Red Hill Trail

By Joe Feeman 

Red Hill Trail begins off Upper Clear Creek Road, about 0.7 miles after leaving the pavement (it is the first road that turns left after leaving the pavement). This was a county road with a 16 foot right of way when TVA purchased the watershed property. It is a green trail, open to all users, and is 1.1 miles in length, gaining about 300 feet in elevation. There is a wide spot in Upper Clear Creek Road just before the junction that could be used for parking to start from this point.

The trail leaves the county road and parallels it for a couple of hundred feet, crossing the hollow and then turning left up a short steep hill. At the top, the trail flattens and then passes an unauthorized road to the right. Once you reach the top of this first hill, both sides of the trail are old fields that were planted to pine by the CCCs in the 1930s. Some scattered pines remain, but most have died. At 0.2 miles you will pass a bottom and then reach the trail head for one of the newly constructed trails which connects to Eli Nine Sinkhole Trail. Red Hill starts up another slope and then turns right, reaching the trail head for White Oak Sp[ring Trail (another newly constructed trail) which turns down the hill to the left and goes to Clear Creek Trail at Upper Clear Creek Road. This trail follows an old road that went to Upper Clear Creek Road at the bottom of the hill and was used by C.J. Nine, who lived on this farm prior to TVA purchase. Although covered in kudzu, the Nine's old house foundation can still be seen about 100 yards down the trail on the left.

Red Hill continues to climb, a little over 0.1 miles to the Red Hill Cemetery on the right. This cemetery was named ‘Hunley Heirs Cemetery' on the TVA acquisition map for the C.J. Nine property. Adjacent to the cemetery (up the hill) was Red Hill Baptist Church. A later TVA map from 1942 calls the cemetery Red Hill Cemetery. This cemetery is still maintained in very good condition by descendents of those buried there. The trail makes a sharp left turn and climbs steeply for a short distance before turning again to the right. On the left you will see an old road that has been closed to vehicles (although it is still being used illegally, new posts have been installed to close the road). This old road was used for a 1988 timber harvest, but was probably used originally by C.J. Nine for farming because it runs down the ridge where a field was located. Just past this road is another logging road that is closed with a cable to restrict vehicular traffic.

In about 0.1 miles the trail flattens out. The left side of the trail was clearcut in 1973 as part of the Longleaf Contract and a total of 25 acres was cut. Citizens of Norris can obtain a wood cutting permit to cut firewood in the watershed and this was the first area in which I used a chainsaw to cut. It was quite an experience and I was lucky that I had someone with experience to instruct me in the use of a chain saw. After years of cutting experience and several training classes, I look back on my first experience and am thankful that I still have all my arms and legs. Chainsaws were not very safe at that time and I was young and bullet proof. Thank goodness for experience and chain breaks. You will soon reach Raccoon Run Trail which turns off to the left. Red Hill trail zigs and zags somewhat on up the ridge before turning more sharply to the right and then starts to climb through an older forest of white oak, black oak, and yellow poplar. Soon you will see yellow paint on the left which is the safety zone for Hi Point Trail. The trail ends in a short distance at the junction with Hi Point Trail, just above the junction of Eli Nine Sinkhole Trail.

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