Cumberland Mountain Segment
Length: 11 miles one-way
September 29, 2011: Trail maintenance has not been performed on
the Cumberland Mountain section since 2007. Expect many
blown-down trees, vegetation grown in, and places where the
trail markings are absent. The trail might be difficult to
This segment of the Cumberland Trail offers spectacular views of
the Powell River Valley to the south and the Cumberland Mountain
range to the north.
The northern trailhead is on Tennessee Avenue in Lafollette
(going north through Lafollette, turn left at traffic light #7.
Trailhead parking is on your left). There is a developed
spring at the Lafollette trailhead parking lot, Tank Springs.
The trail starts on a dirt road following the railroad grade
along Big Creek, and makes a left turn to pass under the
railroad bridge. It then follows Ollis Creek for a short
distance before turning left and switchbacking up to the crest.
Once on the crest, the trail follows the ridgeline. At
mile 2.5 is a rock outcropping where it appears that the trail
comes to an end. There is a magnificent scenic view at
this point. The trail continues down through a crevice in
the rock outcropping. A trail shelter and camping area is
located at mile 2.78. At mile 2.86 the trail crosses a
wet-weather stream and then continues to follow it with a
vertical rock wall on the right. Be on the lookout for
Window Rock, an opening in this sheer rock wall on your right.
The trail continues on the crest for another 5.6 miles to an
awesome overlook at Devil's Racetrack. Just before you
reach the overlook, the trail makes its descent and continues on
the northern side of the mountain through a series of
switchbacks to Bruce's Creek. From there, the trail
continues along the challenging I-75 corridor to the new Cove
Lake trailhead at Cove Lake State Park.
Cumberland Gap Trail Hike Description:
Beginning at the historic Iron Furnace Works in the quaint town
of Cumberland Gap, the trail ascends steeply 600' to the
intersection with the Tri-State Marker Trail (TSM). Turn
left onto the TSM. A side trail will branch off to the
right that takes the hiker up to a Civil War lookout. The
TSM pavilion marks the spot where Tennessee, Kentucky, and
Virginia meet. The CT begins at the TSM and is blazed with
2" x 6" white blazes. The trail passes through another
Civil War earthworks site and rises and falls with the curves of
the ridgeline for two miles out to the Cumberland Gap National
Historical Park boundary. Scenic views abound, split eastward
into Tennessee and Virginia, and westward into Tennessee and
Directions to the Tank Springs Trailhead in Lafollette (north
Traveling from Cove Lake State Park to Lafollette, turn left at
traffic light #7 onto Tennessee Avenue. The Cumberland Trail
Tank Springs Trailhead parking lot will be .5 miles on the left
before crossing the Big Creek bridge.
Directions to the CMS Southern Trailhead Access (south
The Cumberland Mountain and New River Mtn. Segment Trailhead
facility is located on Bruce Creek Road on the backside of Cove
Lake State Park in Caryville, TN. To reach the trailhead,
take I-75 north to Caryville, exit 134, turn left after exiting,
and wrap around until you pass a Shoney's. Continue .5 miles to
the intersection of Bruce Gap Road (Butter and Egg). Turn
right, pass under I-75 and cross over the Cove Creek Bridge to
the parking lot. Pick up the trail at the backside of the
paved lot, and quickly face a dilemma of going right onto the
Cumberland Mountain Segment or left onto the New River Mountain
Segment. Turn right.
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