Gooseneck Trail

 By Joe Feeman

The 1961 Norris Watershed trail map has this trail labeled as Gooseneck Trail. On subsequent trail maps, it is not labeled at all. So I am going to call this Gooseneck Trail as it was called originally. The trail begins at Upper Clear Creek Road, turning right in a sharp left turn, about 0.2 miles into the watershed (a very healthy kudzu patch is on the left side of the road). This is the access road to the city brush dump and there is a large orange pipe gate at the entrance. This is a purple trail, open to all but motorized users (except authorized vehicular users of the brush dump) and is 0.6 miles long with an elevation gain of about 240 feet. The upper end of the trail ends at Old Red Hill Road, which is the boundary of the watershed in that area.

At the time of TVA purchase this was a county road with a 20 foot right of way. Miss Ruby Robbins owned the first section and had a house and shed on the right side. The trail climbs up a moderately steep slope through a transitional forest on the right, first dominated by yellow poplar, ash, sugar maple, and northern red oak and then older white oak as you climb. On the left side, which is a rich hollow, yellow poplar is the most common tree. The trail climbs about 0.2 miles before reaching the brush dump on the right. East Trail turns to the left through the pipe gate. The area to the right was owned by William Reynolds, who had a one-floor house, barn, and 2 sheds, as well as a 30-year old apple orchard with 15 trees on a 16-acre cleared area which is now the brush dump. His farm was a total 36 acres and followed the Gooseneck Trail almost to the end.

The trail from the Brush Dump/East Trail intersection to Old Red Hill Road, where it ends, doesn't get used much anymore because it has been closed to vehicular traffic. Some horseback riders from the area utilize it, but most of the traffic is unauthorized ATV users. The trail goes up through an older upland hardwood stand with scattered shortleaf pine. There is a unique species of tree, striped maple, on the right side of the road, several hundred feet up from the brush dump, that is common in the mountains but I have only seen it in a couple of places in this area. The tree is rather large for the species and has apparently been alive for many years. It could have been planted by TVA, although the area where it is located doesn't appear to have been open when the property was purchased. As the trail continues, the road is the property line and is on watershed property, but in the last several hundred feet the property line goes on the other side of the road and the road is then on private property (the watershed has access because it was a county road with access at the time of purchase). You will see the property line marked with orange paint. An old pipe gate is across the end of the trail. If you wanted to access the watershed from Old Red Hill Road and utilize Gooseneck Trail, there is room to park along the road.

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