Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

February 25, 2014

Hikers to enter Eye of the Needle Saturday


CROSSVILLE — The March hiking schedule has been announced by the Plateau chapter of the Tennessee Trails Association. There is a leaderless hike (typically five to seven miles) every Wednesday morning. For additional information, contact Bill Harris at 484-9152 or visit the Plateau Chapter Blog at Check the blog for cancelations or changes before hiking.

Saturday, March 1

O&W Bridge, Devil's Den, Eye of the Needle — There are two options for this hike. The entire hike is around nine to 10 miles. It begins at the Leatherwood Ford parking area and traverses to the O&W Bridge. After the bridge, there is some elevation gain to Devil's Den (a large rock shelter), and then on to Eye of the Needle. The latter is a cave-like rock shelter that contains a low stone arch, a ladder down to a lower level and a "window" through the rear wall. It is probably the most unique feature in the Big South Fork.

Unfortunately, they must traverse deeply eroded, and usually muddy, horse trails from Devil's Den to Eye of the Needle. It is suggested that Eye of the Needle be undertaken by seasoned hikers only. Those who wish may turn around at Devil's Den and return to the Leatherwood Ford parking area for an easy to moderate six-mile hike.

Bring snacks, water, lunch and hiking boots. They will depart at 8 a.m. from Cracker Barrel off I-40 Crossville Exit 317. Contact Curt Thomas at or (931) 260-2140 to register or for additional information.

Thursday, March 13

Chapter meeting at 6 p.m. — In place of a program this will be a dinner meeting held in the back room at Vegas Steakhouse and Lounge, 3152 N Main St, Crossville. Contact Chapter Chair Cheryl Heckler at or 456-6437 for additional information.

Saturday, March 22

Bearwaller Gap, Cordell Hull Lake, Carthage — This is a 6.5-mile hike considered moderate to difficult because of side-sloping trails. Cordell Hull Lake is fortunate to offer the Bearwallow/waller Gap Trail, widely recognized as one of the best hiking trails in Middle Tennessee. The trail offers panoramic overlook views of the lake; many diverse species of wildflowers (in season) and native wildlife; and breathtaking scenery.

The secluded trail runs between the Overlook Recreation Area (Tater Knob) and Defeated Creek Campground and will require a car shuttle. There are a few stream crossings, one of which may require water shoes. Bring lunch, snacks and water. Sturdy hiking shoes are highly recommended.

They will depart at 8 a.m. from Cracker Barrel off I-40 at Crossville, Exit 317. The plan is to meet Don Taylor at Tater Knob and then proceed to Defeated Creek Campground to start the hike. Call Don Taylor at (615) 973-1814 or email to register.