Granite City is by no means a destination to travel to and spend a week at...but its a great place for a quick day trip or as part of a bigger trip to the area. Compared to most climbing/bouldering spots around the area, Granite City is much less developed and a little dirty...some of the routes acquire a new layer of dirt and moss every year. Granite City is a maze of slots and crevasses that can be very confusing to get lost in...similar in style to Little Rock City in Chattanooga, there are tons of climbs in each of the corridors and the possibilities for the dedicated FA'er are still numerous. Being close to Cashiers, Highlands and the Chattooga River make Granite City a great place to stop by on the way through the mountains.
How To Get There:
From Cashiers, go south on Hwy 107 for about 1-2 miles. Turn right onto Whiteside Cove Road. This road is very twisty and takes you down towards the base of Whiteside Mountain. On you way down this road, there are many great photo opps of Whitesides and also its neighbor to the west, Blackrock Mountain, which Granite City is at the base. Eventually, after passing by Whitesides, the road will turn to gravel at a small waterfall on your right. About 1 mile past the change of the road, you will see an unassuming pull off on the right, just big enough for 2-3 cars. You will see the trail/drainage ditch heading straight up the hill from the parking spots. If you miss the parking area, the road will become paved again and then hit the intersection with Bull Pen Road (towards the upper sections of the Chattooga) and Horse Cove Road (towards Highlands).
There are 2 trails leaving from the parking area (both indicated on the topo), the one heading straight up the drainage ditch will lead you directly to the Main Street area. The trail to the right leads to the other side of Granite City and plenty of opportunities for exploring and a few spots for roping up. Both are about a 5 minute hike to the rock. After you boulder on Main Street, look around and follow some of the slots and crevasses up into the "Canyon" on the back side of the City. This is an almost impenetrable fortress of shear 20'-40' walls that have several anchorable trees at the top. I have seen people climbing what looked like 5.11's back there and then again I have seen a dad and his 7 year old daughter head back there to set up some easy stuff.
As mentioned, this area isn't as developed as most areas around, so expect loose rocks, dirt, moss, and choss on occasion. The Main Street area is a great beginners area because most of the problems are in the V0-V2 range and aren't too tall or intimidating. There are several good dyno spots on both the Dyno Wall and the Town Square wall that make for great practice for bigger dynos elsewhere. The hardest dyno I've found is about a V2 or so, but I'm sure you could find a tougher one if you look around. After you climb and check out the area, don't forget to take a cool dip in the headwaters of the Chattooga (Section 0 for you serious paddlers), down at Bull Pen bridge. There are also some great places to eat in Cashiers and Highlands...I really like the BBQ at Carolina Smokehouse, and the menu of Cornucopia cant be beat for anything from a sandwich to a steak. Cashiers is in a dry area (no alcohol), luckily some places (like Cornucopia) are BYOB and they allow you to drink on their property.
Let me know if anyone finds any problems with the topo...enjoy!