Lewis Hollow-Gap Loop (Cumberland Gap National Historical Park)

Length/Type: Approximately 7.0 miles, loop trail; Difficulty: Strenuous (well-maintained trail throughout, but contains occasional rough footing and long, difficult climbs up and down Cumberland Mountain); Other Considerations: The park’s trails are well-signed and well-maintained. However, since this route makes use of multiple trails and contains several junctions that involve multiple intersecting trails and/or roadways, it is likely best to…

Pine Mountain Trail (Pound Gap to Twin Cliffs Overlook)

Length/Type: Approximately 2.2 miles one-way, out-and-back; Difficulty: Moderate (some moderately steep but short climbs, poor footing in several stretches); Other Considerations: See parking considerations in the directions at the end of this post. A detailed trail map is available via the park’s website. The 44-mile long Pine Mountain Trail is paradoxically one of the central Appalachians’ most scenic and underused long-distance…

Pine Mountain Trail (Birch Knob to Blowing Rock Cliffs)

Length/Type: Approximately 4.0-5.0 miles total, out-and-back (multiple turnaround points exist along cliff system); Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult (some steep climbs, poor footing in several stretches); Other Considerations: The road leading to the trailhead is closed seasonally, most often January-March or when weather conditions prevent safe travel. A detailed trail map is available via the park’s website. The 44 mile-long Pine Mountain…

Rocky Fork State Park, TN

Tennessee’s newest state park isn’t in the Cumberland Mountains, so it might seem a bit weird to profile it here, given this site’s focus. But Rocky Fork State Park, the newest addition to Tennessee’s park system, isn’t your typical state park. Located on the western side of the Blue Ridge Province above Johnson City, TN, the…

Chadwell Gap to Hensley Settlement (Cumberland Gap NHP)

Length/Type: Approximately 4.0 miles one-way, out-and-back; Difficulty: Strenuous (very steep, sustained climbs and rugged to unstable footing at times); Other Considerations: This hike climbs nearly 2,000 vertical feet and contains extremely difficult grades both ascending and descending. Be sure to allow adequate time to make this trip as a dayhike, as progress can be slow across many of the…