THERE'S SO MUCH MORE TO DO!
The Cumberland Plateau is so full of wonderful places; it is hard to put them all in one trail! Here we’ve listed some places that were too big for us to effectively include in our tours. We’ve also listed historic and cultural places of interest near our trail sites.
Dale Hollow Lake
Located in Pickett and Clay counties, Dale Hollow Lake has numerous recreation opportunities, including fishing, boating, swimming and eagle watching. There are several marinas that have tours and rentals. Please visit the Pickett County Chamber of Commerce for more information and to help plan your visit. http://www.dalehollow.com/
Watts Bar Lake
Located primarily in Rhea and Roane counties, Watts Bar Lake has many different activities to participate in. Riverboat tours, wildlife watching, fishing, swimming and boating are some of the many ways to enjoy the lake. Please contact the Rhea or Roane County Chambers for more information. http://www.roanealliance.org/ or http://www.rheacountyetc.com/
Cumberland Trail State Park
The Cumberland Trail is Tennessee’s only linear state park. The Cumberland Trail follows the eastern edge of the Cumberland Plateau and when it is complete will stretch from the Kentucky border to the Alabama border. Sections of the Cumberland Trail are open to the public, while others are being developed. Our trail site at Black Mountain gives a taste of the Cumberland Trail. However, you may want to explore more of the Cumberland Trail. For more information, visit http://tnstateparks.com/
Big South Fork NRRA
The Big South Fork of the Cumberland River lends itself to recreation. There are opportunities for paddling, hiking, wildlife watching, camping, rock climbing, horseback riding and many more activities throughout the area within and surrounding the National River and Recreation Area. Several sites on the trail are within the Big South Fork NRRA or the surrounding area. However, there are numerous recreation opportunities throughout the region. Please visit the official park Web site at http://www.nps.gov/biso/
South Cumberland State Park
Ten park units located throughout four counties makes the South Cumberland State Park a supersite! Several park locations were included in the trail, but the area has a lot to offer the nature or history lover and the park rangers are always willing to help visitors plan more extensive trips to the area. http://tnstateparks.com/
Historic and Cultural Sites
This trail features wildlife and nature, but maybe you want a bit of history, culture or art in your vacation to the Cumberland Plateau. Well, the region is full of unique and fascinating historic and cultural attractions and events. Each downtown district in the region has its own unique charm and many of them are registered Historic Districts. Here are just a few historic sites that are nearby and could be easily added to your trip.
Alvin C. York State Park
Alvin York is widely considered one of the Cumberland Plateau’s most famous people. York was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his valor and bravery in 1918 in the Argonne Forest in France during World War I. He is also lauded for his work locally to improve education upon returning to his home in Fentress County. The park includes the family farm and gristmill and has York’s medals on display at the museum. The park is located on Hwy 127 North, just eight miles from the Kentucky border.
Beersheba Springs Assembly
The Beersheba Springs Assembly is located across Hwy 56 from the Savage Gulf/Stone Door site on this trail. Beersheba Springs is an example of one of the “wilderness” utopias and spa retreats that flourished on the Cumberland Plateau. Now owned and operated by the Methodist Church, the Assembly is open for visitation.
During the Civil War, Chattanooga was considered the gateway to the Deep South as well as the only viable southern transportation route across the Plateau. It goes to show why two major battles, Chickamauga and Chattanooga, took place in this area. For more information about visiting the battlefields while you are traveling in or around Chattanooga, visit https://www.nps.gov/chch/index.htm.
Dunlap Coke Ovens
A longstanding remnant of the coal industry on the Cumberland Plateau, there are several places where you can see abandoned coke ovens. These ovens were where coal mined from the area was converted into industrial coke. The site at Grundy Lakes offers views of coke ovens as well as those that can be found here at the Dunlap Coke Oven Park. The park is located in Dunlap on Hwy 127. Tours are offered by appointment only.
Cumberland Homesteads Tower and Museum
The Cumberland Homesteads was a part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal Subsistence Homesteading project. Now a registered Historic District, there were originally 250 homesteads available for unemployed mine or mill workers, or for local farmers. The center of the district was the tower, which is now a museum at the junction of Hwy 127 South and Hwy 68 just outside of Crossville. When visiting, you will note that the buildings built during this time utilize local Crab Orchard stone and have the same architectural style. This can also be seen in the buildings associated with Cumberland Mountain State Park, which is just down the road from the Tower Museum. For more information about the Historic District, the Tower Museum and the Living History Museum, please visit http://www.cumberlandhomesteads.org/.
Rugby was the site of a British-founded colony in the 1880s. The colony was established in the wilderness of Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau and had utopian goals. Twenty historic buildings remain today and the entire town plan is unchanged. Rugby today is home to approximately 80 residents, and new homes are designed to be historically compatible. Non-profit Historic Rugby has been working since 1966 to restore and preserve Rugby, conserve its woodlands and free-flowing streams, and share it with the public. For more information call 1-888-214-3400, or visit www.historicrugby.org.
Museum of Appalachia
The Museum of Appalachia is a living history museum of pioneer, frontier and early artifacts of mountain life in the Southern Appalachians. Located on Andersonville Hwy just outside of Clinton, the museum is very near the town of Norris and is a recommended stop for those visiting the Norris Dam State Park and Watershed site. The museum is also home to many festivals. For more information and hours of operation, please visit http://www.museumofappalachia.org/.
Museum of Science and Energy
The Museum of Science and Energy is located in Oak Ridge and features the history of the “Secret City” and information about energy. It is recommended that it be paired with the UT Arboretum site in Oak Ridge. For more information about the museum, please visit http://www.amse.org/.
Rhea County Courthouse and Scopes Trial Museum
Downtown Dayton is home to the historic Rhea County Courthouse and Scopes Trial Museum. This is the site of the famous 1925 “Monkey Trail” that is known for the controversial debate of teaching evolution in schools. This museum features information about Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryant (who founded the nearby Bryant College), who tried the case, as well as other interesting information about the trial. Dayton is close to several sites on the trail, including Laurel-Snow State Natural Area. For more information about the museum, please visit
Trail of Tears
The removal of the Cherokee people from their ancestral homelands is a poignant and fascinating story. In many cases, the last time the Cherokee saw their homeland was as they climbed the eastern escarpment of the Cumberland Plateau. In fact, Blythe Ferry was considered the northwestern boundary of the Cherokee land. Blythe Ferry is now part of the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge and that site on this trail has some information about the Trail of Tears. Additionally, there are several places throughout Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau that have significance for the Cherokee people and as part of the Trail of Tears and for other reasons as well. For additional information about the Trail of Tears, visit http://www.nps.gov/trte/.
University of the South at Sewanee
Founded in 1857 and comprised of more than 10,000 acres, the university campus is beautiful and quite historic. It is recommended to pair a trip to the university with the Natural Bridge site, which is very close by. For more information about the history of Sewanee and about the school itself, please visit https://www.sewanee.edu/about/university-history/.