Cumberland Trail | Tank Springs Trailhead in LaFollette

Challenging 6 Mile Hike Well Worth the Trip

Meeting new people has its perks. I first met Libby Morgan when she did a write-up on me for the Union County Shopper News back in January. We had a lot of things in common and one of them is exploring new places.

Somehow, the Cumberland Trail came up in our conversations and she took the initiative to plan out a route and make it happen. All I had to do was show up. I was ready for an adventure and I was not let down.

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We started in La Follette (which took me about an hour’s drive from Sharps Chapel) at the Tank Springs Trailhead off of Tennessee Street (traffic light #7) and ended up at Eagle Bluff / Junction 1, where a dirt road crosses the trail.  Here is the Cumberland Trail Map Segment that we took. We coordinated cars at each end of the trail so we would not have to hike back.  It was a 6 mile hike that took us 6 hours to hike, so we are very glad we did.

Here is the article Libby wrote about our Cumberland Trail Hike in the Union County Shopper News.  She provides a lot of details about the history of the trail and some of the landmarks.

Except for the ascent and descent, the trail segment we were on followed the ridge the whole time.  I was in awe of the shear cliffs.  There were several times where we were walking on a “sidewalk” width ridge that seemed to go straight down on either side of us.  We were on top of a mountain!

Here is where I put my cautionary words that children should not go on this hike.

We did not see a single sole the entire time.  So if you are one to want to experience a little bit of the wilderness, this is it.

About mid-way through, we came upon a shelter.  It was near the only water source on this segment — the source of which was a spring.  That’s where we started to see some evidence of wildlife.  Libby spotted some scat and some paw prints from what could be a bobcat.

At one point on the trail, it looked like it was a dead-end.  But as we approached it and looked down, we saw a ladder!  What fun!

Not everyone will go on this hike, but it is certainly doable for average hikers.  Just take your time, bring lots of water and food to keep your energy level up.  Pick a beautiful, clear day and GO.

Life is an Adventure.