Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

May 23, 2013

Lots of choices promised for Roan Mtn. hike


CROSSVILLE — The Plateau Chapter of the Tennessee Trails Association holds a leaderless hike every Wednesday morning. These are typically five to seven miles in length. For additional information, contact Bill Harris at 484-9152 or visit the Plateau Chapter Blog at Check blog for cancelations or changes before hiking.

June 1 — National Trails Day, CTC Black Mountain, Grassy Cove. The group will hike from the trail head at the top of the mountain down to Windless Cave and on to Hwy. 68 on the new section of the Cumberland Trail. Approximately one half mile of the hike will be on a section of the new trail that has not been completed. Splendid overlooks, abundant wildflowers and interesting geology are features of this trail. This is a moderate seven-mile hike with a descent of more than 1,200 feet. There will be a car shuttle. Bring water, snack, lunch and hiking boots. Depart from the southeast corner of Cracker Barrel parking lot off Interstate 40 exit 317 at 8 a.m. to car pool. For more information or to register, contact Steve Wesley via email or by phone (785) 249-0384. 

June 8/9 — Roan Mountain area hikes/North Carolina Overnight. On Saturday, participants have a choice of hikes. One possible hike is an easy 1.2 mile loop in the Rhododendron Gardens, and another hike is an easy five miles out and back from Cloudland Hotel to Roan High Bluff. This bluff is an outcrop at 6,200 feet in the Roan Highlands that offers spectacular views on a clear day. The third hike option for Saturday is a moderate 5.1 miles out and back hike on the Appalachian Trail to Grassy Ridge Bald, with an elevation gain of 1,150 feet. At 6,189 feet, Grassy Ridge Bald is one of the highest balds in the Appalachian Mountains. 

The group will eat dinner at a restaurant of choice and stay overnight in the Red Roof Inn in Johnson City. Sunday, enjoy a moderate 5.5-mile round trip hike to the 40-feet high and 50-feet wide Laurel Falls and back before returning home. Bring water, snacks, lunches and hiking boots. The car pool departs at 7 a.m. from the parking lot of Cumberland Worship Center, 145 Interstate Dr., Crossville. For information and to register, contact Cheryl Heckler at or 456-6437.

June 15 — Russell Cave/Buggy Top, Sewanee. This is a moderate five-mile hike to Buggy Top cave. The cave has an impressive mouth carved out of a 50-foot cliff. On the way back, hikers will make a short walk to Natural Bridge, a 27-foot natural sandstone bridge, and visit University of the South Campus, including its beautiful chapel, and the 100-year old Dutch Bakery in Tracy City. Bring snacks, water, lunch and hiking boots. Depart Trinity Tabernacle Church at 8 a.m. For information and to register, contact Bill Harris at 484-9152. 

June 29 — Old Settlers Trail, GSMNP, Gatlinburg. This is a car shuttle hike rated moderate due to its 17-mile length and some up and down elevation with a total elevation gain of 900. It is less rocky and smoother than most Smoky hikes and is known for its historical landmarks. Stonewalls, home sites, chimney and a cemetery dot the trail along what was one of the most heavily populated sections of the Smokies. Several hundred families lived in the Greenbrier area before the state of Tennessee started buying up land for the national park. One of the stone piles is from the Lona Mae Parton home place, country singer Dolly Parton’s great aunt. Bring water, snack, lunch, hiking boots and water shoes for the possible six water crossings. Since it is a long hike, bring a flashlight, just in case. Depart from the southwest corner of Vanity Fair Outlet parking lot in Crossville at 6 a.m. to car pool. For information and to register, contact Cheryl Heckler at or 456-6437, or Larry Marchese at