Granite City is a hidden bouldering spot with tons of great beginner routes and lots of cool pathways between massive granite boulders that provide endless opportunities to explore.

At the foot of Blackrock Mountain just outside of Highlands, North Carolina, lies one of the most unique and secluded natural playgrounds around.  Granite City is composed of several massive granite boulders, ranging between 10-40 feet tall.  This spot is most popular for bouldering (mostly V0-V2), although it is equally cool for just wandering around the labyrinth of narrow slots between the boulders.  

Getting to Granite City can be a bit tricky, as there are no signs for it from the road.  You are going to have to trust Google Maps here, and you will find a small parking area on a relatively short dirt section of road.  No matter what direction you are coming from, if you followed the dirt road on Whiteside Cove Rd and then made it to a paved section of the road, you have gone too far.  

Once you find the parking area, the short, yet rugged trail follows a drainage ditch on the East side of the road and begins to climb up the hill.  Although the climb is pretty steep and uneven, it is only about 3-5 minutes of hiking before you reach the tops of the boulders lining Main Street.  You will know it when you see it, but Main Street is a 15-20 foot wide passage lined with 10-15 foot boulders on the West side and 20-40 foot boulders on the East side.  This is where the majority of the bouldering routes are as well as where some of the narrow passages in the larger boulders begin.  As I am not much of a climber myself, I had the majority of my fun just exploring the narrow slots and seeing what I could find. 

In addition to having some fun trying out some of the routes or just exploring around, you can go to the backside of the larger boulders and scale up some heavily wooded terrain to reach the top of the boulders.  There are some decent sized trees here that can be used as anchors for more traditional climbing up the larger walls.  Some of these routes looked as hard as 5.11, while others looked much more straight forward.  

The return hike is the same as the approach, leaving Main Street and following the drainage ditch down to the parking lot.  Overall, this is a super fun local spot to check out if you are in the area, but not necessarily something for climbing experts, or somewhere to spend an entire day.  There is one V7 and another V8-9 bouldering route, but besides that it is all just good fun and a great place to explore. 

Note: Use this map as a general reference to the bouldering routes available. 

Pack List

  • Hiking or climbing shoes
  • Water
  • Day Pack
  • Camera
  • Crash Pad
  • Chalk for climbing (optional)
  • Snacks (optional)
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RT Distance 0.3 Miles
Elevation Gain 96 Feet
Activities Chillin, Photography, Hiking, Rock Climbing
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Forest

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