Trail

Soddy Creek Gorge South

Soddy Daisy, TN
Length: 4.90 mi.
Type: Point-to-point

About This Trail

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Part of the Soddy Creek Gorge section of the Cumberland Trail, the southern section of trail offers views, creeks, bridges, bouldering, and a history lesson on Tennessee coal.

From the parking lot off Mowbray Pike, head up three wooden steps and enter the forest, then descend down the trail past an old coal seam. After a quarter mile the trail opens onto a view of the down to Daisy, and the cooling towers of the Tennessee Valley Authority. Enjoy the view and then continue along the trail. After reentering the forest you will almost immediately arrive at a creek (Mikel Branch). Water play is accessible at the bridge over the creek, but there is a waterfall to the right with a quick drop-off.

Cross the bridge and the trail winds through a rock field that is popular for bouldering. The trail opens up after going through a “stone door” between two boulders at .5 miles from the trailhead. Just past this door is a rock shelter to the left. Today this makes a good place to find shelter from the rain, but it has been confirmed to be an old shelter used by the Cherokee native to this area.

At mile 2.2 there is a 20 foot long stone bench, and at the halfway point is a second, smaller stone bench, that offers views during the winter, and several interesting rock formations.

Past the bench the trail follows an escarpment with winter views of the Soddy Creek Gorge, and dogwood blooming in the spring, and at mile 2.9 the left side of the trail drops into an old coal mine, with the trail continuing on a narrow pass between the mine to the left and the valley to the right. At mile 3.3 the trail drops into the end of the mine, then switchbacks up again on the other side.

Follow a roadbed from the coal seam for the next mile, which will be very wet and muddy if there has been recent rain. Cross a bridge at mile 4.4, before the trail splits at mile 4.5. The white blazed Cumberland Trail continues to the right, crossing the Soddy Creek, while the Blue-Blazed spur trail continues left towards the Sluder Rd trailhead–water pools frequently here, and makes for huge muddy puddles to splash in–or wade in, depending on recent rain!

Stay with the blue blazes over a bridge crossing the creek, followed by a short but steep climb through the Little Soddy Historic Mining District, stopping to read the historical markers. Finally cross a shorter bridge just before the Sluder Rd. trailhead. Exit the trail onto Hotwater Rd, and the parking lot is 200 feet to the left at Hotwater and Sluder.

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Trail Features

Surface type Dirt
Elevation gain 450 ft.
Stroller friendly No
ADA accessible No
Water fountains No
Bathrooms No
Cell reception Excellent
Pet friendly Yes
Nearby convenience store No
Camping Nearby No
Emergency support
within 5 miles
Yes

Trail highlights

Creek / River, Mud Puddles, Natural Play Area, Shaded Hike, and Viewpoint

The majority of the highlights of this trail are in the first half mile from the Mowbray Pike parking lot. If you are able to bring two cars and leave one at the ending trailhead, this is a pleasant trail for families looking for additional length to their hike, and is very lightly trafficked beyond the boulder field. As for features kids will enjoy however, the views, stream, and bouldering can easily take up a couple of hours, and do not require a second car.

Trail Contributor

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I am the Branch Ambassador for Hike It Baby Chattanooga. A native of Richmond, VA, I spent most of my adolescence and early adulthood hiking and camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and once my children were born started taking them on adventures with me! I am a portrait photographer and freelance writer, trying to hike my way through all the trails southeastern Tennessee has to offer.

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