I am loving this Tennessee weather! A few days of cold followed by 60 degree days. It is perfect for hiking and that is exactly what Jim and I did last Sunday. We hiked a 6 mile section of the Cumberland Trail starting at the Tank Springs Trailhead. I had done this last year in March (get details and see photos) with some friends. This time I introduced Jim to the trail. Since we had only one car, we hiked in 3 miles to the fantastic overlook that has the ladder, then returned the same way. Total time took us 4 hours.
Hungry and tired, we looked up the McCloud Mountain Restaurant on the web knowing that it was so close — just 4 miles up the road from the trailhead. We placed a quick call (423-562-3282) to make reservations.
NOTE: RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED to gain admittance to McCloud Mountain. Please call before making the trip! It is 1.5 hours from Sharps Chapel – a costly mistake in time and gas if they are not open.
In 2014, they close the weekend after Thanksgiving and do not open again until March 2015.
The timing was perfect. We had about an hour left of daylight and could enjoy the sunset. They have a casual dress code, so we felt comfortable in our jeans from our hike.
The first thing you notice is the view. Wow. Each table has a panorama photo of the view with all the significant points labeled. We were able to identify House Mountain, a place we had hiked a few years ago, and could finally understand why it got its name — it stood apart from all the other mountains and was like a rectangular structure. Watch the video below.
But, the highlight of the day was our last stop — Chimney Rock. The sun had already set and we almost did not go because it was getting dark fast, but again, we were so close — just a mile or so down the road from the restaurant. Words cannot describe the experience.
Trees. As far as you can see. No lights. No streets. No houses. No cities. The Kentucky side of the Cumberland Mountains is unspoiled beauty. And jutting out from the mountain were a series of columns that were totally flat on top with a lip all around as if they had been melted with an iron. The tabletop was so flat, that McCloud Mountain was able to build a boardwalk on top of it. And as you walk on the boardwalk, you can look down into what seems to be endless crevices between these chimney rocks. It is truly impressive.
So, if you have never been to McCloud Mountain, you must go. Take your friends and relatives the next time they come. You will enjoy your meal, but you will savor the view and the experience.
Life is an Adventure.