• Activities:

    Chillin, Camping, Photography, Hiking, Rock Climbing

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    1 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    -100 Feet

Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
Picnic Area
Scenic

Sand Rock in Cherokee Rock Village is typically considered a climbing destination and has world famous routes and a wide range of opportunities for all skill levels of climber. Sand Rock is also an amazing car camping destination with campsites right along the cliffs and nestled into the giant rock formations.

We camped in a rooftop tent, but many people used traditional tents and hammocks. After purchasing a camping permit, drive right up to your campsite. There are three general camping areas.

First is the more exposed (to the often strong winds) campsites along the tops of the cliffs that are closest to the park office and facilities (covered tables, a very nice restroom, and a spigot) and have a good view of Lake Gunnersville. However, cars for this site must be parked on average ~thirty yards from actual tent spots.

The second area is across the road from the cliffs in the woods, which would be better if you have small children (the other sites are REALLY close to the cliffs) and they are also near the facilities.

The third camp location is at the end of the road into the park and in my opinion offers the best experience. Although it is significantly farther from the facilities, you can pull your vehicle right up to the campsite, there are large rocks to block the wind, and there is a boulder that is easy to scramble up with no gear that provides an epic view of the surrounding landscape.

Even without climbing gear, there are seemingly endless tunnels and passages through the massive slabs of sandstone and conglomerate that constantly have an eerie draft and often feel like a beautifully lit slot canyon.

Tip: If you choose to build a camp fire, bring your own wood, the bundles sold at the park office are expensive and tend to be wet.

Get more details on climbing from this adventure: Climbing Sand Rock.

Pack List

  • Sturdy pants (for scrambling)
  • Camera with tripod (great spots for long exposures)
  • $10 per vehicle for camping parking pass
  • Fire wood
  • Food (nothing nearby at all)
  • Shoes with ankle support
  • Climbing gear optional
  • Beer
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Community Photos

+ Add Photos

Reviews

Overall rating: 

Leave a Review

I should start off by saying I'm not a legit rock climber, so I probably can't even begin to scrape the surface of how awesome this place might be if you are. As a traveler passing through, looking for a good place to van camp while still getting that nature-fix, this was an awesome gem! I camped in the forest-area, tucked farthest away from the check-in station and it was serene and quiet. It was a busy Saturday but still managed to feel (somewhat) primitive. The place offers a good dose of nature without being too touristy or over populated. Just a big beautiful loop, with one little ranger hut at the entrance, a nice dude working the drive-thru booth who actually offered us free cut up firewood from a recent fallen tree! Thanks for the recommendation - will definitely be back to explore the cliffs edges and rock formations a bit more!

5 months ago
5 months ago

Other than the fact that I was severely underprepared for the cold the weekend that I went, I had a blast! The climbing and caving here are some of the best in Alabama.

10 months ago
10 months ago

John Morgan Harrison

Studying Product Design and Business at The University of Alabama, filling my free time with exploration and art.

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

Nearby Adventures

Hike the Sugar Bowl Loop in Kings Canyon NP

Tulare County, California

First and foremost, to get to this trailhead you need to drive down a 2-mile, one lane dirt road that is quite steep.

6 Saves

Hike to Ehukai Pillbox

59178 Ke Nui Road, Hawaii

This hike starts directly across from Banzai Pipeline, the famous barreling wave at Ehukai Beach.

7 Saves

Winter Hike to Calypso Cascades

1046 County Highway 115, Colorado

While most people go snowshoeing near the Bear Lake or Glacier Gorge area in RMNP, Wild Basin is a much less trafficked option.

5 Saves