or facilitation of rock climbing for other individuals.
  2. Naturaland Trust- 148 River Street, #110, Greenville, SC 29601; (864)387-6079.
  3. See WFA SOP for more information.