Located near Cashiers, North Carolina, Laurel Knob is known as the tallest crag east of the Mississippi. Standing at 1,200' it is to Southerners the finest piece of granite this side of Yosemite but up until 2006 climbing there was a tight lipped secret. Until the Carolina Climbers Coalition purchased climbing rights in 2006 climbing at Laurel Knob was technically illegal. Still certain hard-core Southern slab-masters with a disdain for the law established long lines that are only now out in the open. Even with the CCC purchasing climbing rights, Laurel Knob is infrequently climbed owing to the high commitment level, the long approach and the easiest grade currently being a sandbagged 5.8 line.
Laurel Knob is near the town of Cashiers, NC located in the appropriately named Cashiers Valley. Regardless of which way you are coming take US 64 to Cedar Creek Road which is a few miles east of Cashiers. Go North on Cedar Creek Road until Breedlove Road and turn right. You will pass a Christmas tree farm on your left. Follow this road until it dead ends at a cul-de-sac. There is a gravel road that will take you to Panthertown Campground. The gravel road as of 2009 is in rough shape so if you have a low clearance vehicle take care.
The approach to Laurel Knob is long and strenuous. Allow for 2 hours to get in and 3 hours to get out. The CCC provides a mini-guide that details the approach. Update: The mini-guide is fairly out of date, a better reference is the new Selected Climbs in NC.
The Carolina Climbers Coalition has published a rock climbing management plan for Laurel Knob. Since they own the land please follow their rules for the climbing community's sake. There is no bolting until a formal application to the CCC has been filed for a new line. In addition the land around Laurel Knob is private and trespassing is forbidden.
Registration at the kiosk is highly recommended. It is not a "come and rescue me registration" but rather a way for the CCC to estimate the number of climbers that use Laurel Knob.
Camping is prohibited at Laurel Knob which means no bivying at the base. Camping is permitted at Panthertown Vally which is part of the Nantahala National Forest.